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The Basque Portal

The "Ikurriña", flag of the Basque Country.
Lauburu, a symbol of the Basque Country.
Location on the world map.
The Territory of the Basque Country (Basque: Euskal Herria) is a cultural region in the western Pyrenees mountains that spans the border of France and Spain, extending down to the coast of the Bay of Biscay. It corresponds more or less with the homeland of the Basque people and language.

According to the Basque tradition, the Basque Country is made up of seven regions. The four regions Laurak Bat to the south, within Spain, form Hegoalde (“south zone”), while the three to the northeast, within France, form Iparralde (“north zone”).

The southern Basque Country falls within the Spanish autonomous communities of the Basque Country and Navarre, and the Northern Basque Country forms part of the French département of Pyrénées Atlantiques. (More about the historical territory of the Basque Country...)

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Bilbao, sometimes referred to as Bilbo (another Basque variant), in the North of Spain, is the largest city in the Basque Country and the capital of the province of Biscay (Basque: Bizkaia). The city has over 354,000 inhabitants (2006) and is the most economically and industrially active part of Greater Bilbao, the zone in which almost half of the Basque Country’s population lives. Greater Bilbao’s 946,829 inhabitants are spread along the length of the Nervion River, whose banks are home also to numerous business and factories, which during the industrial revolution brought heightened prosperity to the region.

In the north, Bilbao’s city edge is considered to be around the towns of Erandio, Sondika and Derio, in the east it is encompassed by Zamudio and Etxebarri. The southern border passes outside Basauri and Arrigorriaga and in the west, Barakaldo and Alonsotegi are the furthest extremes. The urban area is enclosed by two small mountain ranges called Pagasarri (to the south) and Artxanda (to the north), this fact gives the city its nickname, "el botxo", "the hole".


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Lope de Aguirre

Lope de Aguirre (c. 151027 October 1561) was a Spanish Basque conquistador in South America. Nicknamed El Loco, 'the Madman', Aguirre was renowned for his treacherous and brutal exploits, before being executed for his rebellion against and defiance of the Spanish monarchy.

Aguirre was born in 1510 in the Basque province of Guipúzcoa, part of the Crown of Castile. He was the son of a nobleman, with some culture, possibly from a family of court clerks. Aguirre was in his twenties and living in Seville when Hernando Pizarro returned from Peru and brought back the treasures of the Incas, inspiring Aguirre to follow in his footsteps.



  • The man of flesh and bone; the man who is born, suffers, and dies—above all, who dies; the man who eats and drinks and plays and sleeps and thinks and wills; the man who is seen and heard; the brother, the real brother.
  • Everything vital is, not only irrational, but anti-rational, and everything rational is anti-vital.

Miguel de Unamuno, Basque philosopher, Del Sentimiento Trágico de la Vida (The Tragic Sense of Life) (1913)



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Credit: Eltito
The Mundaka beach, not far from Bilbao.



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