History

Xavier María de Munibe and Idiáquez , VIII Count of Peñaflorida

(Azkoitia, 1729 - Bergara, 1785)
First Lifetime Director (1765-1785) of the Royal Basque Society of the Friends of the Country.

A key figure to understanding the roots and development of Basque Enlightenment in the second half of the eighteenth century as he was the main proponent and alma mater of Royal Basque Society, founded on Christmas Eve 1764 in Insausti Palace, Azkoitia and approved by Royal Decree, 8th April 1765. His time spent at the Jesuit College in Toulouse and being in direct contact with the French culture of the time where he learned about the associative models of the Enlightenment developed in Europe, in particular, the academic societies and agricultural societies, was crucial to his education. In addition to this Francophile education, immersed with Enlightenment encyclopaedism, we have to add his concerns in the field of experimental physics and theatre, which led him to organise the "academic assemblies" in Azkoitia as referred to by Narros, characterised by the development of an enlightened approach of the expectations of a group of novatores.

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Joaquín de Eguía y Aguirre, III Marquis de Narros

(Azkoitia, 1733-Vitoria, 1803)
Vice-Secretary, Deputy Secretary (1773) and Lifetime Secretary (1774-1803) of the Royal Basque Society of the Friends of the Country.

He was a friend and close associate of the Count of Peñaflorida in founding and developing the Royal Basque Society, to which he contributed his extensive scientific knowledge, his deep patriotic idealism and proven organizational capacity. Throughout his schooling, in the absence of confirmation of a likely sojourn abroad, almost certainly in France, it is only known that he studied in Zaragoza, Salamanca and in the Real Seminario de Nobles in Madrid, where he attained a profound knowledge of physics and chemistry. Together with Manuel Ignacio de Altuna y Portu and the aforementioned Peñaflorida, he was one of the main figures who featured prominently at the academic gatherings at Insausti Palace.

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Altuna y Portu, Manuel Ignacio de

(Azkoitia, 1722-1762)

He was destined to play a decisive role in the Enlightenment project undertaken by the Royal Basque Society but his untimely death prevented this, depriving travel companions and friends, Peñaflorida and Narros, from a lucid, forward-thinking mind, and his knowledge about the latest news from France, particularly in the areas of education and science. During his early years, he was educated at the Jesuits College of his native village (1732-1734), to then go on to the Real Seminario de Nobles in Madrid in 1736, an educational institution also run by the fathers of the Society of Jesus, which at that time was modernized under the first Bourbon reform.

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Aguirre Ayanz, Tiburcio

(Vitoria, 1707- Madrid, 1767)
Honorary member and Patron (1765) of the Royal Basque Society of the Friends of the Country.

The biography of this restless character could serve to illustrate the complex process of development of the Spanish Enlightenment, which came into being driven by a group of novatores who since the late seventeenth century, in most cases in isolation and sporadically, longed for the modernisation of the country, to its progressive development under the protection of the new institutions of the Bourbon state. After a period of initial training in the Court under his grandmother the Marquise of Montehermoso, he entered the College of San Bartolomé de Salamanca in 1729 where he was known for running a school of experimental physics and for forming a Department of Engineering and a Natural History collection. At that time he completed a scientific library in which there was no shortage of new books from France and England. The Marquis de Alventós attributes the translation of Entretiens physiques (Paris, 1729) by Regnault de Noël to him.

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DIRECTION OF THE ROYAL BASQUE SOCIEY OF THE FRIENDS OF THE COUNTRY

Palacio Intsausti
Aptdo. 105 – 20720 AZKOITIA
Tel. 943 285 577
E-mail: intsausti.rsbap@gmail.com

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