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The Cantabrian Sea and the Pyrenees create the backdrop of a landscape composed of all shades of green, rugged coasts with short estuaries, and mountains covered with beech and oak.

For centuries its inhabitants have been sailors, farm labourers and shepherds and have spoken a language totally unlike any other and whose origins should be sought more in legend than in history. It is said that it all began with «Sugaar», one of the Basque mythological characters who had a love affair with a beautiful princess who lived in Mundaka. From their union Juan Zuria, was born, the first lord of Bizkaia (Biscay). The Basques, however, believe that they are descendants of the land: the euskaldunak. A nation who retained its traditions, who did not manage to dominate the invaders and who formed an «ethnic isle». In the 14th century Basque fishermen had already reached Iceland and Greenland where they settled on the coast of Newfoundland and Canada. Juan Sebastián Elcano, the first man to travel around the world, was from Getaria and Legazpi, conqueror of the Philippines, from Zumárraga. Beside the fishing village lie the farming lands. The country house continues to be the core of the Basque country life. Agriculture, clearly smallholder, is based on intensive farming, which means the land is fully exploited. The other traditional trade in the Basque Land is shepherding. The shepherds generally owned their own flocks. When this was not the case, they emigrated. The United States and Canada became the new home of many of these shepherds. The main industry for which the Basque Country is known today began developing at the beginning of the 20th century, along with trade.



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