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The orphan

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Throughout the history of literature there are many examples or orphaned children find themselves without any parental guidance. Some of those well-known characters are Lazarillo de Tormes, Oliver Twist and Jane Eyre, masterpieces of world literature, written in different periods of time.

All those characters had many common features. They show abandonment, class division and personal growth. And, I wanted to know if those atributtes were based in real facts and, also, happened in the Basque Country.

Surprisingly, digging into old documents and files I found something more curious about orphans. It was an old text written in Bergara in 1631(1) and the main figures were captain Santos de Zavaleta and the child of a poor woman died in the local hospital.

Zavaleta seemed to be very worried because the child had no acknowledged father and he was an infant who needed a wet nurse to breastfeed him. So, in orther to pay that woman and ensure the child rering, the local government decided to beg in the parish churches of Bergara and give that money to the wet nurse.

(1) Bergarako Udal Artxiboa BUA, 01-L/201, 596v

This post is also available in: Español Euskara

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