Bilbo (sword)

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The bilbo, a thrusting-sword, seems to take its name from its place of manufacture: Bilbao (in the Basque country between France and Spain ), famed for its sword-blades, and formerly known as Bilboa in English. Bilbos have well-temper and flexible blades. It was very popular aboard ships, where it was used on a similar role as the cutlass was among other nations. Needless to say, this sword was also used in Europe, but curiously, seem to have survived better in America. Probably because in the colonies these were better taken care of, since they were more difficult to acquire, and thus more valuable.


The Basque area, including the lordship of Biscay, was famed by its ironworks, not only blades but also guns.In Basque Labana Bizkaitarra , in Spanish, daga vizcaĆ­na ("Biscayne dagger") was one of the names for a dagger held in the left hand.

"Bilbo" is an English catch-all word used to very generally refer to the "Utilitarian" cup-hilt swords, so often found all over America. They usually had a wide, relatively short sturdy and well tempered blades, very practical and comparatively unadorned. The grip was more often than not wood, sometimes covered with wire.

The term comes from the Basque city of Bilbao, where a significant number of them were made and exported to the New World. In Basque that name is actually "Bilbo", although there's also a basque town by that name. These swords were also sold to merchants of every...
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