Day of the Basque Country Date in the current year: October 25, 2024

Day of the Basque Country The Basque Country, an autonomous community in northern Spain, celebrates its national day on October 25. The Day of the Basque Country commemorates the anniversary of its autonomous status.

In a broad sense, the Basque Country is a historical region straddling the border between Spain and France. It is the home of the Basque people, a European indigenous ethnic group characterized by a shared genetic ancestry, a common culture and the Basque language that isn’t related to any of the European languages. The Basque Country comprises the Northern Basque Country in France and two autonomous communities, the Basque Country and Navarre, in Spain.

The Spanish half of the Basque Country always enjoyed a high level of autonomy, but things began to change in the mid-19th century. The years of Francisco Franco’s dictatorial regime were especially tough for the Basque people and other ethnic minorities. In 1959, Basque nationalists founded a separatist organization named ETA whose main goal was to gain independence for the Basque Country.

After Franco’s death in 1975, the control over Spain was given to King Juan Carlos I, and the country began a transition to democracy. He initiated the development of a new constitution that would, among other things, clearly define the status of autonomous communities and cities. After the new constitution was adopted, the development of the Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Country began. The document, widely referred to as the Statute of Gernika, was approved on December 29, 1978 and ratified by a referendum on October 25, 1979.

However, the Statute of Autonomy didn’t put an end to ETA’s armed struggle for independence. ETA declared a permanent ceasefire and then a cessation of all armed activity only in 2011. Several months later, the government of the Basque Country declared the anniversary of the Statute the national holiday of the autonomous community.

Although the Day of the Basque Country is an official holiday, many Basque nationalists think that it isn’t really worth celebrating because for them, autonomy is a compromise, but not a victory, which would be independence.

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Day of the Basque Country, official holiday, regional holiday, holidays in Spain, national day