Archive of don Tirso de Olazábal and Lardizabal


Nineteenth century historiography of Guipuzcoa is based on a variety of public and private archives well-guarded and classified by Irargi, among other public institutions. In the nineteenth century documentary world of the Basque Country, family archives have a substantive importance, as they guard primogeniture documents that explain to a large degree the economic and political structure of the historical territory. This being important, some private archives acquire a greater degree depending on the political relevance of their holder in carlist wars, as these are conformer episodes in the history of the country during the last two centuries. Such funds usually keep letters between some of the most important actors of the last civil war in the nineteenth century.

In the case of Don Tirso de Olazabal, Count of Arbelaiz (1842-1921), general commander of the army of Don Carlos VII and right hand of the pretender in the political structure of carlism. Due to its chronological and thematic extension, Olazabal and Lardizabal archive is regarded as the last keystone of the great interpretive arc of the Basque Country’s end-of-century history.

FPEV has digitized over 50,000 documents of Don Tirso de Olázabal fund. We estimate that the whole archive contains 70,000 documents.

The fund is very broad in its content. With regard to the carlist documentation there is an enormous correspondence with Carlos VII, his wife Margarita de Borbón Parma, the Marquis of Cerralbo, the Orbe family and many others, including the main leaders of the carlist movement. Some of these letters were typed up and bound in fourteen volumes of 300 pages each by Javier Olazábal and Mendoza, grandson of Don Tirso. The temporary space includes volumes from 1870 to 1903. Among them, the fourteenth deserves to be highlighted. It collects the memories of a smuggler with great detail and the intervention of Don Tirso in the acquisition and clandestine landing of weapons for the carlist army between 1872 and 1876. Together with the typescript the original text is conserved with extensive documentation on the “Milagroso”, boat dedicated to arm smuggling, and its landfalls in Ondárroa and landing of the weapons. The documentation is accompanied by reflections of captain Badiola on the events in which he lived.

Alongside these volumes documentation regarding the war in 1874 stands out too. It provides data from weapons, ammunition, health, ambulances, charities as Irache, Bougarde, etc. It also contains correspondence with Antonio Lizarza (general commander of Guipuzcoa), the priest Santa Cruz, Miguel Dorronsoro (deputy general of Guipuzcoa at the beginning of the carlist war), the Count of Lassuen, the Marquis of Cerralbo, the Count de Melgar, the princesses, etc.

We believe that some letters are relevant. For instance, those held with members of the new uprising of 1869, with the secretary of the Duke of Madrid, letters of Viareggio, Teodoro Arana, Prudencio de Iturrino. Concerning the fundamentalist movement, an extensive documentation with Ramon de Zavala, father Íbero and much more remains.

Next to the Carlist section of Olázabal fund, documents with regard to the lordship of Arbelaiz and its properties are kept. This documentation begins in the early sixteenth century and goes on until the disappearance of the legal figure. We highlight the files related to the post office function of the house Arbelaiz for the King with the European provinces of the Spanish crown. Documentation could well reach 15,000 documents, which are necessary for the understanding of sociology and economics of Guipuzcoa during this period.

Finally, the archive contains a rich photographic collection of the late nineteenth century about towns of Guipuzcoa and a variety of images of the family of Don Tirso among which we highlight the presence of Julio de Urquijo, son-in-law of Don Tirso.


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