Basque Country

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BASQUE COUNTRY The Basque Country was an autonomous region of Spain in the north of the nation, bordering France and the Bay of Biscay. It includes the Basque provinces of Álava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa. The Basques were known for their strong sense of self-government, distinct culture, and language, Euskera, which was the oldest surviving language in Europe, spoken by one third of inhabitants and the second official language in addition to Spanish. The predominant religion was Catholicism. The Basque Autonomous Community ranks first in Spain in terms of per capita income, with gross domestic product (GDP) per capita being 40% higher than that of the European Union and 33.8% higher than Spain's average in 2010. Rich iron ore deposits, forests, and ample availability of hydraulic energy from water spurred the region’s industrial development. Basque iron foundries and shipyards dated from the Middle Ages. The industries, together with trade, transport, and later firearms were the bedrock of the economy. In the 15th century, the Basque Country became the leading iron producing region of Spain and one of the most important in Europe. The shipbuilding industry was the largest in Spain and expanded considerably as commerce flourished. A strong legal framework and a broad array of schools and research centers emerged. Industrial activities were traditionally centered on steel and shipbuilding, mainly due to the rich iron ore resources found during the 19th century around Bilbao. The Estuary of Bilbao was the center of the Basque Country's industrial revolution during the 19th and the first half of the 20th century. These activities decayed during the economic crisis of the 1970s and 1980s, giving ground for the development of the services sector and new technologies. The post-war period has been a fruitful period as long as economic progress is concerned. Aggregate…...

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