A brief History of the Lardizabals

The surname LARDIZÁBAL first existed in the town of Idiazabal in the district of Tolosa (Guipuzcoa), Basque Country in Spain. The vast majority of all Basque surnames are not patronymic (like Johnson in English), or based on personal features (like Brown or Smith) but refer to the family's "Etxea" (meaning "the Basque House"). Their dwelling is an equally important aspect of their culture. ETXEA is the historical description of their family house. This usually either refers to the relative location of the home or the description of their dwelling. It was believed that the origin of the name LARDIZABAL came from basque words "LAR"meaning bramble patch (prickly bush with edible fruit) and "ZABAL" meaning wide. Thus it was believed that the original bearer of the name LARDIZABAL resided near wide patch of brambles.


See: El Palacio de Lardizábal en Gipuzkoa, España circa siglo 17 [https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.10151033097784172&type=1]


The Lardizabal's genealogy in the Philippines can be traced back to Governor-General LUIS LARDIZABAL Y MONTOJO from Basque, Spain (where Lardizabal Street in Sampaloc, Manila was named after). He was a high ranking Basque military official designated by Queen Isabella II in 1838 to serve in "Las Islas Filipinas". During his term, he established the province of Nueva Vizcaya (named in honor of the Basque province, Biscay), a landlocked province which lies in Southeastern Cagayan Valley, host to some 400,000 inhabitants of various ethnic origins. He was also responsible for the erection of Magellan's Cross monuments in Cebu City, and Mactan Island, which until today still exist, to commemorate Ferdinand Magellan's discovery of the island and for bringing Christianity to the Philippines.


It was said that the Governor-General then settled to Nueva Segovia (now Ilocos Sur) where the clan took its roots. Lardizábal died at sea on his way back to Spain.


Therefore the roots of the Lardizabals in the Philippines must have originated from Nueva Segovia and Vizcaya which covered Ilocos Sur, Abra, Apayao, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Benguet, Batanes, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province. Due to migration, the clan has spread to Batangas, Mindoro, Leyte and even in Hawaii and California during height of Ilocano labor exodus in the 1900s. Further government-sponsored labor migrations during the early 1920s had led to the resettlement of Ilocanos to Mindanao, particularly to the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat. Thus some Lardizabals are found in the southern parts of the Philippines.




Did you know that there was a MANUEL MIGUEL LARDIZÁBAL Y URIBE (1744–1820), a Mexican of Basque descent, a human right intellectual, historian and an activist who fearlessly fought King Carlos III of Spain for his policy on torture and executing prisoners merely for a simple crime of thieving?


King Carlos III of Spain tried in 1764 to bring back a law of 1734 by his father King Felipe V of Spain whereby even thieves operating in Madrid could be tried and executed even if there were no assassinations involved in the thieving.


This move brought about the publication in 1782 by Manuel Lardizabál of his "Discurso sobre las penas contrahido a las leyes criminales de España para facilitar su reforma".


His booklet, later known as “Discurso de Lardizábal,” had became controversial not only in Spain but also in Europe where it was used as reference in the writings of some respected intellectuals as the German Samuel von Pufendorf, the Italian Milanese educated in Spanish-Italian Parma, Beccaria, Cesare, Marquis of Beccaria-Bonesana, and the reflexions on the degradation applying torture of the Frenchman Joseph Michel Antoine Servan, "Advocat Géneral of the Parliement of Grenoble".


It was even cited in the appeal against the execution of King Louis XVI of France during the French Revolution in 1793. However, deputies voting for the execution considered rather "unbalanced and not enough critically scientific" the booklet of Lardizabál to be cited for the king’s stay of execution. Of course, the king was used as a scapegoat by the revolutionaries. He and Marie Antoinette were executed by guillotine on 21 January 1793. In any case, over two centuries later, this Lardizabal’s 1782 booklet had become the citation for the policy of death penalty applied in most countries until today.


The Paseo Manuel Lardizábal, an avenue found in San Sebastian, Spain, was named after him by the modern Spanish government to honor his exemplary work.


[see painted image of Miguel Lardizabal as done by Francisco de Goya, the famous Spanish painter regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns:




Did you know that the Lardizabals of Marinduque headed by MARTIN LARDIZABAL figured prominently during the Filipino-Spanish (1898) and American War (1900-1901)? Martin Lardizabal, the military governor of Marinduque's first revolutionary provincial government, was considered as a legendary local war hero.


When Juan de Salcedo and Martin de Goiti, two Spanish conquistadores, returned to the Philippine islands in 1569 and conquered Manila, they stayed on to establish other settlements in the region. Marinduque, together with Mindoro, the southeast part of Laguna and Camarines was made a part of Batangas when the latter was founded in 1581 by the Spaniards.


The legendary Martin Lardizabal led the local struggle in overthrowing the last Spanish casadores after armed conflict and hostilities with the revolutionists during the Philippine-Spanish War. This resulted to the declaration of Marinduque’s separation from the Spanish rule on April 28, 1898.


Also during the second phase of the Philippine revolution, that was the Filipino-American War (1900-1901), Martin together with his nephew, PEDRO LARDIZABAL, a major in the insurgent staff, and another nephew, a Manila merchant who orchestrated the clandestine transfer of supplies and information in the island and a brother-in-law, Pedro Madrigal, a lieutenant and adjutant of the Boac-based 2nd Guerrilla, commandeered the first major victory of the Filipinos against the Americans. This occurred at the Battle of Pulang Lupa (Torrijos), when they defeated the American contingent under the command of the brutal Captain Deverieux Shields. The said battle was considered one of the most dramatic reversals the Americans suffered during the war with the Filipinos.




I came across a piece of interesting publication in the New York Times dated July 24, 1918.


[see: www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=91862374060&set=o.34090739171&type=1]


A certain GENERAL MANUEL LARDIZABAL of Honduras filed a suit for $500,000 against Washington S. Valentine, considered as the “King of Honduras” because of his extensive business interest in Central America, (wow, $500,000 was a fortune even during that time!).


The suit was based from the grant of oil franchises in Costa Rica to the Central American Oil Corporation. General Lardizabal averred that he brought about the grant of the franchises partly through the use of his personal influences and partly with the aid of $100,000 sent down to Costa Rica, and that for his services he was to get half of the profit.


I don’t know if this suit prospered. We can ask our relatives from Honduras, the descendants of General Manuel Lardizabal, if they are filthy rich now.


¿Puede dar nos usted un millón de dólar cada?




One of the longest serving mayors in the Northern Philippines was LUIS LARDIZABAL, the distant relative of our admins here, Diane Dee Nicolaou and Annie Lardizabal-Medina, whose family originated from Tagudin, Ilocos Sur before they settled in Sagada, Mountain Province.  Apo Luis as my father fondly called him, became the first duly elected mayor of Baguio City and served in three different periods from March 1, 1960 to December 31, 1963; January 1, 1968 to December 31, 1971; and January 1, 1972 until December 27, 1979.




TERESITA ALVADO LARDIZABAL from Argentina is a famous feminist, poet and writer of Spanish children’s books whose literary works have obtained several awards and recognitions both local and international. A tireless kindergarten school teacher based in Santa Fe, her poems, stories, riddles and tongue twisters found on her published books, “Hace mucho tiempo: la historia Argentina en relatos para niños,” and “¿Adivinaré? adivinanzas - juegos – laberintos,” among others, are descriptions of facts and anecdotes of Argentina’s history that provided  children with cultural roots to raise their growth as a nation. She is described by Latin American critics as a pleasant and smooth writer whose tales “take us past events which were, are and will remain a living part of (Argentina’s) history.”