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Basque Country

Euskal Herria, also known as the Basque Country (“País Vasco” in Spanish), or Vasconia, is the land of the Basques from a historical, cultural, linguistic and identity standpoint. It could also be translated as the Basque People, the group of people who have inhabited this land for several thousand years. Nevertheless, it is divided into three diff erent legal and political entities:

• The Autonomous Community of Euskadi (Autonomous Community of the Basque Country or Basque Autonomous Community (initials: BAC) comprises the territories or provinces of Alava-Araba, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa. The capital cities are Vitoria-Gasteiz (AlavaAraba), Bilbao (Bizkaia), and Donostia-San Sebastián (Gipuzkoa).

• The Autonomous Community of Navarre (“Comunidad Foral de Navarra” or “Navarra” in Spanish; “Nafarroa” in Basque), with its capital city, Pamplona-Iruña.

• Iparralde (literally, the “northern part” in Basque), also known as the French Basque Country, or continental Euskal Herria, includes the territories of Lapurdi (Labourd in French), Zuberoa (Soule) and Behenafarroa (also referred to as Lower Navarre, or Basse-Navarre in French). The capital cities are Baiona (Bayonne), Maule and Donibane Garazi (Saint Jean Pied de Port), respectively.

Two of these administrative regions (the Autonomous Community of Euskadi and the Autonomous Community of Navarre) are in Hegoalde (literally, the southern part in Euskara) or peninsular Euskal Herria. They are part of the Spanish State or Spain, while Iparralde belongs to the French Republic or France.

Euskal Herria is therefore the combination of these three administrative regions, or of the seven territories (six if we combine the two Navarres – Navarre and Lower Navarre). Although today the term Euskal Herria defi nes a historical and cultural entity rather than a unifi ed political or administrative region, it does share a signifi cant amount of common heritage, culture, language, history and identity.

In order to simplify the cumbersome administrative language, the terms “Euskadi” and “Navarre” will be used to refer to the Autonomous Community of Euskadi and the Autonomous Community of Navarre