CP World History
11 May 2018
Nationalism has been used to obtain independence, unify a country, and liberate a country. For the Basques, nationalism meant merging their provinces to fight for an autonomous state. They were successful through their industrial production, retaining their social beliefs, and battling for a self-government. The people of Basque were driven towards independence through the initiation of social, economic, and political beliefs.
The history bcof the Basque people began before the Indo-European people inhabited the southwestern part of Europe almost 5,000 years ago (everyculture). The Basques were an independent region from 476 AD- 1450 AD because of their resistance to invasions from the Romans, Visigoths, Arabs, French, and the Spanish (everyculture), until they eventually became a part of Spain in the Middle Ages. Since then, these people have considered themselves as their own race for many generations. The Basques depended on agriculture and sheep herding, which made them the first region in Spain to industrialize themselves (World History in Context: Basques). In the Basque province of Vizcaya, their independence was declared in a royal ceremony under an oak tree in the city of Guernica (380mcdigitalworld3). The ceremony later became the symbol of their independence. The ceremony is celebrated annually on October 25th since the day they became an autonomous state (officeholidays). The Basque people have been and still are Roman Catholic and very serious about their religious beliefs. According to everyculture, the percentage of people choosing to become priests or nuns are extremely high. In Basque provinces, schools for children between the ages six and fourteen are educated for free and are privately run by the Catholic Churches (everyculture). From the result of the ancient Basques’ stable culture and religion, their unity drove them towards power for their independence.
The Basques drove for political independence by taking a stand for their beliefs in their own culture and lifestyle. The rise of the Basque nationalist movement began after Spain demanded for a more centralized administration within an equal nation-state and control over the Catholic Church (Powersearch Gale: Basques). The Basques rebelled against Spain’s demands because of their cultural individuality. They Basques didn’t believe they were equal to Spaniards. Their actions eventually led to the first Carlist war, from 1833-1840, which revolved mainly around the Basque provinces. The second Carlist war, from 1875-1876, revolved around the same issues from the first Carlist war. At the end of the war, the Basques suffered many losses, including losses of their homelands and provinces. talked about in the Basque independence in Spain rather than the Basque autonomy in the Castilian Kingdom (380mcdigitalworld3).
The Basques demanded autonomy in 1932 after the Republic, a project for an independent Basque country (Revolvy), granted it to Cataluña (Powersearch Gale: Basques).
Cataluña was granted their autonomy by their Republic in 1931, until it was taken away by Francisco Franco, a pacifist for independent nation-states in Spain (minorityrights). Before Sabino Aranas’ death, he wrote a “war of conquest”, also known as The Basque Laws, which Francisco Franco, who was anti-Basque, was eager to rid Spain of all of its diversity. He targeted the Basques harshly, and the result of his conquering resulted with the banning of the Basque language and the loss of the Basques’ political autonomy and economic rights. Basque people were also put into concentration camps by the order of Francisco Franco, as well as over 20,000 children being exiled out of the country (380mcdigitalworld3). Franco also banned the Basque flag, Ikurrina, and forced all Basque names to become Hispanic. The Basques were forbidden to celebrate Basque holidays and teach the Basque language in schools (Hot Spot: North America and Europe pg. 287). Franco also bombed a Basque town, Guernica, in 1937. That bombing caused over 750,000 deaths (Hot Spot: North America and Europe pg. 286). After Franco’s death in 1975, the Basque people regained much of their rights and autonomy.
A terrorist group called the ETA, or Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna, became the heart of the movement. This group functioned organizations that provided language schools for students after they were stripped of their cultural rights. The ETA left a signature and violent mark in the independence movement; through a gunshot in the neck or by a car bomb, they advocated for political violence (Hot Spot: North America and Europe). Throughout the whole movement towards independence, the ETA supported the Basques, for they both were very self-determined and wanted independence from Spain (World History in Context: Basques). The Basques protested violently, and through the support of the ETA, the ETA became responsible for over 800 deaths in a 40 year period dating back from 1960 (Hot Spot: North America and Europe pg. 285). By the end of the independence movement, the ETA was separated between Spain and France. One side, the ETA-military, stressed military leadership and armed struggle; The other side, ETA politicomilitar, argued the combination of political and military strategies against the Spanish government (World History in Context: Basques). The World History in Context: Basques, states how the movement wasn’t successful because of it’s lack of unity. The Basques were politically resented and fought to regain their autonomy and rights.
The dBasques’ industrial economy improved from when they first became a part of Spain, the beginning of World War I, and later to today’s world. The Basques have always been more advanced than the Spanish in their agricultural and industrial production since before they’ve been a part of Spain. According to the database World History in Context, the Basques produced the most Spanish steel in the world. But steel wasn’t the only thing they invested in. The website 380mcdigitalworld3 states how the Basques also invested in iron, shipbuilding, and railroad construction. During this economic boom, the Fueros, or marketplaces, prohibited any natural resource from the Basque province of Vizcaya to be used outside of the Spanish kingdom, leading to a large investment from Britain. These Fueros were later abolished, resulting with the Basques being included into Spain’s protective tariffs, and by 1906, they held the highest tariffs in Europe. The increase of tariffs in Spain helped the Basques with their industrial production, making them want to stay in Spain. It helped improve and grow the Basque industries. The shipyards in Vizcaya earned contracts from the Spanish Navy in 1888, and in 1892, the metallurgical industry acquired more protection from the Spanish government (380mcdigitalworld3). These generous acts by the Spanish government also helped convinced the Basques to stay within Spain, resulting in increase of industrial production. This helped the Basques become the most superior and advanced industrial producers in all of Spain. Their undefeated economy rose, making the Basques confident in their finances.
During the first World War, the industrial production for the Basques’ boomed, giving the bourgeoisie and Spanish immigrants an opportunity to work. This resulted in an economic boom. WWI allowed the Basque industrial production to supply goods to Germany and France, making their economic and financial productions soar.
This economic boom later led to the split of the Basques into France and Germany. Their industrial production was so successful, it surpassed many competing industries. During this time, capitalism in the Basque country grew larger, and the population of the Spanish declined. By the end of the war, the Basques were driven to an economic and political crisis . The political and economic crisis resulted with many nationalities in Spain demanding for a greater autonomy (380mcdigitalworld3).
As successful as the Basque industry was, the ending results had a huge affect on the people because of the rise of unemployment. Everyculture states how the unemployment rate dropped down 27% in 1994. These lowering unemployment rates hurt the industry of Basque immensely. At the end of the war, the Basques faced many losses that affected them dramatically and hurt them economically and financially.
The Basques ewere socially nationalistic through their language, cultural beliefs, and ancestry. Sabino Arana, the Basque nationalist leader who lead the movement from 1895 to 1903, believed in a “pure Basque” race. He was extremely racist to “influx of make-to’s”, also known as Spaniards (Powersearch Gale: Basques). He also believed that the new Spanish working class immigrants were an inferior race to the Baques. His belief of the separatism between the races changed the “makeup” of the population. 380mcdigitalworld3 states how by 1900, more than one in four had been born outside of the Basque provinces. Arana renamed the Basque country as Euskadi or “Basque homeland”. He also created a new flag for the country based on the Union flag of Britain, Ikurrina. Arana’s theories were very racist and included the Basques’ ancient language and cultural beliefs (380mcdigitalworld3). In the Basques’ point of view, they believed that they were self-governed beyond the time when the provinces Guipuzcoa, Vizcaya, and Alvara were connected through the Castile (30mcdigitalworld3). They believe in autonomy, or self-government, because of their cultural beliefs as to who they are as people. According to the book Hot Spot: North America and Europe on page 285, the Basque region is the oldest inhabited mountain region since the stone age and 85% of Basque people have a rare blood type, Blood O and Rh-negative. It is believed that the Basques can be traced back to the lost city of Atlantis. This shows the purity of the Basque people and how much they devoted themselves to being their own race over the thousands of years. According to the website everyculture, the official language of the Basque people is Euskera. It is said to be unrelated to any kind of Roman language and does not belong to any other known language family (everyculture). Unfortunately, the language was only rural to the Basques until the end of the nineteenth century (Russell, Joseph (Hot Spot North America and Europe)).
The Basques fwere socially nationalistic because of their devotion to being their own culture, as well as being their own people. The Basques didn’t want to be called Spaniards, nor did they want to be Hispanic. Through their acts of social nationalism, they fought for a movement towards becoming independent as people and as a nation. Their acts unified them and separated them. Their drive towards independence liberated the Basque people, making them fight strongly to become an individual race.
“Basques.” Countries and Their Cultures,
This source talked about Basque culture and lifestyle.
“Basques from the Southern Basque Region and the First World War: an Opportunity for
Growth.” Basquetribune, 20 Aug. 2014,
This source gave me info about the Basques industrial production in WW1 and
economic/financial state they were in after the war.
“Catalans.” Minority Rights Group, minorityrights.org/minorities/catalans/.
This source helped me by providing brief informations on the Catalonia’s.
“Day of the First Constitution of the Basque Country.” Public Holidays in Honduras in 2018 |
Office Holidays, www.officeholidays.com/countries/spain/basque_constitution_day.php.
This source talked about the Basque country during the war. It also talked about the split
between the Basques during WWI.
Merriman, John, and Jay Winter. “Europe Since 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of War
and Reconstruction.” Europe Since 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of War and
vol. 1, 2006, p. 297. Global Issues In Context Gale, :http://go.galegroup.com/ps/retrieve.do?tabID=T001&resultListType
This source included information about Basque history and information about the
Basques during their independence movement.
Revolvy, LLC. “‘Basque Republic’ on Revolvy.com.” Trivia Quizzes,
This talks about what the Basque Republic is. It also mentions how and what they did
that impacted the Basques.
Rudolph, Joseph Russell. Hot Spot: North America and Europe. Greenwood Press,
Had basic information about the history of the Basques and the political side of the
movement. It also included the most important leaders of the movement who helped gain Basque independence.
“The Basques: ETA and Separatism.” World History in Context Gale, 2001,
This source had info about the wars (civil war and WWI) and political issues during the
“Why Does Basque Country Want Their Independence from Spain?”
380mcdigitalworld3, 20 Mar. 2012,
This source talked about the “Why” and the “How” Basque independence was