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The Basques - Research Paper Example

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Over the past thirty or so movements have arise to stop this progressive cultural deterioration and to restore the identity of the Basques—their language and culture—to former glory. This paper will tell about the history, politics and Basque economics…
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The Basques
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Download file to see previous pages With the incursion of the modern industrial age, however, in the form of mines and steel mills, much of the Basque tradition has disappeared along with its unique language, Catalan. Over the past thirty or so movements have arise to stop this progressive cultural deterioration and to restore the identity of the Basques—their language and culture—to former glory. These movements, however, suggest a separatist government apart of the central government of Spain, a demand fought violently by separatists groups that have to an extent damaged the Basque cause. The good position in which the Basques now find themselves can only maintained by denying the separatist movement as a radical tool of the past no longer necessary.
The Basques: Background and History
The homeland of the Basques, known by Basque nationalists as Euzkadi, lays claim to some of the oldest known people in Europe. Their land occupies the area on the French border near the Bay of Biscay and east to the area of San Sebastian. Although over the centuries overrun by scores of invading hordes from the south and east, the Basques remained until the tenth century “a fairly isolated” (Solsten and Meditz par 3) and distinct cultural group. Divided originally into two autonomous regions, the area was eventually absorbed by the powerful kingdom of Navarre. By the 16th century the kingdom became fragmented and war torn, and the Basque region was subsequently absorbed by the powerful lords of Castile--an event which even today raises the ire of true Basques who see themselves as separate in culture and language from the Castilian majority. Earlier Basque provinces were recognized as separate political entities with fueros, or full local privileges by the central government of Castile and all went smoothly. But with the full centralization of the Spanish state and the protracted Carlist wars of the 1800s, the fueros were abolished, leaving the Basques and their culture at the mercy of various kings. Moves to reestablish the Basque region as autonomous from Castile in the 1930s were thwarted by the bloody Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. (Solsten and Meditz par 3) Worse for the Basques, with the victory of the Falangists over the Spanish Republican army, and the rise of Dictator Generalissimo Franco, the Basques became targets of Franco’s frenetic attempts to extinguish their language and culture and force them into the Spanish mainstream. With Franco’s death in the 1970s restrictions on the Basques and their culture were largely lifted, but feelings of absorption by the central Spanish regime remained an issue. For the Basques, their unsettled history from the mid-1900s onward has been one “clash” after the next with the “other Spain.” They resent the influx of heavy industrial activity—mines and steel mills—activity which brought a steady stream of non-Basque migrants to further dilute the language and culture. This steady decline of culture, while accepted by some, has been the root of serious violent disagreement over time between the Spanish government at large in Castile and hard core separatists in the form of the well-publicized terrorist activities of the ETA and its membership. The Basques: Politics Firstly, it is important to note that what constitutes being a Basque does not require residency in Spain or the Basque region. Many Basques, for a variety of reasons include those economic had left Spain over time and settled all over the world. As with other nationalities which have dispersed, there is a tendency to continue to identify with the group. This is sometimes true of the Basque, and sometimes not. In Belgium, for instance, there is a strong tendency to follow political ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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