Liverpool Basques and the Spanish Colonial Project: from Mundaka to Manila (via the Mersey)
In the second half of the nineteenth century, a dense network of social, economic and maritime connections bound Liverpool to the port cities of the Hispanic world. Among the many Anglo-Hispanic merchant and maritime companies based in the city, the largest and most prominent was Olano, Larrinaga & Co., founded in 1862 by three Basque businessmen: Ramón de Larrinaga, José Antonio de Olano, and Juan Bautista de Longa. During the 1870s and 1880s, this company was the chief driver behind the establishment and rapid development of Liverpool’s Basque community, as hundreds of men and women from the small ports around Larrinaga’s home town of Mundaka on the Urdaibai estuary made their way to Liverpool. Some passed through; others settled, and their descendants remain in the city today.
This talk will consider the part that Liverpool’s Basque community played in the Spanish colonial project in the Philippines, tracing the connections binding both company and community to Manila during the company’s most active, profitable and controversial period. We will explore how Olano and Larrinaga placed their growing fleet of ultra-modern steamships, captained by a tight-knit network of Mundaka-born cousins and in-laws with close connections to Liverpool, at the service of the Spanish Government – and look at the bitter controversies the company’s ambition generated back in Spain.
Speaker: Prof Kirsty Hooper (University of Warwick)
Prof Kirsty Hooper is a specialist in Spanish, Anglo-Spanish and Galician cultural history since 1800. Her particular interests include the global nineteenth century, mobilities, genealogies, and microhistories. Her research has been funded by the AHRC, the British Academy, and the Leverhulme Trust, and her books include The Edwardians and the Making of a Modern Spanish Obsession; Mondariz-Vigo-Santiago: A Brief History of Galicia's Edwardian Tourist Boom, and Writing Galicia into the World: New Cartographies, New Poetics. She is currently completing work on a book about Liverpool Basques and the Spanish Colonial Trade, and carrying out (virtual!) archival research for a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship project, Hispanic London: Culture, Commerce and Community in the Nineteenth Century City.