The personality of the Basque Country today is fruit of its past history down the centuries.

The first known inhabitants of the Basque Country date from the Lower Palaeolithic, approximately 200,000 years ago. 

Basque shepherd
Basque shepherd

The Romans stayed in the Basque Country until the fall of their Empire, although their presence was never massive. 
On the disappearance of the Romans, it was the Vascons which dominated the territory, although in permanent struggle with peoples from Europe.

The Kingdom of  Navarre, was created to stop the expansion by the Franks and the Muslims. This kingdom extended from the Pyrenees to the south of the Basque Country and included the current continental Navarre (Nafarroa Beherea or Lower Navarre).

In 1515, Fernando The Catholic, king of Spain, conquered Upper (peninsular) Navarre and placed it under the crown of Castille.

From these dates on the destiny of the Basque Country was inexorably linked to France and Spain.

Despite interminable political and military conflicts, The Middle Ages was a period rich in developments in the Basque Country.

After the French Revolution (1789), the Basque provinces lying to the north of the Pyrenees were abolished and substituted by departments (90 throughout the Republic).

The Carlist Wars were fought in the South Basque Country throughout the XIX century. This was when the fueros here were lost. The monarchy succeeded the Carlist Wars, the Spanish Republic and the Civil War.


En 1981 the Basque Government was created, on Araba, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa approving the Gernika Statute of Autonomy.
Navarre was destined to have its own government and parliament.

The Basques of the diaspora, for their part, continue to have close links with the Basque Country.

The number of Basques or descendants of Basque in the diaspora  (10 million) is much greater than the number of inhabitants of the Basque Country.