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.

His sojourn in Madrid (1758-1762) as deputy to the Court of the province of Gipuzkoa, in the company of his brother Martín José de Aréizaga was crucial to the progressive development of the Enlightenment. Through his dealings with compatriots such as Tiburcio de Aguirre (1707-1767), Agustín de Montiano (1697-1764) and Francisco Javier de Aguirre (1732-1763), the Fourth Marquis of Montehermoso, he had the opportunity of experiencing the Bourbon reform initiatives firsthand and coming into contact with the Enlightened Academic Art. He wrote in collaboration with Joaquin Eguía and perhaps with Manuel Ignacio de Altuna y Portu (1722-1762) Los aldeanos críticos, o cartas críticas sobre lo que se verá (1758), a satirical essay in response to criticism expressed by Father Francisco de Isla against experimental science in his highly renowned Fray Gerundio de Campazas (1758).

This rich backdrop prompted a Plan for an economic or academic society of agriculture, science and useful arts and commerce, presented at the Juntas Generales (General Assemblies, equivalent to the Basque Parliament) in Gipuzkoa in 1763, immediate precursor, albeit more limited, of the founding of the Royal Basque Society of the Friends of the Country. One of his greatest achievements was without doubt the opening of the Royal Seminary of Bergara.

Like his ancestors, the 8th Count of Peñaflorida was actively involved in the politics of his time, being mayor of Azkoitia (1747-1748, 1755 and 1765), deputy member (1746, 1750, 1754, 1758 and 1761) and member of the Court (1758) in Gipuzkoa.

 

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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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