National Geographic : 1922 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph by Casa Lux A CARD PARTY IN THE DRAWING-ROOM STABLE OF A BASQUE HOME In the summer time the peasant families and their guests spend the heat of the day on the cool first floor of their homes-that portion of the establishment occupied at night by the domestic animals. Note the high cart in the right background. I have likened the Basque provinces to New England. Now there must arise a slight inconsistency, perhaps, because Bil bao itself is certainly the "Pittsburgh" of Spain. Along the Nervion, between the city and the sea, are some of the world's most famous iron deposits. They were known in the middle ages-so much so, in fact, that Elizabethan writers used the term "bilbo" for rapier, and no less an authority than Shakespeare causes his Falstaff, in the "Merry Wives of Wind sor," to speak of his condition in the buck-basket as "compassed, like a good bilbo, in the circumference of a peck, hilt to point, heel to head." It is largely during the last three dec ades, however, that vast exploitation has taken place; and now the river is lined with freighters loading ore for Newcastle or for Rotterdam, where it is transhipped into Rhine barges and carried to Krupps and other German iron and steel makers. But not all of this Vizcayan wealth is exported in its natural state. Basque energy has caused the erection of smelting plants along the river, where steel rails and ship plates are produced. The rails explain why these provinces lead in the matter of Spanish railways, and the steel plates why Bilbao has become Spain's chief shipbuilding center. NO RESENTMENT AGAINST AMERICA As far back as 1897 the Bilbao yards launched a Spanish cruiser which a few months later, as a unit of Cervera's fleet at Santiago, was destroyed.