The Basque Country is a cultural area whose territory extends on both sides from the the Western Pyrenees on several administrative areas of the France and of the Spain. Imposing itself quickly at the end of the 19th century, it is today by far the framework most usually used to present and study the Basque culture , as well in presentations simplified with the use of the general public as in more erudite studies.
The the Basque autonomous Community (often also indicated “Pays Basque”), is a Spanish autonomous community made up of the three only historical territories of Alava, Guipuscoa and Biscay which constitutes only one part of it. According to the context, the expression “Pays Basque” used in French language can indicate only the northern part of the Basque grounds, which one will call French Basque Country (or “northern Basque Country”, Iparralde in Basque) when it is useful to raise ambiguity. It can also be a question of the Pays Basque within the meaning of town and country planning.
GeographyThe Basque Country in its broad direction includes/understands seven historical territories. Four in the south of the the Pyrenees form the southern Basque Country (or Spanish) and three in north form the northern Basque Country (Iparralde).
Southern Basque Country
See also: Spanish Basque Country (Hegoalde)
The Spanish Basque Country (Hegoalde) southern or Basque Country includes/understands:
- the Álava, which covers a surface of 3.037 km ² with 299.267 inhabitants in 2005. Its capital is Vitoria-Gasteiz. The other principal cities are: Laudio, Amurrio, Oion and Laguardia.
- the Biscay, which covers a surface of 2.217 km ² with 1.133.444 inhabitants listed in 2002. Its capital is Bilbao. The other principal cities are: Barakaldo, Getxo, Sestao, Guernica, Durango, Sopelana, Leioa, Bermeo, Ermua and Balmaseda.
- the Guipúzcoa, which covers a surface of 1.980 km ² with 682.977 inhabitants in 2002. Its capital is Saint-Sebastien ( Donostia ). The other principal cities are: Irun, Eibar, Tolosa (old capital of Guipúzcoa), Beasain, Azpeitia, Azkoitia, Ordizia, Zarautz, Hondarribia and Idiazabal forming the the Basque autonomous Community.
- the Navarre, made up in the Community Forale de Navarre , which covers a surface of 10.391 km ² with 569.628 inhabitants in 2003. Its capital is Pampelune (Iruña). It is also the old capital of the old kingdom of Navarre.
Northern Basque Country
See also: Basque Country French
The Basque Country French (Iparralde) or northern Basque Country includes/understands:
- the Labourd ( Lapurdi ), which covers a surface of 858 km ² with 205.000 inhabitants. Its capital is Ustaritz ( Ustaritze ). The other principal cities are: Rebated joint ( Angelu ), Biarritz ( Miarritze ), Hendaye ( Hendaia ), Saint-Jean-with-Luz ( Donibane-Lohizune ) and Espelette ( Ezpeleta ). Recent descriptions of Labourd generally make there appear Bayonne ( Baiona ).
- the Low-Navarre ( Nafarroa-Beherea ). Its capital is Saint-Jean-Foot-of-Port ( Donibane Garazi ) and the other principal cities are: Saint-Palate ( Donapaleu ).
- the Drunk ( Zuberoa or Xiberoa ), which holds 13.471 inhabitant in 1999. Its capital is Mauléon-Licharre ( Maule-Lextarre ).
LandscapesThe coast and the mountains are the dominant landscapes of the Basque Country.
Three provinces divide the Basque Côte: the Labourd French side and the Guipúzcoa and the Biscay Spanish side. The area is very marked by the maritime influence and Bilbao and Bayonne is the two radiant cities. The Basque coast starts in the south of the Adour with sand beaches ends which correspond to the prolongation of the Côte landaise. With Rebated joint, with the room of Love, the long beaches finish and leave the place with Falaise S from 30 to 50 m height and to small beaches inserted in splits. This rock formation comes from the Pyrenean massive which meets the the Bay of Biscay on the level of the Franco-Spanish Frontière (Holy Point Anne, Cabo Higuer). The geological formations are very heterogeneous along the coast. One meets calcareous sandstone with the point Saint Martin's day, blue marl S on the coast of the Basque, or the Flysh towards Bidart, in the Baie of Loya, with Hendaye or Zumaya. The east coast then very cut out and changes unrelentingly with the erosion of the rains and the sea. In the middle of these cliffs, one finds Plage S narrow, rather rare and sometimes made up of Galet S and Estuaire S which became the privileged places of town planning.
One observes a clear difference between the French Basque coast and the " costa vasca" (Spanish Basque coast). The expansion of the Urbanisme is important French side because in particular of growing tourism. Approximately 5% of the free east coast of construction. Spanish side, the east coast more preserved and less urbanized. However, the quality of the urbanization is much worse than French side and denatures the littoral.
The Montagne dominates all the remainder of the Basque territory with heights exceeding 400 m over more half of the country. In fact the the Pyrenees are in the center of the Basque Country and divide the latter in two formant the border between France and Spain. The culminating point of the Basque Pyrenees is the Pic of Orhy to 2.017 Mr. In the east, the Pyrenees high and are strewn with forest and pastures of altitude with rather deep valleys. In the west, the Pyrénéene chain is calmer and forms grassy plates and tops rounded to the Ocean. In the north of the solid mass, in Iparralde, the green hills dominate until the Adour. One finds there meadows, wood and cultivated fields of Maïs. With the top of Adour is formed a marshy alluvial plain called the barthes. In the south of the axial chain, in Navarre, the Pyrenees are present all along the border and are prolonged to the Spanish Basque coast with greener and less narrow valleys. In the west, in the the Basque autonomous Community, one finds the cordillera Cantabrique which is prolonged towards Bilbao. It is made of a succession of Sierra S: the Sierra of Aralar, the Sierra of Urbasa and the Sierra of Andia. Lastly, towards the Èbre, the plates disappear with the profit from a large valley.
ClimateThe climate of the Basque Country is varied and strongly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. The littoral profits from the influence of the Gulf Stream which gives a moderate climate and soft temperatures. The average annual temperature is of 13°C. The dominant winds are directed of west in is and bring regular precipitations in winter. The south, in Spain, winds of the south called locally haize hegoa make it possible to heat all the country. The summers remain soft thanks to the ocean. The rains are rather abundant and fall very quickly in the form of storms what gives a vegetation rich and green even in summer. Towards the south of the Basque Country in Spain, the climate becomes rather Mediterranean and even almost continental with dry and cold winters and a more desert vegetation.
Fauna and floraFauna is very varied on this vast territory. The birds are very present on the littoral. One finds the Hirondelle of rocks which niche in the cliffs, the Océanite storm which is a bird become rare, or the Tournepierre with collar that one very frequently finds on the beaches and the rocks. The Cormorant, the Seagull, the Gull and the Huîtrier magpie are birds which attend the Basque coasts. It is also a place of wintering for the Macareux monk, the Guillemot de Troïl and the Pingouin torda. The mountain is the refuge many Rapace S like the black Milan, the Adjustable nozzle or the fawn-coloured Vautour.
Mammals are familiar of the Basque Country. Formerly, the Brown bear populated the mountains. Now, one finds stag S, Sanglier S and Renard many S. wild rabbits makes the happiness of the hunters of the area.
The flora of the Basque Country is varied and different according to altitude and the climate. On the littoral, the flora is adapted to the maritime conditions of wind and salt. One finds there Lande and maritime meadow with Ajonc S, Bruyère, the Sérapia language and the marine Crithme. On the coast Spanish, the dunes are fixed thanks to plantations of maritime pines, Tamari S and Eucalyptus. The landscape of hills is dominated by grassy meadows and Lande. In mountain landscape, one finds primarily forests of Chêne S and of Hêtre S. Arbailles and Iraty are the largest forests of beeches of Europe. With the top of 1800 m, the moor takes again the relay as well as the pastures of mountain pasture. One finds there the Rhododendron and the Myrtille.
See also: History of the Basques
Prehistory with the RomansThe history of the Basque Country starts with the Préhistoire such testify to them the objects found in the Grottes to Isturitz and Oxocelhaya. Many people côtoient the current Basque Country. Many Roman historians report also the existence of many tribes different from the Celts or the Gallic one: Autrigons, Drivers, Vardules, Bérons, Vascons and Aquitains. The latter undoubtedly collaborate fully with the Romans. With the the Middle Ages, the Romans are supplanted by the Visigoths which invaded all the peninsula and the Francs which are in the north of the Pyrenees. In the medium the territory of the Vascons is formed. They do not submit to king Francs and do not hesitate to plunder the villages in the south as in north. The Basque characteristic of an independent company and very egalitarian appears then at this period.
At the 8th century, the Moslem invasion coming from the south takes the territory of the Basque. The kingdom of Pampelune is formed then, is a prelude to of the kingdom of Navarre. Charlemagne conquered the town of Pampelune destroying its walls. In 778 took place the Bataille of Roncevaux, for which certain theories support that they were Vascons which, to be avenged, attacked the rear-guard of the franque army of Charlemagne, thus depriving of its protection the constitution of a zone of Carolingian influence in the valley of the Èbre, similar to the Hispanic steps of Catalonia. This battle gave rise to famous the Chanson of Roland.
Capacity of the fuerosAt the 9th century, it is the beginning of the reconquest of the grounds taken by the Moslems ( Reconquista ) and the Basque Country had alternatively left the Royaume of Navarre and the Royaume of Castille. Conflicts existed between the tradesmen of the Spanish Basque Country and the tradesmen of Bayonne. It is also the moment of the installation of the fueros (fors). It is a charter granting to the populations privileges and freedoms and resulting from a synthesis between the Roman laws and wisigothes. They are concluded between the king and a valley, a city or a village. The province of Navarre will be most prosperous under the reign of Sanche Large the at the 11th century extending on part of the Aquitaine in north and in Aragon in the east. At the 12th century, it bursts but each province preserves its system of fueros. The Drunk and the Labourd which return to Aquitaine fall under English domination with the marriage from Aliénor from Aquitaine and the king from England. And during the War One hundred Year old, the Basque Country is quartered between France and England.
At the end of the Middle Ages, in 1521, the statute of the Navarre as left the crown of Castille was consolidated. The Kingdom of Navarre under domination of the House of Foix was then reduced to the territories in north the Pyrenees. The Basques of Guipuzcoa, Biscay and Alava continued to maintain a degree high autonomy of their provinces both in Spain and in France: the fueros are always places from there and appreciated by the local population. In 1659 is signed the Traité of the Pyrenees with Hendaye fixing the border between Spain and France and separating Navarre into two. France obtains the Drunk one and Labourd. During this time, the Basques took part in the conquest of America thanks to the Chasse for the whale which took them along to the grounds of the News-France. Many sailors and explorers come from the Basque territories.
End of autonomyThe broad autonomy of the Basque provinces of north touched at its end with the French revolution, which centralized the government and abolishes the totality of the local privileges that the Ancien Mode guaranteed. For north, it is the end of the fueros. In the south, the capacity of the fueros is disputed by economists who see a brake with economic development there. At the time of a war of succession between Isabelle II of Spain and his/her uncle Carlos, the opinions are divided on the fueros between its two heirs to the throne. It is the first war carlist between 1833 and 1876 which tear Spain. Guerillas of the Basque populations oppose the armies Spanish liberal governments. But in 1876 the fueros are abolished by order of the king and the central capacity is marked.
With the end of the fueros, it is the beginning of the Nationalisme with rejection of the central capacity which wants to choke the Basque culture. In 1895, a first nationalist movement Basque is born and claims the return of the fueros and the autonomy of the Basque provinces. At north as in the south, the Basque feeling of unity is emphasized. During the First World War, many Basque takes refuge in the south. In 1930, movements on the left and emergent Popular front in the two countries. In 1931, the republic is declared in Spain and the line seizes the power.
Nationalism at the 20th century
See also: Basque Nationalism
In 1936, begins the Spanish Civil war. The republicans to make sure of the support of the Basque declare the autonomy of the Basque Country. But, that sows the discord between the partisans of the Basque Country. Navarre anti-republican supports Franco while Biscay and Guipuzcoa or the Basque nationalist Party (PNV) are powerful, support the republican capacity in place. Free the Basque Country in 1937 tackles and the bombardment of Gernika (immortalized by a famous table of Picasso) made many civilian victims. The self government chaired by J.A. Agirre (PNV) is exiled with Bayonne when Bilbao is taken. Many exiled joins the French part of the Basque Country. 1939 mark victory of Free and the beginning of pro-Franco repression.
Basque resistance joined the territories of north and in addition to the PNV two movements are formed: the ETA (Euskadi your Askatasuna) in 1959 in the south, quickly influenced by the revolutionary ideas, and Enbata in 1963 in north. The movements are radicalized and call with violence. It is the beginning of the Terrorisme. With the arrival of Juan Carlos to the capacity, concessions are made by the Spanish government but that does not satisfy the revolutionists who want people Basque free and socialist. In 1979, the statute of the Basque autonomous Communauté is signed by the provinces except Navarre. Since, Basque institutions (Parliament, government, education system, radio-TV) are installation.
TourismThe Tourisme is the principal economy of the Basque Country especially for the northern part. It accounts for 20% of GDP for the French Basque Country while the Industrie reduces this proportion to 4% in the Spanish Basque Country. Tourism appeared at the 19th century with the arrival of the first tourists with Biarritz coming to taste with the marine baths. Many famous people like Eugenie the wife of Napoleon III, the king Edouard VII of England, Edmond Rostand and many other high-speed motorboats will go in the Basque Country in order to benefit from the benefits of the sea and the Thermalisme. Spanish side, the town of Saint-Sebastien attracts the greatest number of tourists. Bilbao car also its pin of the play with in particular its museum Guggenheim. The fame of Saint-Sebastien comes from the first Spanish sovereigns then Spanish rich person who went on vacation in this beautiful coastal town.
The attraction of the Basque Country is also explained by its lenient climate in summer, but also its culture, its traditions and its inheritance. Many activities and many leisures attract the tourists. Nature makes it possible to practice the Chasse and the fishing but also the sports of running water, the Randonnée and VTT.
FishThe fishing is an economic activity very present in Basque Country as testifies the many ports to them that one finds there. Formerly, the Basque actively fished the Baleine which one extracted from many derivative products like the Savon and the Huile. But, with the rarefaction of the whales and the prohibition of its hunting, the Basque turn to fishing to the Morue at the 19th century. The port of Saint-Jean-with-Luz is typical and makes it possible to find all the environment of a Basque port. Its activity was primarily turned towards the Sardine and the Thon in spite of the competitions with the Breton fishermen on these products.
To the 20th century, competitions oppose the Spanish fishermen to the French fishermen who deteriorate the work conditions. Moreover the European regulation and rarefaction of the resources cause an important crisis in the profession. The fishermen organize themselves then in co-operatives then modify their fishing zones while moving towards the African coasts. The factory ship develop to make it possible to carry out larger fishing years. There exists all the same a gap between the French fishermen and Spanish because the latter fishes much more than the fishermen of the French Basque Country.
IndustrySome industries result directly from the Artisanat the Middle Ages like the tannery of leather with Hasparren, the espadrille with Mauléon, the table linen and the textiles in the French Basque Country. To note that the mark Quiksilver settled with Saint-Jean-with-Luz. In the south, the furnishing and the work of wood in Guipúzcoa and Biscay are very present.
But the heavy industries are around the pole Bayonne - Anglet - Biarritz and the Spanish coast. The latter gathers the mines of Fer of Biscay which ensure 10% of the worldwide production and the Sidérurgie Bilbao. French side, the Port of Bayonne is very dynamic and ensures the deliveries of sulfur and the oil of Lacq towards outside. It is also the European platform of distribution of the vehicles Ford and General Motors manufactured in Spain and with the Portugal. Lastly, one finds in Anglet the factory of Dassault Aviation and the technopolis of Izarbel.
Financial side, Bilbao and Vizcaya were linked in order to create the second money market of Spain.
AgricultureThe Basque Country is a strongly rural area for 90% of its territory. The Maïs dominates the agricultural cultures of the French Basque Country and the Yrénées-Atlantiques are the second department at the national level in term of production of corn. But, the production is strongly competing and sudden falls of the course. Certain producers prefer to turn themselves towards more rustic productions and of quality like the Piment of Espelette, the Cerise Itxassou, cider apples or the biological products.
The wine was very present in all the Basque Country, only some soils remain today like the wine of Irouléguy the wines of the Rioja and the Txakoli de Navarre. Some cultures of Olivier (tree) S are visible in the basin of the Èbre. The Navarre is also an area of Maraîchage. The area mountainous are producing of Fromage like Larceveau exploited by Roquefort Company and the Berria dairy with Macaye and the Ossau-Iraty, cheese AOC. These cheeses are primarily produced by a breeding of sheep. One finds many races like the manech with black head of Low-Navarre in Biscay and the ardi xuri , a white ewe into Drunk.
Does the Basque Country exist?Interrogation of provocative appearance which opens the introduction of l
In the literature, several points of view on the subject are available. An author close to Basque nationalism, Jean-Louis Davant opens with a certain irony his Histoire of the Basque people by bringing back in the introduction a matter that in 1965 would have held to him the Préfet of the Yrénées-Atlantiques: “The Basque Country, Sir, that do not exist. ” Implicitly presents in criticisms of the mediums most opposed to Basque nationalism, undoubtedly more in Spain that in France, this “extreme” position hardly seems constant in the recent erudite literature and we will mention it only for memory.
In an opposite way the same Jean-Louis Davant quotes Fernando de Sarrailh de Yhartz, a Basque nationalist of most virulent, for whom the Basque Country must be “large Vasconie” including all the grounds which would have been Basque one day: Gascogne, area of Jaca, Rioja and Bureba, while conceding that these sights are more minority. Out of Basque, the concept has a specific denomination: it is “Orok Bat”, which means “All plain”.
More common is the definition of the Basque Country starting from a linguistic criterion, another choice which results in refusing the most current definition of the concept and in particular to withdraw from it the south of the Alava and the Navarre. On this criterion for example, the Grande Encyclopedia of Berthelot can write at the 19th century that “neither Bayonne, neither Pampelune, nor Bilbao is Basque”. While bringing back this point of view, Manex Goyhenetche stresses that it is not common any more nowadays where the Basque idea of ethnicity is largely accepted and clearly disjoined criteria of linguistic membership.
The concept of “Basque Country” most usually used today with the cultural direction, it is thus well that covered by the article, the “Zazpiak Bat”, the “seven provinces” according to its traditional description. The history of the concept is instructive: its progressive rise to power is definitely posterior with that of current name “Basques” to name the inhabitants of the place. If this one is attested as of the Renaissance, the first geographical description of the country seems to go up with 1643 in the treaty of religion Gero of Pedro de Axular, first source known to enumerate the “seven provinces” which constitute the Basque Country. It remains isolated, a following occurrence appearing in the Histoire of the Basques written for the period of 1761 with 1766 by the Knight of Béla, and which is the first to describe this list like that of the “seven provinces” (or “countries particular”) in which it is advisable “to divide” the Basques.
It is especially with the last third of the 19th century that the concept takes its rise, under its Basque name of Euskal Herria (even in Spanish, often contracted in Euskalherria ) in a literature which largely exceeds the nationalist sphere, while spreads the interest for the regional traditions. The expression “Basque Country” in the singular to indicate the totality of the Basque cultural surface is spread at the same time in the French texts. The Basque ball is a very old sport having many specialities with as many particular rules. The basic play is played naked hand
The Basque House or etxe is typical and representative of the Basque Country. But, one observes regional differences as in Labourd where the house is asymmetrical on the level of its Toiture or into Low-Navarre or Drunk. It was used to accommodate the men and the animals under the same roof.
Notice on the translation out of Basque
The Basque Country is called Euskal Herria in Basque. However, the word Euskadi , invented by the father of Basque nationalism, Sabino Arana, at the 19th century, indicates the Basque fatherland. The two terms thus have a different range. " Euskal Herria" is a more geographical and cultural concept (country inhabited by the Basques), whereas " Euskadi" is a political concept: it indicates the Basque nation.
At present, Euskadi is the Basque name of the Autonomous Community of the Pays Basque formed of the provinces of Álava, Vizcaya and Guipuzcoa.
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