Interactive Map of Basque Country, Spain
Basque Country Map Links:
- 1906 Pampelune
- 1915 Bilbao
- 1915 Pampelune
- Alava constituencies for the General Meetings of 1979
- Alava constituencies in 1983
- Basque Mountains Topographic Map 2007
- Bilbao 1836
- Bilbao 1839
- Bilbao 1901
- Donostia 1850
- Durango 1857
- Gasteiz 1843
- Guipúzcoa constituencies for the General Meetings of 1979
- Laguardia 1840
- Location of some wetlands in the Basque Country
- Basque Country in Spain
- 11 waterfalls in Basque Country
- Basque Country
- Bilbao 1857
- Electoral constituencies for general meetings of the Basque Country
- Electoral constituencies for the general meetings of the Basque Country of 1979
- Regional districts of the Basque Country in 1983
- Autonomous Community of the Basque Country 2012
- Basque provinces and Navarre 1876
- Most voted parties in each historical territory in the Basque Autonomous Elections of 1984
- Most voted parties in each historical territory in the Basque Autonomous Elections of 1990
- Most voted parties in each historical territory in the elections to the basque parliament of 2005
- Most voted parties in the 2001 Basque Parliament elections
- Region between San Sebastián and Bilbao 1915
- Most voted parties in each historical territory in the Basque Autonomous Elections of 1980
- Most voted parties in each historical territory in the Basque Autonomous Elections of 1986
- Markina 1857
- Most voted parties in each historical territory in the Basque elections of 1998
- Most voted parties of each historical territory in the Basque Autonomous Elections of 1994
- Most voted party in each historical territory for the 2012 Basque Parliament elections
- Most voted party of each province in the 2009 Basque Parliament elections
- Puerto de la Paz, Bilbao 1807
- The Basque Country in early 18th century (1712)
- Vizcaya constituencies for the General Meetings of 1979
The Basque Country of Spain is located in northern Spain and borders the North Atlantic Ocean to the north and three autonomous regions of Spain to the west, east, and south. The total area that the Basque Country map covers is approximately 8,000 square miles, making it the 4th smallest autonomous region in Spain.
- Donostia (San Sebastian)
- Population: 2.1 million
- Languages: Spanish, Basque, French
- Ethnicities: Basques, Spanish, Vascones, Varduli
- Capital: Vitoria-Gasteiz
The History of the Basque Country
Before the Romans conquered the Basque Country region of the Iberian Peninsula, there were native tribes that inhabited the regions. In the Basque Country, the most prominent native people were the Vascones. The Vascones lived in the Basque Country until the 5th Century when the Romans entered the land.
In 778 AD, the Basques fought in the Battle of Roncevaux Pass to keep Charlemagne’s army from conquering further into the Iberian Peninsula. Because of this, the Basque Country was absorbed into the region of Navarra, which sits on the current southeastern border of the Basque Country.
Beginning in the 10th Century, the Basque Country gained strength, which laid the foundation in its strength for centuries to come. The Basque Country maintained its autonomy and held onto control over many aspects of its region, including the trade market, taxation, and military.
Because of this, the Basque Country developed its own set of Basque laws and had gained strength, autonomy, and notoriety throughout both Spain and France.
The Spanish Inquisition began in 1478. The Basque Country didn’t play a major role in the Spanish Inquisition until the 1600s when the Basque Witch Trials began.
During the Spanish Conquest of the Iberian Peninsula under King Ferdinand of Aragon, Navarre and the surrounding Basque Country were able to use military forces to stop the conquest.
Thinking they had used witchcraft to do so, the Catholic Monarchy in Spain interrogated the Basque Country, which led to the Basque Witch Trials.
The Basque Witch Trials began in 1608 and lasted until 1614. There were phases of the Basque Witch Trials that saw thousands of Basques interrogated, and many burned to death for their convictions. In the end, approximately 7,000 cases of witchcraft had been examined, with 11 being executed for their convictions.
By the 1800s, the Basque Country had strengthened its support of Spain. The Basques supported Don Carlos, the younger brother of King Ferdinand, and opposed his daughter Isabella II as a successor to the throne.
Don Carlos was banished by Ferdinand, and the throne was given to Ferdinand’s daughter, Isabella II, in 1833. Those who opposed Isabella’s reign were known as Carlists because they supported Don Carlos and believed he was the rightful heir to the throne.
Because it supported the Carlist Rebellion, Spain renounced much of the Basque laws that had been previously honored. However, the strength of the Basques allowed them to maintain some of its laws, which allowed it to preserve some of its autonomy.
In 1931 at the beginning of the Second Spanish Republic, the Basques were divided. Those who supported Spain were called Republicans, and those who supported the Catholic Monarchy were called Nationalists. The largest city in the Basque Country, Bilbao, became a major center of both Republicans and Nationalists, leading to a large battle that resulted in major destruction of the city.
General Francisco Franco dictated the area, and the Basque laws and privileges were once again abolished, resulting in a large exile of Basque people from the region. When General Franco died in 1975, the Basque Country demanded autonomy once more.
Between 1978 and 1979, the Basque Country was given some autonomy, but it was not enough. The extremist group ETA, formally known as Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (“Basque Homeland and Liberty”), was an armed organization that fought for complete autonomy.
In doing so, they would terrorize the region, killing civilians along the way. They were officially labeled as a terrorist organization and announced many ceasefires throughout the years.
Today, the Basque Country has limited self-governing control that has been granted by the Spanish Constitution.
Spanish, French, and Basque are all languages that are spoken in the Basque Country. Not only does France border a small part of the Basque Country to the northeast, but there was also much French control and influence throughout history in the region. This led to French being a language that is often heard spoken throughout the region.
Basque is a native language that is still spoken today, despite the numerous attempts by both the French and Spanish government to abolish it. Basque finally became recognized as a language in the 1960s, which helped it become an acceptable language for educational purposes.
The primary religion in the Basque Country is the Roman Catholicism denomination of Christianity. Because the Romans had such a strong influence in the Iberian Peninsula for centuries, religion was one major aspect that remained throughout the tests of time. Muslims and other religious groups invaded other areas of Spain, but the Basque Country was strong in its numbers, keeping the Muslim Moors from conquering the land.
The Basque Country is mostly mountainous because of the many mountain ranges of the Pyrenees, Aralar, Aizkorri, and Gorbeia. The northern border of the Basque Country is met by the North Atlantic Ocean, giving way to approximately 109 miles of coastline.
The Atlantic Watershed is the northern region of the Basque Country. This region is often rainy, humid, and mild. Many rivers run through this area of the region, giving way to fertile soil, safe water consumption, and hydroelectric energy.
The Mediterranean Watershed is the southern region of the Basque Country. This region is hot and dry. Areas in this region can easily be arid and desert-like. The rivers that flow through this region of the Basque Country often dry up and provide little to no water sources for those who live in the region.
Soccer has become an icon of the Basque Country culture. The Basque Country is strong in its roots and will only allow native Basques to become players or coaches in the top Athletic Bilboa soccer league.
There are also many authors, singers, and dancers who have come from the Basque Country and contributed to the history and heritage of the region. Some of these famous singers choose to sing in Euskara, the native Basque language, as a way to pay homage to their land.
Immigration & Migration Patterns
During the California Gold Rush of 1848, many Basques migrated to America and settled in the California territory. Most Basques were not successful in finding gold, so they stayed in California and took up local trades and services to make a living.
Most became livestock farmers, focusing mostly on cattle ranching and sheep herding. This time period is known as the Basque Diaspora and resulted in a major influx of Basques into America.
The Basque Country genealogy extends into the western hemisphere (the United States, South America), where there are still thousands of Basques living today. In California alone, there are between 50,000 and 60,000 Basque descendants reported living there.
In addition to the western world, there are also Basques living in France, Belgium, and the United Kingdom. Most of these Basque descendants settled in these European territories because of the unrest during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.
Those living in California, Idaho, Nevada, and neighboring states may have lineage traced back to the Basque Country because of the immigrants that settled in the area during the 1848 gold rush.
Additionally, Basque descendants can be found in neighboring European countries of France, Belgium, and the United Kingdom because of the migrants that fled the area during the Spanish Civil War.