Finally Basque and Spanish will not be killed in Iceland

Basques have been travelling by North Atlantic for centuries. Some historians say that they may have arrived to Canada earlier than other Europeans. But of course, before arriving to Canada, they do stops in other places such as Iceland and Greenland...

Basque Galleons in Labrador, QC, Canada

And today's post comes to light at an aspect related with Basque whalers. In 1615, a storm destroyed a float of whaling ships in the Northwest coast of Iceland. Around 80 sailors survived and established on the coast. With no food or supplies, some of them started to rob local farmers causing chaos in the small comunity of the area.

To avoid robbery, local Icelandic government in 1615 made an edict that allowed anyone to kill Basques with impunity. As a result 32 sailors were killed in the following days finishing with the rob episodes. But after this sad event nobody remembered to repeal the law. Only in 2015 (400 years later), it was done away in a ceremony with local representatives of Icelandic and Basque origin.

This killing of 32 people though can not hide the fact that in the whole 1600s there was a long and strong relationship between Icelandic and Basque communities, which gives rise to a strong commercial and economical ties, and even a pidgin (Basque-Icelandic) language.

This event, called "the Slaying of the Spaniards" was the first and only event of masive killings in Iceland.