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Giant of Altzo

Famous Giant’s Bones Found in Spain?


Is this the remains of a famous giant man who traveled Europe in the 19th century meeting such royalty as Queen Victoria. The skeleton was long thought to have been stolen.

These bones are thought to be the Giant of Altzo, Miguel Joaquin Eleicegui who was born in 1818. The skeleton is 7 feet 10 inches.


Eleicegui’s fame spread in the rest of Europe, he was presented as the “Basque Giant” or the “Spanish Giant.” His fame quickly grew, and he met the rich and royalty, including Queen Victoria. He was also received by Queen Isabella II of Spain, Queen Maria II of Portugal and King Louis Phillipe I of France.

After his death in 1861, his remains were interred in a cemetery in Altzo, a town in northern Spain’s Basque Country. For a long time it was believed that his remains had been stolen by either scientists or grave robbers.
This skeleton comes from that graveyard, is this him or someone else?

Lourdes Herrasti, co-director of the project and member of the Department of Anthropology of the Aranzadi Science Society, told Zenger News, “The legend said that the remains were not in the cemetery because some British people had been interested in the skeleton. He was very well known throughout Europe and traveled a lot. That’s why it was thought that his remains could have been extracted and taken to an anthropology museum abroad. That legend spread and has been in force until before the discovery of his bones this week.”

The decision to search for and exhume Eleicegui’s remains came from Altzo’s town hall, with the prior authorization of his relatives. The Altzo town hall also houses an exhibit that tells the giant’s life story.

“We still do not know what will be done with the remains,” said Herrasti.  “That’s a decision that will be made jointly between the Altzo town council and his relatives.”

The movie “Giant” recreates Eleicegui’s life and premiered in 2017 at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, where it was awarded the Special Jury Prize. The film was also screened that same year at the BFI London Film Festival and won 10 awards at Spain’s 32nd Goya Awards in early 2018.

  1. (Edited by Stephen Gugliociello and Matthew Hall.)

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