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EUSKALDUNAK - The Basques

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Bianca
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« on: February 25, 2009, 09:19:39 am »










                                                EUSKALDUNAK - THE BASQUES






The Basques (Basque: Euskaldunak) are a people who inhabit a region spanning over parts of north-central Spain and southwestern France.

The name Basque derives from the ancient tribe of the Vascones, described by Ancient Greek historian Strabo as living south of the western Pyrenees and north of the Ebro River, in modern day Navarre and northern Aragon. This tribal name, of unknown etymology, was extended in late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages to cover all Basque-speaking people on either side of the Pyrenees.

Basques are now mainly found in an area traditionally known as Euskal Herria, which is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay.



The Basques are known in local languages as:

Euskaldunak ("Basque speakers", also used loosely to describe all ethnic Basques) or euskotarrak ("Natives of the Basque Country", an often mentioned but rarely used neologism) in Basque


Vascos in Spanish

Basques in French

Bascos in Gascon

Baschi in Italian



This article discusses the Basques as an ethnic group in contrast to other ethnic groups living in the Basque area. The history of the Basque region as covered here will focus on how that history bears on the Basques as a people.
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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2009, 09:22:34 am »




1st row: Arista - Sancho III - Elcano - Loyola - Urdaneta - Oñate - Bolívar

2nd row:Zumalakarregi - Gardoqui- Garat - Iraola - Arana - Errázuriz - Aguirre

3rd row:Garrastazu - Ravel - Perón - Laxalt - Basterretxea - Guevara -Mariano

4th row:Domingo - Garamendi - Ibarretxe - Eyharts - Chao - Zorreguieta - Arteta
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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2009, 09:26:29 am »









Genetics



Since the Basques speak a non-Indo-European language and have the highest proportion of the Rh negative blood type of all the peoples of the world, they were widely considered to be a genetically isolated population, preserving the genes of European Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers, until recent
genetic studies found that modern Basques have a common ancestry with other Western Europeans.  The similarity includes the predominance in their male populations of Y-chromosome (Haplogroup R1b), now considered to have been spread through Europe by new arrivals in the Neolithic period or later.

mtDNA (Haplogroup V) was initially thought to have spread through Europe after the last Ice Age from
a refuge in what is now the Basque Country.  However studies have found no V in ancient remains from three prehistoric sites in the Basque Country dating to 4000-5000 years ago.

In addition, haplogroup K (mtDNA), found at frequencies of 16%-23% in the prehistoric sites, is nearly absent from modern Basques, while haplogroup J (mtDNA) (thought to have arrived in Europe with Neolithic farmers), found in two prehistoric sites at a frequency of 16% and the early medieval necropolis at Aldaieta at 14.7%, has suffered a major reduction to 2.4% in modern Basques
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2009, 09:27:43 am »



BARSCUNES COIN - Roman Period







Etymology of the word Basque



The English word Basque comes from French Basque (pronounced /bask/), which itself comes from Gascon Basco (pronounced /ˈbasku/) and Spanish Vasco (pronounced /ˈbasko/). These, in turn, come from Latin Vasco (pronounced /wasko/), plural Vascones (see History section below). The Latin labial-velar approximant /w/ generally evolved into the bilabials /b/ and /β̞/ in Gascon and Spanish, probably under the influence of Basque and Aquitanian, a language related to old Basque and spoken in Gascony in Antiquity (similarly the Latin /w/ evolved into /v/ in French, Italian and other languages).

This explains the Roman pun at the expense of the Aquitanians (ancestors of the Gascons): Beati Hispani quibus vivere bibere est, which translates as


                                "Blessed (are the) Spaniards, for whom living is drinking."


The Romans considered the Aquitanians akin to the Spaniards.

 
Several coins from the 1st and 2nd centuries BC found in the north of Spain bear the inscription Barscunes written in the Iberian alphabet. The place where they were minted is not certain but is thought to be somewhere near Pamplona in the heartland of the area that historians believe was inhabited by the Vascones.

Some scholars have suggested a Celtic etymology based on bhar-s-, meaning "summit", "point" or "leaves", according to which barscunes may have meant "the mountain people", "the tall ones" or
"the proud ones", while others have posited a relationship to a pre-Indo-European root *bar- meaning "border", "frontier", "march".

Others suggest that Latin Vasco comes from a Basque and Aquitanian root used by these people to refer to themselves, eusk-, pronounced /ewsk/, which is rather similar to Latin /wasko/.

The name of an Aquitanian people which the Romans recorded as Ausci (pronounced /awski/ in Latin) appears to represent from the same root. The basque word for hand/grasp is similar to the root "eusk"
in Basque as well, with the sense that other ethnic groups have also for self referral as "those who
grasp (thought, word), those who understand (us)".

In modern Basque, Basques call themselves Euskaldunak, singular Euskaldun, formed from Euskal- (i.e. "Basque (language)") and -dun (i.e. "one who has"); Euskaldun literally means a Basque speaker.

Not all Basques are Basque-speakers, and not all Basque speakers are Basques; foreigners who have learned Basque can also be called Euskaldunak.

Therefore the neologism Euskotar, plural Euskotarrak, was coined in the nineteenth century to mean
an ethnically Basque person whether Basque-speaking or not. These Basque words are all derived
from Euskara, the Basque name for the Basque language.

Alfonso Irigoyen claimed that the word Euskara comes from an ancient Basque verb enautsi "to say"
(cf. modern Basque esan) and the suffix -(k)ara ("way (of doing something)").

Thus Euskara would literally mean "way of saying", "way of speaking". One item of evidence in favour
of this hypothesis is found in the Spanish book Compendio Historial, written in 1571 by the Basque
writer Esteban de Garibay, who records the name of the Basque language as "Enusquera".

It may be, however, a writing mistake.



This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.


In the nineteenth century, the Basque nationalist activist Sabino Arana posited an original root Euzko which, he thought, came from Eguzkiko "of the sun" on the assumption of an original solar religion).

On the basis of this putative root, Arana proposed the name Euzkadi for an independent Basque nation, composed by seven Basque historical territories. Arana's etymology is discredited today, but his neologism Euzkadi, in the regularized spelling Euskadi, is still widely used in both Basque and Spanish, since it is now the official name of the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country.

In fact the root Eusk- might come from the name of the Aquitanian tribe Ausci that gave its name to
the French city of Auch that was called before Elimberrum 'New Town' (from Basco-Aquitanian ili-berri).
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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2009, 09:37:57 am »



Location of the ancient tribes


·Red: Basque and other pre-Indoeuropean tribes

·Blue:Celtic tribes









In the 1st century AD, Strabo wrote that the northern parts of what are now Navarre (Nafarroa in Basque) and Aragon were inhabited by the Vascones.

Despite the evident etymological connection between Vascones and the modern denomination Basque, there is no proof that the Vascones were the modern Basques' ancestors or spoke the language that has evolved into modern Basque, although this is strongly suggested both by the historically consistent toponymy of the area and by a few personal names on tombstones dating from the Roman period.



Three different peoples inhabited the territory of the present Basque Autonomous Community:

the Varduli,

Caristii and

Autrigones.



Historical sources do not state whether these tribes were related to the Vascones and/or the Aquitani.

Fake archaeological finds at Iruña-Veleia (Álava) were presented by academics and media as proof of the existence of early Basque texts, coexisting with latin.

The area where a Basque-related language is best attested from an early period is Gascony in France, to the north of the present-day Basque region, whose ancient inhabitants, the Aquitani, may have spoken a language related to Basque.

(The extinct Aquitanian language should not be confused with Gascon, the Romance language that has been spoken in Aquitaine since the Middle Ages.)

During the Middle Ages the name Vascones and its derivates (including Basque) were extended to cover the entire Basque-speaking population of the present-day Basque Country.
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2009, 09:49:33 am »









Prehistory: the mainstream view



Although little is known about the prehistory of the Basques before the period of Roman occupation owing to the difficulty in identifying evidence for specific cultural traits, the mainstream view today
is that the Basque area shows signs of archaeological continuity since the Aurignacian period.

Many Basque archaeological sites, including cave dwellings such as Santimamiñe, provide evidence for continuity from Aurignacian times down to the Iron Age, shortly before Roman occupation. The possibility therefore cannot be ruled out of at least some of the same people having continued to inhabit the area for thirty millennia.

A high concentration of Rh- (a typical European trait) among Basques, who have the highest level worldwide, had already been taken as suggestive of the antiquity and lack of admixture of the Basque genetic stock before the advent of modern genetics, which has confirmed this view.

In the 1990s Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza published his findings according to which one of the main European autosomal components, PC 5, was shown to be a typically Basque trait believed to have receded owing to the migration of Eastern peoples during the Neolithic and Metal Ages.

Further genetic studies on Y chromosome DNA haplogroups and X chromosome microsatellites also
seem to point to Basques being the most direct descendants from prehistoric Western Europeans.
Having the highest percent of "Western European genes" but found also at high levels among neighbor populations, as they are also direct descendants of the same People.

However, Mitochondrial DNA have cast serious doubts over this theory

Some scholars have interpreted the etymologies of Basque words for knife and axe, which contain a
root meaning 'stone', as evidence that the Basque language dates back to the stone age.






Alternative theories



The following alternative theories about the prehistoric origins of the Basques have all had adherents
at some time but are rejected by many scholars and do not represent the consensus view:



Basques as Neolithic settlers:

According to this theory, a precursor of the Basque language might have arrived about 6,000 years
ago with the advance of agriculture. The only archaeological evidence that could partly support this hypothesis would be that for the Ebro valley area. Genetics also lends little support.



Basques arrived together with the Indo-Europeans:

Linked to an unproven linguistic hypothesis that includes Basque and some Caucasian languages in a single super-family.

Even if such a Basque-Caucasian connection did exist, it would have to be at too great a time depth
to be relevant to Indo-European migrations.

Apart from a Celtic presence in the Ebro valley during the Urnfield culture, archaeology offers little support for this hypothesis.

The Basque language shows few certain Celtic or other Indo-European loans, other than those transmitted via Latin or Romance in historic times.



Basques as an Iberian subgroup:

Based on occasional use by early Basques of the Iberian alphabet and Julius Caesar's description
of the Aquitanians as Iberians.

Apparent similarities between the undeciphered Iberian language and Basque have also been cited,
but this fails to account for the fact that attempts so far to decipher Iberian using Basque as a reference have failed.
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2009, 09:52:17 am »



Map of the Franco-Cantabrian region, showing the main caves with mural art.









                                                           P R E H I S T O R Y






This article deals with the prehistory of the modern Basque Country.



For a wider but less specific view see:


Franco-Cantabrian region,

Prehistoric Europe,

Prehistoric Iberia and

Prehistoric France.



The Prehistory of the Basque Country spans from the first hominin settlements,
not older than c. 150,000 BP, until at least the conquest by the Roman Empire
c. 50 BC.
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2009, 09:57:54 am »



Main Early Upper Paleolithic sites
in the Basque Country










Lower Paleolithic



This period, basically work of Homo erectus, left very few remains in the Basque Country.

The first settlers may have arrived in the Riss-Würm interglacial period, between 150,000 and 75,000 BP, carrying with them the Acheulean technology. These people settle mainly in the lowlands, near the rivers Ebro and Adour, in the regions of Araba, Navarre, Labourd and Lower Navarre.






Middle Paleolithic



This period is defined by the Mousterian technology and, in Europe, it is work of Homo neanderthalensis.

These Neanderthals settled the Basque Country somewhat more widely than their predecessors, colonizing as well the high coastalands of Biscay and Gipuzkoa.

Neanderthal remains have been found in Lezetxiki and Axlor caves.






Upper Paleolithic



The hominin that became dominant in this period was Homo sapiens.

It includes a sequence of archeological cultures that are basically the same for all the Franco-Cantabrian region.

In this period the interior (Mediterranean basin) was seldom if ever inhabited, due to the limitations imposed by the cold climate.
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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2009, 10:02:01 am »









                                                                UPPER PALEOLITHIC






The hominin that became dominant in this period was Homo sapiens.

It includes a sequence of archeological cultures that are basically the same for all the Franco-Cantabrian region.

In this period the interior (Mediterranean basin) was seldom if ever inhabited, due to the limitations imposed by the cold climate.






Chatelperronian
 


Main Early Upper Paleolithic sites in the Basque CountryThis culture (called Lower Perigordian by some authors) is apparently still work of Neanderthal people, in view of remains found in France, and spans between 33,000 and 29,000 BC. In the Basque Country it is found in caves like Santimamiñe (Biscay), Labeko Koba, Ekain (Gipuzkoa), Isturitz (Lower Navarre) and Gatzarria (Soule), as well as the open-air site of Le Basté (Labourd).






Aurignacian



The so called proto-Aurignacian, have been found in Gatzarria and Labeko Koba.

The Aurignacian II is found only in a few sites in Labourd: Le Basté and Bidart.

The Evolved Aurignacian is found mainly in Biscay and Gipuzkoa, in the sites of Lezetxiki, Aiztbitaterte IV, Koskobilo, Benta Laperra, Kurtzia and Lumentxa.






Gravettian



Also known as Perigordian, according to the classical French sequence, that controversially assimilates Chatelperronian and Gravettian in one single cultural complex, this culture is found only in its late developments in the Basque Country.

Most of the findings belong to the upper and final Perigordian (V and VI): Santimamiñe, Atxurra, Bolinkoba, Amalda, Aitzbitarte III, Lezia, Isturitz and Gatzarria. The final phase of Perigordian VII is only found in Amalda (Gipuzkoa).






Solutrean
 


Main Middle Upper Paleolithic sites in the Basque CountryThis culture spans between c. 18,000 and 15,000 BC and only exists in the European south west, being coincident with the Last glacial maximum, a specially dry and cold period.

The Basque Solutrean facies is intermediate between the Cantabrian and Pyrenean ones and is found specially in Aitzbitarte IV, Bolinkoba, Santimamiñe, Koskobilo, Isturitz, Hareguy, Ermittia and Amalda.






Magdalenian



This culture spans between c. 15,000 and 8,500 BC and is widespread in Western and, in a later moment, Central Europe, what is considered by many as meaning a recolonization of the cold areas of Central Europe from the comparatively warmer Franco-Cantabrian region, where it originated.

Magdelenian culture and its characteristic fine art is widespread in the Basque Country. Some of the most representative sites are Santimamiñe, Lumentxa, Aitzbitarte IV, urtiaga, Ermittia, Erralla, Ekain and Berroberria.
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« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2009, 10:06:06 am »



Map of the Franco-Cantabrian Region,
showing the main sites of cave art
(red dots)









                                                    P A L E O L I T H I C   A R T
 





The oldest expression of mural art in the Basque country could be in Benta Laperra (Biscay) showing animals like bear and bison, as well as abstract signs.



Nevertheless most of the artistic expressions belong to he Magdalenian period.

The most important sites are:



Arenaza (Biscay): deer.

Santimamiñe (Biscay): bison, horse, goat and deer.

Ekain (Gipuzkoa) is one of the most outstanding, with 33 horses dominating the gallery. Also has bisons, deers, goats, fish, bears and some abstract signs.

Altxerri (Gipuzkoa): bison, auroch, goat, ibex, reindeer, deer, horse, carnivores, birds, fish and a serpent-like drawing.

Isturitz (Low Navarre): dominated again by the horse, also includes bison, deer, goat, reindeer, a feline and negative hand impressions.

Additionally 13 sites have yielded portable art, being most notable that of Isturitz.
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« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2009, 10:10:24 am »



Main Magdalenian and Azilian sites
In the Basque Country









                                                         E P I P A L E O L I T H I C
 





As the Last Ice Age came to an end, Magdalenian culture experienced a regionalization all around Europe, producing new localized cultural complexes.

In the case of the Basque Country and the Franco-Cantabrian region as a whole, this product was Azilian, that in alter period would incorporate the geometric microliths associated with Tardenoisian and related cultures.

As the climate improved gradually, population increased and colonized areas that before were out of reach. The regions of Araba and most of Navarre were hence colonized in this period.





The period shows two phases, related to climatic conditions:



The first one, of cold climate is largely a continuation of Magdalenian, with same sites and same hunt (deer mostly, but also bison, horse, goat, etc.).

The second period, of warmer climate is that of he colonization of the South and the vanishing of reindeer. While deers were still the main capture, wild boar became more and more important. It also very noticeable the relevance acquired by seafood, with a most noticeable case in Santimamiñe, where more than 18,000 shells have been found, fish and even terrestrial snails.


As in other post-Magdalenian areas, the disappearance of realistic cave art is quite noticeable. Instead the typical Azilian decorated pebbles have been found, as well as some geometrically decorated bones and plates. Additionally personal ornaments, made up of teeth or shells, are common as well.
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« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2009, 10:14:39 am »



Main Neolithic Sites In The Basque Country









                                                           N E O L I T H I C





 
The Neolithic is characterized by agriculture and animal husbandry. In the Basque Country it was a late arrival, remaining its inhabitants in a subneolithic situation almost until the beginning of metallurgy in most
of the territory.

The earliest evidence of contact with Neolithic peoples is in Zatoia, northern Navarre, with pottery remains dated to c. 6000 BP. The first evidence of domestication appears in Marizulo (Gipuzkoa) c. 5300 BP. These innovations gradually expanded, though hunter-gathering activities remained being important.

Overall the vast majority of important Neolithic sites are placed in the southern part of the country (Ebro valley): Fuente Hoz, Peña Larga, Berniollo and La Renke in Araba; Zatoia, Abauntz, Peña, Padre Areso and Urbasa 11 in Navarre; Herriko Barra in Gipuzkoa.

In the early phases there is no evidence of domestication whatsoever exception made of the dog. Only in the advanced Neolithic remains of ovicaprids (sheep or goat) are found in sites like Fuente Hoz (Araba) and Abauntz (Navarre). In the late phase, oxen and pig are found as well. Seafood gathering remained being an important source of food in the coast.

Lithic industry shows total continuity with the Epipaleolithic (geometric microliths) but some new elements, like sickles and hand mills, begin to appear as well. Stone polishing makes in this period its first appearance, becoming more frequent at later dates.

Pottery was initially very scarce, yet it became more common and variegated at the end of Neolithic
(c. 3000 BC).

Burial customs became more defined in this period, using specific burial spots like dolmens, mounds or caves. A remarkable case is the massive burial site under rock of San Juan Ante Porta Latinam (Araba) that included 8,000 bone remains, belonging to at least 100 individuals.

The human type is sometimes defined as Western Pyrenean, yet in the Ebro valley it appears mixed with Gracil Mediterranean types. There are virtually no brachicephallic remains found in the Basque Country yet, in spite of being more common in other areas of Europe since this period.
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« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2009, 10:19:34 am »










                                                       C H A L C O L I T H I C






The Chalcolithic (Copper and Stone) period, also known as Eneolithic or Copper Age, lasts in the Basque Country from c. 2500 to c. 1700 BC.

Basques then inhabited in caves and open air sites, being these more common in the South. There was an evident deographic increase in this period, starting already at the end of Neolithic. While hunting was still of some importance, specially in mountain areas, food production became finally dominant.

Lithic industry persists but some tools were already made of copper (axes, knives, etc.). Gold is also used for ornaments.

An important phenomenon in the late Chalcolithic is the Bell Beaker phenomenon of pan-European extension. Also through all the period Megalithism, specially in the form of burials in dolmens, was widespread.
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« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2009, 10:20:26 am »



Extension of Megalithism in Europe and Nearby Areas









                                                         M E G A L I T H I S M
 





The Basque Country has multitude of these monuments, described as dolmens or mounds, sometimes confusingly. They are in any case burials of collective nature, placed in spots of great visibility, often
on top of mountain ridges. The materials used are always of local origin.

Dolmens are the most typical, being formed by a chamber delimited by flat stones, often quite large, covered by another stone as roof. The monument was then covered by stones and earth, making up
a mound.

The chambers are of two types: simple or with corridor. The first are more common, while the latter are limited to the Ebro valley area. Dolmens are also classified by their size, normally the largest ones being
in lowland areas and the smaller ones in mountain zones. This was probably a function of the number of people available to build the monument.

 
The burial classified as mounds lack of chamber but were otherwise used like dolmens for collective burials. There are around 800 dolmens known in The Basque Country and c. 500 mounds, though some of these could be dolmens as well, in wait of excavation.

Only a few Basque dolmens have clear stratigraphies, due to the usage of removing older remains to make room for new burials. In spite of this difficulty, it's known that megalithic burial customs arrived to the Basque Country in the late Neolithic being very frequently used in the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, and, in the case of some mounds, as late as the Iron Age.

Other megalithic structures, such as standing stones (menhirs) and stone circles (cromlechs) seem to belong to later periods, specifically the Iron Age.
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« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2009, 10:27:02 am »



Basque dolmen
of Elvillar, Araba
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