This is the question people ask me most when I’m travelling because, although the name contains the word “country”, it’s not an officially recognised State. It’s a question that could meet with different answers, depending on the experiences and the personal stories of the respondent.
For me, the Basque Country is my country, my land. In Euskera (the Basque language), we call it “Euskal Herria”, the country of Euskera. We who call ourselves Basques live in a territory on either side of the western Pyrenees, part of which is in France, and the other part in Spain. Not all Basques speak Basque, though. Those living in France, in the northern Basque Country, speak French. And those who live in Spain, in the south, speak Spanish. This video will help you take all this in.
The Basque Country has a recent history of painful unrest marked by the violence of ETA, an independence-seeking terrorist organisation. Its cease-fire and subsequent disbandment in 2018 gave a boost to tourism in my country, with all its cultural and natural charms in store for you.
The fact that Euskera is Europe’s oldest language, with no connections to any other language, arouses the curiosity of many people in relation to our culture, the origins of which are unknown. One example of this interest is a 1955 documentary on the Basques by US film director Orson Welles, The Land of the Basques.
Obviously the Basque Country has changed a lot since then. Nowadays the Basque Autonomous Community, where I live in Spain, is one of the most prosperous and developed regions in Europe. It’s a highly accessible territory, agreeable and easy to visit, and a very genuine place too, as we’re very proud of our roots and traditions. Take a look at this Basque Government promotional video.