Tuesday, March 06, 2007

70 Years Ago

The memory of this naval battle will be cherished for always by the Basques for it represents the will of an entire nation to prevail over its enemies in its quest for self determination. Here you have the note published by EiTB:

70th anniversary of the Matxitxako naval battle

The Basque President will chair the ceremony in tribute to the dead Basque sailors in this Spanish Civil War's battle.

March 4th marks the 70th anniversary of the Matxitxako naval battle, a tragic battle at the Spanish Civil War that left dozens of dead people. A ceremony chaired by the Basque President Juan José Ibarretxe, a flower offering within the sea and a meeting with the survivors will commemorate the naval battle.

Merchant ship Galdames was scheduled to leave the port of Baiona for Bilbao 5 March 1937, carrying several tons of coins minted in Belgium. The Mar Cantábrico, a merchant ship bringing weapons from Mexico, was also expected on the Basque coast that day.

Franco's troops, warned about the importance of the cargo, mobilized its troops. It was extremely important that the two cargoes did not reach the port.

The Basque authorities, as a precautionary measure, sent four former cod-fishing trawlers restructured into warships to protect the two Basque merchant ships. The nationalist troops sent the cruiser Canarias, the most powerful warship in Franco's navy.

The Canarias begun a fierce battle against the Basque ships which ended with the death of dozens of Basque sailors.

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