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Basque Mythology

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« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2007, 01:16:33 am »

The Basques

The Basques are a group of people settled in northern Spain and southern France, nestled amongst the Pyrenees Mountains. They occupy seven provinces, four in Spain and three in France. They are Araba, Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa, and Nafarroa in Spain, and Lapurdi, Behe Nafarroa, and Zuberoa in France. These provinces made up of mostly Basque people are collectively known as Euskadi in their native tongue. This land was fomerly the Basque Kingdom until the provinces were split up in the 1600’s.

The Basques are a unique group of people whose origins are somewhat shrouded in mystery. They are believed to be prehistoric inhabitants of Europe and possibly the direct descendents of Cro-Magnon man, who appeared in Eurpoe and the Middle East some 35,000 years ago. They are mostly mountain people and fishermen. They’re language is entirely different from any other European language and is called Euskara. Until they adopted writing from the Romans, they had no official alphabet. It is thought that the Basques are the originators of the RH negative blood factor, because it is found in a very small percentage of caucasians and blacks and almost non-existent in orientals, while 33% of Basque people have it. They are also different in that the bone joints in their skulls are of a different shape and they tend to have thicker breast bones.

Basques are well known for their physical strength. Some of the competitions they regularly perform are tug-of-war, rock climbing, rock pulling and wood chopping, but their favorite competitions are the ball games, and Jai Alai is the most popular. It was a Basque who captained one of the ships on Colombus’ maiden voyage to the new world, the Santa Maria. On Magellan’s voyage around the world, a Basque took over and guided the ship the rest of the way when Magellan was killed in the Phillipines. When the Moors conquered the majority of Spain and ruled it for hundreds of years, they never tracked the Basques back into their mountain villages, for fear that they could not be defeated.

References:
Kurlansky, Mark. The Basque History of the World. New York, Walker. 1999.

“The Majority of Jai Alai Players are Basque.” Dania-Jai-Alai. www.dania-jai-alai.com/page14.htm. 2/8/00.

John Tietz

http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/cultural/oldworld/europe/basque.html
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