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EUSKADI: EUSKAL HERRIA - Basque Country

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Bianca
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« on: November 28, 2008, 10:31:26 am »










                                                  E U S K A D I :    E U S K A L   H E R R I A


                                                                 (BASQUE COUNTRY)







Flag courtesy of www.theodora.com/flags  used with permission.

 






Image courtesy of www.euskadi.net









                                                              G E N E R A L   F A C T S






          The Basque Homeland covers a surface area of 20,664 square kilometres at the western end of the Pyrenees on the Bay of Biscay. Today it consists of seven herrialdes or districts which, for political and administrative purposes, are part of two different European countries: Araba, Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa and Nafarroa are in Spain, and Lapurdi, Zuberoa and Benafarroa are in France. Three of the Basque Homeland’s seven historic territories, Álava, Vizcaya and Guipúzcoa, in the north of Spain, covering a total surface area of 7,234 square kilometres, are grouped together to form a political unit known as EUSKADI ,or the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country. The most outstanding element of the Basque culture is the survival of an ancient language, EUSKERA, throughout the centuries. The origin of euskera is unknown, since it seems to be unrelated to any other language in Europe, and it is believed to be the oldest language in this continent.

          Set in one of the world’s more temperate zones, the Basque Country has a wonderfully mild climate with few extremes of temperature or weather conditions when the seasons change. The climate,  the influence of the sea, and an attractive mixture of villages, mountains, hills and abundant greenery, all make the Basque Country a place of natural surprises.

         A profound respect for traditional values is an essential feature of life in the Basque Country. The Basques have maintained strong links with their immediate environment, the sea and the soil. The two elements have played an important role in shaping the Basque way of life, their distinctive culture and their sports and games.

         The Basque Country has had its own Government and autonomous Parliament since the arrival of democracy in Spain in the late nineteen seventies. Therefore, the Basques virtually govern themselves in sectors like education, health, culture and housing.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 10:36:55 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2008, 10:45:59 am »





             









STATISTICS



Area: 7,234 square kilometres

Population: 2,098,055 (5.4% of total Spanish population)

Population density: 287 inhabitants per square kilometre

Official languages: Basque and Spanish

Capital cities:



Bilbao,

Vitoria-Gasteiz,

Donostia-San Sebastián
« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 10:49:07 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2008, 11:01:04 am »

             








Blood-typing and other genetic studies show the Basques to be a people distinct from any other in Europe, rooted in the region of the Pyrenees and Cantabrian Mountains before Indo-European tribes arrived. As a saying goes,



"Before God was God and

boulders were boulders,

Basques were already Basques."



The Basque Country or Euskal Herria (land of the basque language), as the three million Basques call their nation straddles the French-Spanish border along the western Pyrenees. Through the centuries, waves of Romans, Visigoths, Arabs, French and Spanish overran their country. But the Basques endured, often taking their traditions to the hills and forests for safekeeping. The same Pyrenees that separate Spain from the rest of Europe united the Basques.

In 1980 the three Spanish provinces of Bizkaia, Araba and Gipuzkoa were officially joined as the Basque Autonomous Community.

But the Basque Country spills beyond the official borders. Basques call their nation Euskal Herria, or "land of the Basque language". And it is their ancient mother tongue that truly unites them. It was spoken here 5.000 years ago, before the Indo-Europeans arrived and spread out across the continent. And it is spoken today in cities and among the shepherds in the hills.



                                         National Geographic, Nov. 1995



The provinces of Lapurdi, Behe-Nafarroa and Zuberoa north of the Spanish border and under the political scope of France make up the Northern Basque Country while the provinces of Gipuzkoa, Bizkaia, Araba and Nafarroa are further divided with the first three provinces conforming the Basque Autonomous Community and the latter being itself an autonomous community on its own.



http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/~ja/bc.html?http://www.ee.ed.ac.uk/~ja/bc.html
« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 11:05:12 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2008, 11:10:14 am »

« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 11:18:17 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2008, 11:12:25 am »

« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 11:20:18 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2008, 11:21:42 am »



SAN SEBASTIAN
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Bianca
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« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2008, 11:27:13 am »



     








A profound respect for traditional values is an essential feature of life in the Basque Country.
 
amplify image

A profound respect for traditional values is an essential feature of life in the Basque Country.

The Basques have maintained strong links with their immediate environment, the sea and the soil. The two elements have played an important role in shaping the Basque way of life, their distinctive culture and their sports and games.

Some of their traditional sports have travelled beyond the borders of the Basque Country and become major sporting events in their own right in Europe, Asia, the United States and South America. One sport in particular, Pelota, (played either with wicker basket, a heavy wooden bat or with the hand) keeps fans happy in the frontones or Jai-Alai (as pelota courts are sometimes known) the world over.Other sports and games have remained firmly within the boundaries of the Basque Country. These include stone-lifting, stone-dragging (with oxen), log-cutting and fixed-seat longboat regattas.

Together with this kind of tradition-as-sport, the Basques have long been addicted to listening to and making music. Like the Welshman, the Basque is famed for his enjoyment of unaccompanied song, usually in massed choirs. Dance, too, is still very much a central part of Basque life. Basque dance is inspired by a sense of ritual that evokes daily tasks, religion, courtesy or love; this sense of ritual still goes a long way to defining the Basque character.



http://www.eitb24.com/new/en/B24_113514/fiestas_traditions/Basque-Country-keeping-up-the-tradition/
« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 11:29:42 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2008, 11:31:00 am »





               
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Bianca
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« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2008, 11:35:28 am »


             

              Seal of the Basque town of Biarritz, 1351,
              with whaling scene and two-flued harpoon.

              (http://www.whalecraft.net/History.html)











                                                          BASQUE WHALING TRADITION






This is a bit from “The Basque History of the World” by Mark Kurlansky, an excellent if somewhat nationalistic
portrait of that remarkable corner of the Iberian Peninsula. There’s a big section on whaling, from which I leave
you all:

Â


An important feature of the Basque whale was that, like the sperm whale, but unlike many whale species, it floated when dead. The whale’s back shone obsidian black in the water, though the belly was a brilliant white. Averaging about fifty to sixty feet in length, a quarter of which was the huge head, a single animal could weigh more than sixty tons. Such a whale would yield thirty tons of blubber, which could be cooked down to an oil valued for centuries as fuel. Most coastal Basque communities established facilities along their beaches for cooking down whale blubber.

As with most things Basque, it is not certain when this oil trade began, but in 670, at the end of the age of the Visigoths, there was a documented sale in northern France by Basques from Labourd of forty pots of whale oil……


……The first commercial whale hunters were the seventh- and eighth-century Basques, who found an eager market for this meat in Europe. Whale meat became a staple of the European diet partly because the Catholic Church forbade the eating of “redblooded” meat on holy days-about half the days on the calendar including every Friday-arguing that it was “hot,” associated with sex, which was also forbidden on holy days. But meat that came from animals-or parts of animals-that were submerged in water, including whale, fish, and the tail of the beaver, was deemed “cold” and therefore permitted. So with the exception of beaver tails and the occasional seal or porpoise, whale was the one allowable red meat.

The Basques became the great providers of this holy red meat. They sold the leaner meat fresh or preserved in salt. Fattier parts were cured like bacon. In Paris, where these cuts were a Lenten specialty, they were known as craspois. Tongues, fresh or salted, were regarded as a particular delicacy and served with peas. Being the choicest part, the only good part, according to some medieval writers, whale tongues were often demanded by local church or government officials as tribute.

The port of Bayonne jealously guarded its monopoly on the tongue trade.



http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/category/basque-country/
« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 11:44:38 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2008, 11:48:16 am »





             

             PUNTA GALEA
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Bianca
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« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2008, 12:02:58 pm »





             

              PUNTA GALEA
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« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2008, 12:08:05 pm »

 

   VITORIA

   TRADTIONAL FIESTA
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Bianca
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« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2008, 12:18:48 pm »

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« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2008, 12:29:33 pm »

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« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2008, 02:58:59 am »

Wow!  Some early Christmas presents!  Smiley

All the best,

Europa
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