21 Basque Country Facts: History, Culture, Politics And Much More

Shirin Biswas
Jan 23, 2024 By Shirin Biswas
Originally Published on Jan 25, 2022
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Niyati Parab
Learn some Basque Country facts with us today!
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.0 Min

If you were to ask the Basques, they would call this region Euskal Herria.

The culture and cuisine of this area are one of the reasons why people love living here. The population of this area is believed to have had Caucasian descendants.

The Basque Country is located in-between parts of Spain and France and is bordered by the Bay of Biscay. This area is known to host one of the oldest ethnic groups of Europe and the fact that the people have managed to preserve large chunks of their original culture is one of the reasons why the place is respected. In spite of being called a country, it is only but an autonomous community of Spain!

When in Basque Country, people have a lot to explore, starting from the cuisine to the age-old stone cottages that remain intact in some of the villages of the area. Typical food in the area would include pintxos (Basque tapas), combined with some locally made wines! Keep reading to learn more about Basque Country!

Facts About Basque Country

The Basque Country is an autonomous community that has survived several invasions and has still managed to uphold its values.

  • The language of the Basque community is unscathed from the Spanish and French influences and the population is known to believe in folklore.
  • These people have a unique language which is also one of the oldest in Europe and there are seven different dialects that are prevalent in the region.
  • The Basque region creates a stark contrast when viewed against the postmodern cities in the neighboring areas.
  • This is because the Basque population has somehow managed to keep some of the ancient villages intact, which make up a huge part of the cultural integrity as well!
  • The Basque Country is a historical region which is located in Northern Spain.
  • The Basque people belong from regions of the south-western side of France and north-western Spain.
  • The region that these people originally belong to is known as Euskal Herria.
  • The Indo-European people are said to have entered this area around 5000 years ago.
  • The Basque Country has gone through many invasions throughout the years.
  • These invasions were carried out by many groups such as the Romans, Arabs, French, Spanish, and the Visigoth.
  • Basque Country's population stands at roughly 3 million people.
  • The population consists of some of the oldest ethnic groups of Europe.
  • The national sport of Basque Country is known as pelota and is similar to an amalgamation of handball and squash!

Basque Country's History

The Basque Country is a unique region in Europe that has a rich history spanning thousands of years. The Basques are thought to be one of the oldest European cultures, and their language is one of the few in Europe that is not Indo-European. There are many interesting aspects to Basque Country's history, from its early inhabitants to its modern-day culture. In this article, we will explore some of the most important moments in Basque Country's history.

  • The Basque Country, or País Vasco, consists of parts of northwest Spain and southwest France.
  • The land has faced invasions from Roman, the Visigoth, Spanish, as well as French.
  • Of the seven dialects spoken in this community, the traditional Basque language is one of the oldest in Europe.
  • Basque folklore suggests that even the Devil tried to master the language but could not due to its sheer complexity.
  • The Spanish side of the Pyrenees was taken over by the Spaniards, Gascons, and the Catalans in around the Middle Ages.
  • The Spanish side agreed to be a part of Spain around the 16th century.
  • In the 19th century, this area was under the governance of Spain and France.
  • The Spanish part of the Basque Country is the most populated part of the region.
  • The autonomous community of the area has been struggling for an independent government for years.
  • Usage of the traditional Basque language also called Euskera is also promoted by the Basque government in order to uphold the traditions of the region.
Some of the famous dishes found in the region include toro, pintxos and txangurro!

Basque Country's Culture

The Basque Country is thought to have been inhabited by humans since the Paleolithic era, and there are many prehistoric sites in the region that attest to this. The Basques were one of the first cultures in Europe to develop a writing system, and their language is one of the few that is not Indo-European. This unique culture has persisted for thousands of years, and the Basques are known for their strong sense of identity.

  • The Basque Country has a very rich and authentic culture.
  • The area draws inspiration from ancient folklore and is known to have influences from their ancestors.
  • The community has some of the most unique festivals in the world.
  • People speaking different dialects unite during these festivals, and processions are organized on the streets.
  • Basque cuisine is also quite popular and unique.
  • The cuisine is heavily influenced by the abundance of seafood in the area.
  • Most Basque cuisine uses seafood due to its proximity to the sea.
  • Basque culture consists of many festivals such as the 'Big Week' or Semana Grande.
  • This festival consists of many processions, folk music of the ancestors, and traditional attires.
  • This festival is celebrated during the month of August every single year.
  • The San Fermis festival is considered to be the most important one in the area.
  • The name of this festival can be roughly translated to 'The Running of the Bulls.'
  • San Fermis is celebrated in July every year!
  • Basque culture is known to have only goddesses and no male gods.
  • The Basques often only celebrated the goddesses of the elements.
  • The most prominent of these is Mari, or the goddess of the Earth.

Basque Country's Political Situation

The Basque Country has dense history when it comes to its governing system.

  • The Basque conflict or Spanish-ETA is one of the most important events in the history of the Basque Country.
  • This conflict was between the separatist group named ETA and the Spanish governance system.
  • The conflict ended in 2011, with a victory announced by Spain.
  • The conflict eventually also came to concern the French, as they fought unitedly against ETA!

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Written by Shirin Biswas

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Shirin Biswas picture

Shirin BiswasBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.

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