WHO THE HELL ARE THESE BASQUES

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					  WHO THE HELL ARE THESE BASQUES                                  Navarre was divided and absorbed into Spain and France
                                                                  along the current border (more or less).

Although the Basques were probably inhabiting the area they       In Spain, the Basques, especially those of the Vascongadas,
now do since the stone age, our oldest historical records come    retained special "fueros", privileges of self-governance and
from the time of the Romans. The Romans established the city      local assemblies for that purpose. The Basques were not
of Pamplona as a regional centre. The Basques seem to have        individually subjects of the crown, but rather as a group
come down from the hills to trade with the Romans, but the        subject to the crown (as long as they resided in the
Romans seem never to have extended actual control of the          Vascongadas). In the 1800's a series of civil wars were fought
Basques living in the hills. The Basques living on the plain      in Spain (the "Carlist Wars") between factions who either
around Pamplona probably adapted to the Roman presence,           sought to retain the medieval legal structure of Spain, or to
but we don't know to what extent.                                 reform it using the principles of the French Revolution. Rural
                                                                  Basques sided with the more conservative faction in order to
Toward the end of the tumultuous period that followed the         preserve the fueros. They lost. Many Basques fled Spain after
collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the Kingdom of              these conflicts. The loss of the fueros became more critical
Navarre (Nafarroa in Basque), centred in Pamplona, came into      under Franco because he sought to take the integration of the
being. Originally this kingdom covered all of modern Navarre,     different liguistic minorities in Spain one step further. He
plus the three Vascongadas (Gipuzkoa, Bizkaia, Araba), the        wanted total Castillianization. Catalan, Galician, and Basque
modern French Basque country, and into neighbouring areas         were to be eradicated. After the death of Franco, King Juan
in modern Spain. Navarre was not conquered by the moors.          Carlos and the Spanish Parliament established a system of
Navarre was probably not a "Kingdom of the Basques", but it       autonomous regions that restored the fueros in spirit, if not in
was a kingdom whose dominant ethnic group were the                every detail.
Basques.
                                                                               QUOTES ABOUT THE BASQUES
Through the high and late middle ages Navarre gradually lost
bits of its territory through various dynastic marriages and      "The Basques are courteous and agreeable and have a
inheritances, as well as through a move from the estates of the   trustworthy bearing. Their houses and their clothes are clean
three Vascongadas to place themselves in allegiance to the        and their customs make their land a pleasant place.
crown of Castille. By 1500 the Basques lived in three
kingdoms: Navarre, Spain, and France. By the mid-1500's
Despite living on the borders of both France and Spain, the    English novelist and essayist (1894-1963)
Basques have their own character and outlook, different from
the French and the Spanish. The language is different in
words, formation and intonation, with place names that sound   "If the Basques have preserved their language and their own
very strange, almost all of them deriving from their ancient   distinctive stock, the explanation is not to be found in the
roots.                                                         geographical features of their land, but in their character.

The Basques are as lively and affable as one could imagine,    Anyone who approaches the Basques without prejudices will
and they will often dance and play music even after the        find them of great interest, not as an exception among the
hardest day's work. Travellers cannot fail to note the         other races in the world, but as a living museum of man's
difference between the cheerful serenity of the Basques and    history, where one can understand and see what remains of an
the seriousness of the Castilians, their neighbours."          ancient Europe, now disappeared from other regions, but
                                                               which is still alive in this peaceful corner of the Pyrenees."
Freidrich Heinrich Alexander HUMBOLDT
Baron Humboldt                                                 Rodney GALLOP
German geographer and diplomat (1769-1859)                     English writer
From:DIARY OF A JOURNEY THROUGH SPAIN                          From: THE BASQUES

"The Basques are a 'cosmic' race that can be found in every    "An ivory tower should be built to protect the Basque people
continent and on every sea, giving an example of diligence,    and their language, to ensure that this jewel does not
integrity and modesty."                                        disappear."

José VASCONCELOS                                               Niko MARR Georgian writer and philosopher(1865-1934)
Mexican writer and philosopher (1881-1959)                     Rector of the University of Tbilisi, Minister of Culture in the
                                                               Czar's Govemment

"The Basque language is the despair of scholars and the most
mysterious of all known languages."                            "The preservation of euskara, the Basque language, is one of
                                                               the most extraordinary phenomena in the history of philology.
Aldous HUXLEY                                                  It is the only case of an archaic language surviving, of a
language resisting the invasions of other languages for
centuries and retaining its own personality."                        "The Basques are perhaps the last survivors of a prehistoric
                                                                     population of Europe, pushed to the place they now occupy,
Antonio TOBAR Rector of the University of Salamanca                  close to the Pyrenees, by the IndoEuropean peoples."

"Euskara is the only surviving European language that                Professor VALLOIS
predates the arrival of the IndoEuropean languages. Its
preservation is providential. It is the best contribution that the   "The Basques are the pure descendants of the people that
Basques could make to the study of European, not to say              occupied Europe in the Palaeolithic and which, in the rest of
world civilization."                                                 the continent, crossbred with the arrivals from Asia."

Nils Collet VOGT                                                     Doctors EYGUEM and SAINTPAUL
Norwegian poet (1864-1923)                                           Pasteur Institute
Professor at the University of Oslo
                                                                     "What is, then, this ancient people whose traditions celebrate
"The Basques always preserved their independence, their              unflagging valour and which, even in our times, has given so
autonomy, as we now say, making use of a Greek word. A               often proof of its heroism? Where do they come from? What is
long time before the Swiss had formed their confederation,           their relation to the other inhabitants of Europe and the rest of
Iruracbat; long before the English had won for themselves            the world? These are impossible questions to answer.
their Magna Carta; long before the North Americans and the
French had proclaimed their declarations of the rights of man        The Basques are the mysterious race par excellence. They are
and the citizen; they had organised a representative                 alone among the multitude of the rest of mankind. They have
government, and their representatives met beneath the tree of        no known family."
Guernica. Thus they had government for the people, by the
people, they had self government."                                   Elisée RECLUS
                                                                     French writer and geographer (183O- 19O5)
Alejo PEYRET
French writer                                                        "The four Basque and Navarre provinces are the oldest, most
From a conference published in the 'EL SIGLO' newspaper,             historic, most independent-minded, with the most traditional
November 13, 1879                                                    freedom ... they are the freest provinces, and the happiest."
Emilio Castelar
Spanish writerandpolitician (1832-1899)
(From the daily Spanish parliamentary record, August 23,
1873;p. 1,818)

"Everyone who has visited the Basque country longs to return;
it is a blessed land."

Victor Hugo
French poet and novelist (18O2- 1885) "

				
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