Essay about Basque Nationalism: Is Autonomy Enough?

1264 Words 6 Pages
In the modern European Union, lies an ancient culture and language unrelated to the dominant cultures around it. These are the Basques who have struggled to retain their customs through invasions and cultural repression. The territory which they call home is a small but powerful force within Spain. Spanish ideologies exerted upon them in recent memory have put a damper on Basque cultural practices and language, but out of this came Basque nationalism. The means used by Basque nationalists to gain independence are sometimes questionable and violent, and have had an impact on the economic health of the region. The Basque Country gained autonomy in the Spanish Constitution of 1978, but many feel that autonomy doesn’t go far enough. …show more content…
This region (along with three subdivisions in France) is considered the ancestral home of the Basque people. Around ninety percent of Basques in the area live on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, so emphasis here is given to the Basques and their political relationship with Spain. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly how long Basques have lived in Euskadi, but there are theories that place them in the area for thousands of years. The origins of the Basque people are largely unknown. What is certain is that they are a distinct culture with a language (Euskara) unrelated to the Indo-European languages surrounding them. A common belief is that the Basques have lived in and around the Iberian peninsula for thousands of years, predating the Romans and Moors, possibly as far back as the Paleolithic era. A study by Alonso et al. (2005) that tried to determine Basque origins by examining the Y-chromosome of Basque men found that their genetic lineages “originated and have been evolving since pre-Neolithic times” (pg. 1300). Alonso et al. (2005) go on to say that it cannot be determined whether the Basques have lived in the same region since that time, but it is possible since “...there is evidence supporting human presence in the Basque Country since the Lower Paleolithic, about 150,000 years ago...” (pg. 1301). Although the true origins of
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