Aguirre Ayanz, Tiburcio

(Vitoria, 1707- Madrid, 1767)
Honorary member and Patron (1765) of the Royal Basque Society of the Friends of the Country.

The biography of this restless character could serve to illustrate the complex process of development of the Spanish Enlightenment, which came into being driven by a group of novatores who since the late seventeenth century, in most cases in isolation and sporadically, longed for the modernisation of the country, to its progressive development under the protection of the new institutions of the Bourbon state. After a period of initial training in the Court under his grandmother the Marquise of Montehermoso, he entered the College of San Bartolomé de Salamanca in 1729 where he was known for running a school of experimental physics and for forming a Department of Engineering and a Natural History collection. At that time he completed a scientific library in which there was no shortage of new books from France and England. The Marquis de Alventós attributes the translation of Entretiens physiques (Paris, 1729) by Regnault de Noël to him.

After a fleeting period in Pamplona, where he was a judge of the court in the Council of Navarre, judge of the court and minister of the Junta del Tabaco, he settled permanently in Madrid during the late 1740s. In 1748 he was awarded the Order of the Knight of Alcántara and appointed to the Military Orders. In that same year, he was ordained a priest to then become the chaplain of the prestigious Convent of the Barefoot Royal nuns (Convento de las Descalzas Reales). True to the family tradition established by his grandmother, in 1754 Fernando VI appointed him Groom of the Bedchamber and Chamberlain of the Oratory, and shortly thereafter, in 1759, the new King Carlos III entrusted him with the education of Prince Charles, the future Charles IV, to whom he dedicated the edition of Crónica de la orden de Alcántara by Alonso Torres and Tapia (Madrid, 1763).

Tiburcio Aguirre participated actively in the Enlightenment Academic Art by the early Bourbons, first as an honorary member (1735), temporary member (1737) and full member (1744) in the Royal Spanish Academy, and later as counsellor (1752) and vice patron (1753 -1767) of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando.

All indications point to him having played a significant role in the institutionalization of the fledgling Royal Basque Society of the Friends of the Country, of which he was patron and second honorary member, a position that ceased to exist after his death, and which was undoubtedly inspired by the Vice Patron of the Academy of San Fernando, who in practice, as a substitute to the patron, the then Secretary of the State Office, assured the monarchy's control over the academic institution. The Count of Peñaflorida gained indepth knowledge of this model during his sojourn in Madrid (1758-1762), with the help of well-known characters such as Agustín de Montiano Luyando (1697-1764) and Tiburcio Aguirre himself. Along with the latter and his nephew, Francisco Javier Aguirre (1732-1763), Xabier María de Munibe had the opportunity to take part in an academic event (the Conclusions of Mathematics and Experimental Physics defended by the young students) held in June 1760 in the Real Seminario de Nobles in Madrid.




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