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Basque Country (autonomous community)

Coordinates: 42°50′N 2°41′W / 42.833°N 2.683°W / 42.833; -2.683
From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Basque Autonomous Community (in English)
Euskal Autonomia Erkidegoa (in Basque)
Comunidad Autónoma Vasca (in Spanish)
Flag of Basque Country
Coat-of-arms of Basque Country
Eusko Abendaren Ereserkia
"Anthem of the Basque ethnicity"
Location of the Basque Country community in the Iberian Peninsula
Location of the Basque Country community in the Iberian Peninsula
Coordinates: 42°50′N 2°41′W / 42.833°N 2.683°W / 42.833; -2.683
CountryBasque Country

The Basque Autonomous Community (Basque: Euskal Autonomia Erkidegoa; Spanish: Comunidad Autónoma Vasca), or commonly known as EUSKADI, is an autonomous community in northern iberian peninsula. It includes the provinces of Araba, Bizkaia, and Gipuzkoa.

The Basque Country is considered a historical nationality by the 1978 constitution.

The city of Vitoria-Gasteiz, in Araba, is the politic capital "de facto", where the Basque Parliament, the Basque Government, and the house of the President of the Basque Autonomous Community (the Palace of Ajuria Enea) are located. The High Court of Justice of the Basque Country is in Bilbo. Vitoria-Gasteiz is the city with the most land, with 277 km2 (107 sq mi), Bilbo has the most people, with 353,187.

The term Basque Country is also used when speaking about the larger cultural region (Basque: Euskal Herria), "the home of the Basque people", which has the autonomous community in it.


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These provinces make up the autonomous community:


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Txindoki mountain from Lazkaomendi
Basque coast near Mundaka
Rioja vineyards near the Ebro

The Basque Country touches Cantabria and Burgos province to the west, the Bay of Biscay to the north, France (Nouvelle-Aquitaine) and Navarre to the east and La Rioja (the Ebro River) to the south. The territory has three parts, separated by the Basque Mountains. The main line of mountains makes the watershed between the Atlantic and Mediterranean basins. The highest place in the mountains is in the Aizkorri massif (1551 m). The three areas are:

Atlantic Basin

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The Atlantic Basin has many valleys with short rivers that flow from the mountains to the Bay of Biscay, like the Nerbion, Urola, and Oria. The coast is rough, with high cliffs. The main parts of the coast are the Bilbo-Abra Bay and the Estuary of Bilbao, the Urdaibai estuary and the Bidasoa-Txingudi Bay that makes the border with France.

Between the two mountain ranges, there is a high plateau called Araba plains (Basque: Arabako lautada), where the capital Vitoria-Gasteiz locates. The rivers flow southwards, from mountains to Ebro valley (Basque: Ebro sakana or erribera). The main rivers are the Bidasoa, Zadorra and Baia River.

Ebro Valley

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The Ebro river starts in European Peaks range and flows through the south-western part of the Basque Country. This makes an area called the Ebro Valley wich is well-known for famous wines.

In Euskadi, rivers usually flow down from the Basque Mountains to coastal or Ebro bassins. The mountains also separate the climates inside the autonomous community:

The northern valleys in Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa, and the southern valley of Aiala in Araba, are part of Green Iberia, where we found a lot of clouds, rain and, therefore, high humidity.

The climate in the middle plains tends to Continental Atlantic like. This gives warm, dry summers and cold, snowy winters.

The Ebro Valley's climate is just an extension of the previous: cold and dry winters and warm and dry summers, and it rains the most in spring and autumn, but very rarely as much as in the northern atlantic watershed.


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Historical population
Source: INE

Almost half of the 2,155,546 people in the Basque Autonomous Community live in the area around the capital city of Bilbo. Six out of its ten biggest cities, are part of Bilbo's conurbation (Bilbo, Barakaldo, Getxo, Portugalete, Santurtzi and Basauri).

This is also called Greater Bilbo.

Because 28.2% of the Basque population is born outside the autonomous community,[1] immigration is important for demographics. Since the year 1900, most of these people have come from other parts of the peninsula, like Portugal, Galicia, Castile or Extremadura. Lately, many of these inmigrant people have returned to their born places.

Nowadays, immigration comes from other countries, mostly East Europe or South America.[1]

By 2012 data frame, 58.6% of Basque habitants identified themselves as Roman Catholic[2] but many people do not believe in religion: 24.6% were non-religious and 12.3% of Basques were atheist.

Major cities

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  1. 1.0 1.1 "El 28,2% de la población que vive en el País Vasco ha nacido fuera | País Vasco". elmundo.es. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
  2. Interactivo: Creencias y prácticas religiosas en España