Context of Basque Country (greater region)

The Basque Country (Basque: Euskal Herria; Spanish: País Vasco; French: Pays basque) is the name given to the home of the Basque people. The Basque country is located in the western Pyrenees, straddling the border between France and Spain on the coast of the Bay of Biscay. Euskal Herria is the oldest documented Basque name for the area they inhabit, dating from the 16th century.

It comprises the Autonomous Communities of the Basque Country and Navarre in Spain and the Northern Basque Country in France. The region is home to the Basque people (Basque: Euskaldunak), their language (Basque: Euskara), culture and traditions. The area is neither linguistically nor culturally homogeneous, and certain areas have a majority of people who do not consider themselves Basque, such as the south of Navarre. The concept is still highly controversial, and the Suprem...Read more

The Basque Country (Basque: Euskal Herria; Spanish: País Vasco; French: Pays basque) is the name given to the home of the Basque people. The Basque country is located in the western Pyrenees, straddling the border between France and Spain on the coast of the Bay of Biscay. Euskal Herria is the oldest documented Basque name for the area they inhabit, dating from the 16th century.

It comprises the Autonomous Communities of the Basque Country and Navarre in Spain and the Northern Basque Country in France. The region is home to the Basque people (Basque: Euskaldunak), their language (Basque: Euskara), culture and traditions. The area is neither linguistically nor culturally homogeneous, and certain areas have a majority of people who do not consider themselves Basque, such as the south of Navarre. The concept is still highly controversial, and the Supreme Court of Navarre has upheld a denial of government funding to school books that include the Navarre community within the Basque Country area.

More about Basque Country (greater region)

Basic information
  • Native name Euskal Herria
Population, Area & Driving side
  • Population 3193513
  • Area 20870
History
  • Ancient period  Dolmen in Bilar (Álava)

    According to some theories, Basques may be the least assimilated remnant of the Paleolithic inhabitants of Western Europe (specifically those of the Franco-Cantabrian region known as Azilian) to the Indo-European migrations. Basque tribes were mentioned by Greek writer Strabo and Roman writer Pliny, including the Vascones, the Aquitani, and others. There is considerable evidence to show their Basque ethnicity in Roman times in the form of place-names, Caesar's reference to their customs and physical make-up, the so-called Aquitanian inscriptions recording names of people and gods (approx. 1st century, see Aquitanian language), etc.

    ...Read more
    Ancient period  Dolmen in Bilar (Álava)

    According to some theories, Basques may be the least assimilated remnant of the Paleolithic inhabitants of Western Europe (specifically those of the Franco-Cantabrian region known as Azilian) to the Indo-European migrations. Basque tribes were mentioned by Greek writer Strabo and Roman writer Pliny, including the Vascones, the Aquitani, and others. There is considerable evidence to show their Basque ethnicity in Roman times in the form of place-names, Caesar's reference to their customs and physical make-up, the so-called Aquitanian inscriptions recording names of people and gods (approx. 1st century, see Aquitanian language), etc.

    Geographically, the Basque Country was inhabited in Roman times by several tribes: the Vascones, the Varduli, the Caristi, the Autrigones, the Berones, the Tarbelli, and the Sibulates. Some ancient place-names, such as Deba, Butrón, Nervión, Zegama, suggest the presence of non-Basque peoples at some point in protohistory. The ancient tribes are last cited in the 5th century, after which track of them is lost, with only Vascones still being accounted for,[1]: 79  while extending far beyond their former boundaries, e.g. in the current lands of Álava and most conspicuously around the Pyrenees and Novempopulania.

     Horses in mountain Bianditz straddling Navarre and Gipuzkoa The Basque Country's historic districts (early 18th century)

    The territory of the Cantabri encompassed probably present-day Biscay, Cantabria, Burgos and at least part of Álava and La Rioja, i.e. to the west of Vascon territory in the Early Middle Ages,[1]: 139  but the ethnic nature of this people, often at odds with and finally overcome by the Visigoths, is not certain. The Vascones around Pamplona, after much fighting against Franks and Visigoths, founded the Kingdom of Pamplona (824), inextricably linked to their kinsmen the Banu Qasi.[1]: 123 

    All other tribes in the Iberian Peninsula had been, to a great extent, assimilated by Roman culture and language by the end of the Roman period or early period of the Early Middle Ages, while ethnic Basques inhabited well east into the lands of the Pyrenees (Pallars, Val d'Aran) from the 8th to the 11th century.[2]: 4 

    Middle Ages

    In the Early Middle Ages (up to the 9th century) the territory between the Ebro and Garonne rivers was known as Vasconia, a blurred ethnic area and polity struggling to fend off the Frankish feudal authority from the north and the pressure of the Iberian Visigoths and Andalusi Cordovans from the south.[3]: 33–40 

    By the turn of the millennium, a receding Carolingian royal authority and establishing feudalism left Vasconia (to become Gascony) fragmented into a myriad of counties and viscounties,[2]: 207–208  e.g. Fezensac, Bigorre, Astarac, Béarn, Tartas, Marsan, Soule, Labourd, etc., out of former tribal systems and minor realms (County of Vasconia), while south of the Pyrenees, besides the above Kingdom of Pamplona, Gipuzkoa, Álava and Biscay arose in the current lands of the Southern Basque Country from the 9th century onward.

    These westerly territories pledged intermittent allegiance to Navarre in their early stages, but were annexed to the Kingdom of Castile at the end of the 12th century, so depriving the Kingdom of Navarre of direct access to the ocean. In the Late Middle Ages, important families dotting the whole Basque territory came to prominence, often quarreling with each other for power and unleashing the bloody War of the Bands, only stopped by royal intervention and the gradual shift of power from the countryside to the towns by the 16th century.[1]: 249–254  Meanwhile, the viscounties of Labourd and Soule under English suzerainty were finally incorporated to France after the Hundred Years' War, with Bayonne remaining the last Plantagenet stronghold up to 1453.

    Modern period

    In Navarre, the civil wars between the Agramont and the Beaumont confederacies paved the way for the Spanish conquest of the bulk of Navarre from 1512 to 1524. The independent Navarre north of the Pyrenees was largely absorbed by France in 1620, despite the fact that King Henry III of Navarre had decreed Navarre's permanent independence from France (31 December 1596).[4]: 30  In the decades after the Spanish annexation, the Basque Country went through increased religious, ideological and national homogenization,[5]: 71–74  encouraged by new national ideas embraced by the rising Spanish and French absolutist monarchies during the Renaissance.[6]: 86, 100–104 

    "Basque (Country) [Vasco (País)], Euscalerria or Euskalerria: Region of south-western Europe, an area inhabited especially by the 'Basques': they keep unity with regards to race and language, in spite of one sector belonging to Spain (see Spanish Basque Country [País Vasco-Español]) and the other to France (see French Basque Country [País Vasco-Francés]). The Basque Country extends over 21,023 sq km, and is home to 1,585,409 inhabitants." Diccionario Geográfico Universal, Madrid (1953)[7]

    From 1525, witchcraft allegations originating in a number of Pyrenean valleys on the rearguard of the Lower Navarre front and recent theatre of war (Salazar, Roncal, Burguete, etc.) were followed by the intervention of newly reformed and recent institutions, such as Spain's central tribunal Inquisition, the (Navarrese) Royal Tribunals, and the Diocesan Tribunal, who organized a series of trials for alleged witchcraft and heretical practices. In the heat of the Wars of Religion and the struggle for Navarre, persecution came to a head in the hysteria of the 1609–1611 Basque witch trials on both sides of the Spanish-French border, easing afterwards.

    In the French Basque Country, its provinces underwent an ever-shrinking self-government status until the French Revolution,[1]: 267  when the traditional provinces were reshaped to form the current Basses-Pyrénées department along with Béarn. In the Southern Basque Country, the regional Charters were upheld until the Carlist Wars,[1]: 268  when the Basques supported heir-apparent Carlos and his descendants to the cry of "God, Fatherland, King" (The Charters were finally abolished in 1876). The ensuing centralized status quo bred dissent and frustration in the region, giving rise to Basque nationalism by the end of the 19th century, influenced by European Romantic nationalism.[1]: 277 

    Since then, attempts were made to find a new framework for self-empowerment. The occasion seemed to have arrived on the proclamation of the 2nd Spanish Republic in 1931, when a draft statute was drawn up for the Southern Basque Country (Statute of Estella), but was discarded in 1932. In 1936 a short-lived statute of autonomy was approved for the Gipuzkoa, Álava and Biscay provinces, but war prevented any progress. After Franco's dictatorship, a new statute was designed that resulted in the creation of the current Basque Autonomous Community and Navarre, with a limited self-governing status, as settled by the Spanish Constitution. However, a significant part of Basque society is still attempting higher degrees of self-empowerment (see Basque nationalism), sometimes by acts of violence (ETA's permanent ceasefire in 2010). The French Basque Country, meanwhile, lacks any political or administrative recognition whatsoever, while a majority of local representatives have lobbied to create a Basque department, to no avail.

    ^ a b c d e f g Collins, Roger (1990). The Basques (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell. ISBN 0631175652. ^ a b Lewis, Archibald R. (1965). The Development of Southern French and Catalan Society, 718–1050. Austin: University of Texas Press. Retrieved 15 September 2012. ^ Douglass, William A.; Douglass, Bilbao, J. (2005) [1975]. Amerikanuak: Basques in the New World. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press. ISBN 0-87417-625-5. Retrieved 16 November 2013. ^ Urzainqui, Tomas; Esarte, Pello; García Manzanal, Alberto; Sagredo, Iñaki; Sagredo, Iñaki; Sagredo, Iñaki; Del Castillo, Eneko; Monjo, Emilio; Ruiz de Pablos, Francisco; Guerra Viscarret, Pello; Lartiga, Halip; Lavin, Josu; Ercilla, Manuel (2013). La Conquista de Navarra y la Reforma Europea. Pamplona-Iruña: Pamiela. ISBN 978-84-7681-803-9. ^ Jimeno Jurio, Jose Maria (1998). "Contrarreforma catolica y lengua". Navarra. Historia del Euskera (2nd ed.). Txalaparta. ISBN 84-8136-062-7. Retrieved 17 July 2013. ^ "Perspectiva política" (PDF). El Libro Blanco del Euskera. Euskaltzaindia. 1977. Retrieved 14 July 2013. ^ Esparza Zabalegi, Jose Mari (2012). Euskal Herria Kartografian eta Testigantza Historikoetan. Euskal Editorea SL. p. 112. ISBN 978-84-936037-9-3.
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