Southern Basque Country

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The Spanish Basque Country or Hegoalde pictured in deep green as related to the entire Basque Country. The internal borders are shown of the three provinces which comprise the Basque Autonomous Community (to the west) and Navarre (to the east)
The Southern Basque Country depicted on a publicity poster (1950s)

The Southern Basque Country (Basque: Hegoalde or Hego Euskal Herria; Spanish: Hegoalde, País Vasco y Navarra or País Vasco peninsular) is a term used to refer to the Basque territories within Spain as a unified whole.


In Basque language, natives have referred to the Basque districts as Euskal Herria(k). During history, it has been named in a variety of ways in languages other than Basque (basically Spanish):

  • Up to the early 19th century: Biscay (in an ethnic sense), Biscay and Navarre (political approach), the Basque provinces
  • 19th century through to late 20th century: Basque Provinces and Navarre (legally in 1833), the Four in One (Laurak Bat), Vasconia (scholarly term), the Sister Provinces, the Exempt Provinces, the Chartered Provinces, the Basque-Navarrese Country, the Basque Country, the South (Hegoalde)

Spanish Basque Country can refer to this same territory, but is ambiguous as it may or may not include Navarre; whereas the Basque-derived term "Southern Basque Country" invariably includes Navarre and the enclaves.


It does not exist as a political unit but includes the three provinces (Álava, Biscay, Gipuzkoa) and two enclaves (Enclave of Treviño and Valle de Villaverde) of the Basque Autonomous Community in the west, as well as the Chartered Community of Navarre to the east.


The historically Basque 4 provinces in Spain had a status of self-empowerment up to the 2nd Carlist War in the late 19th century (Charters abolished). The four Basque provincial governments then made a move towards coordination and cooperation by designing a number of common projects.[1]

The 1876 definite abolition of the charters (home rule) was followed by a political stir leading to the popular uprising Gamazada centered in Navarre (1893-1894), and attempts started to be made to re-establish a new single political status for the Basque territories in Spain, with the most significant being the Statute of Estella, 1932, on the eve of the 1936 Spanish Civil War. After Francisco Franco's death, this possibility was again explored and provided for in the late 1970s, but strong political objections both in the Spanish establishment and Navarre (Unión del Pueblo Navarro party founded, swing in Spanish Socialist Workers' Party's position) drew the project to a stalemate.


  1. ^ "LAURAK BAT". Auñamendi Entziklopedia. EuskoMedia Fundazioa. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 

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