Basque Country (autonomous community)
The Basque Country the Basque Autonomous Community is an autonomous community in northern Spain. It includes the Basque provinces of Álava and Gipuzkoa; the Basque Country or Basque Autonomous Community was granted the status of nationality within Spain, attributed by the Spanish Constitution of 1978. The autonomous community is based on the Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Country, a foundational legal document providing the framework for the development of the Basque people on Spanish soil. Navarre, which had narrowly rejected a joint statue of autonomy with Gipuzkoa, Álava and Biscay in 1932, was granted a separate statute in 1982. There is no official capital in the autonomous community, but the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz, in the province of Álava, is the de facto capital as the location of the Basque Parliament, the headquarters of the Basque Government, the residence of the President of the Basque Autonomous Community; the High Court of Justice of the Basque Country has its headquarters in the city of Bilbao.
Whilst Vitoria-Gasteiz is the largest municipality in area, with 277 km2, Bilbao is the largest in population, with 353,187 people, located in the province of Biscay within a conurbation of 875,552 people. The term Basque Country may refer to the larger cultural region, the home of the Basque people, which includes the autonomous community; the following provinces make up the autonomous community: Álava, capital Vitoria-Gasteiz Biscay, capital Bilbao-Bilbo Gipuzkoa, capital Donostia-San Sebastián The Basque Country borders Cantabria and the Burgos province to the west, the Bay of Biscay to the north and Navarre to the east and La Rioja to the south. The territory has three distinct areas, which are defined by the two parallel ranges of the Basque Mountains; the main range of mountains forms the watershed between the Mediterranean basins. The highest point of the range is in the Aizkorri massif; the three areas are: Formed by many valleys with short rivers that flow from the mountains to the Bay of Biscay, like the Nervión, Urola or Oria.
The coast is rough, with small inlets. The main features of the coast are the Bilbao Abra Bay and the Estuary of Bilbao, the Urdaibai estuary and the Bidasoa-Txingudi Bay that forms the border with France. Between the two mountain ranges, the area is occupied by a high plateau called Llanada Alavesa, where the capital Vitoria-Gasteiz is located; the rivers flow south from the mountains to the Ebro River. The main rivers are the Zadorra Bayas River. From the southern mountains to the Ebro is the so-called Rioja Alavesa, which shares the Mediterranean characteristics of other Ebro Valley zones; some of Spain's production of Rioja wine takes place here. The Basque Mountains form the watershed and mark the distinct climatic areas of the Basque Country: The northern valleys, in Biscay and Gipuzkoa and the valley of Ayala in Álava, are part of Green Spain, where the oceanic climate is predominant, with its wet weather all year round and moderate temperatures. Precipitation average is about 1200 mm; the middle section is influenced more by the continental climate, but with a varying degree of the northern oceanic climate.
This gives cold, snowy winters. The Ebro valley has a pure continental climate: winters are cold and dry and summers warm and dry, with precipitation peaking in spring and autumn. Precipitation is irregular, as low as 300 mm. Half of the 2,155,546 inhabitants of the Basque Autonomous Community live in Greater Bilbao, Bilbao's metropolitan area. Of the ten most populous cities, six form part of Bilbao's conurbation, known as Greater Bilbao. With 28.2% of the Basque population born outside this region, immigration is crucial to Basque demographics. Over the 20th century most of this immigration came from other parts of Spain from Galicia or Castile and León. Over recent years, sizeable numbers of this population have returned to their birthplaces and most immigration to the Basque country now comes from abroad, chiefly from South America. Roman Catholicism is, by far, the largest religion in the Basque Country. In 2012, the proportion of Basques that identified themselves as Roman Catholic was 58.6%, while it is one of the most secularised communities of Spain: 24.6% were non-religious and 12.3% of Basques were atheist.
Bilbao-Bilbo Vitoria-Gasteiz San Sebastián-Donostia Barakaldo Getxo Irun Portugalete Santurtzi Basauri Errenteria Spanish and Basque are co-official in all territories of the autonomous community. The Basque-speaking areas in the modern-day autonomous community are set against the wider context of the Basque language, spoken to the east in Navarre and the French Basque Country; the whole Basque speaking territory has experienced both expansion in its history. The Basque language experienced a gradual territorial contraction throughout the last nine centuries, severe deterioration of its sociolinguistic status for much of the 20th century due to heavy immigration from other parts of Spain, the virtual nonexistence of Basque language schooling, national policies implemented by the different Spanish régimes. After the advent of the Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Countr
Spain the Kingdom of Spain, is a country located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula, its territory includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country. Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are part of Spanish territory; the country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar. With an area of 505,990 km2, Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, the fourth largest country in the European continent. By population, Spain is the fifth in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid. Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania, based on the earlier Phoenician name Spn or Spania.
At the end of the Western Roman Empire the Germanic tribal confederations migrated from Central Europe, invaded the Iberian peninsula and established independent realms in its western provinces, including the Suebi and Vandals. The Visigoths would forcibly integrate all remaining independent territories in the peninsula, including Byzantine provinces, into the Kingdom of Toledo, which more or less unified politically and all the former Roman provinces or successor kingdoms of what was documented as Hispania. In the early eighth century the Visigothic Kingdom fell to the Moors of the Umayyad Islamic Caliphate, who arrived to rule most of the peninsula in the year 726, leaving only a handful of small Christian realms in the north and lasting up to seven centuries in the Kingdom of Granada; this led to many wars during a long reconquering period across the Iberian Peninsula, which led to the creation of the Kingdom of Leon, Kingdom of Castile, Kingdom of Aragon and Kingdom of Navarre as the main Christian kingdoms to face the invasion.
Following the Moorish conquest, Europeans began a gradual process of retaking the region known as the Reconquista, which by the late 15th century culminated in the emergence of Spain as a unified country under the Catholic Monarchs. Until Aragon had been an independent kingdom, which had expanded toward the eastern Mediterranean, incorporating Sicily and Naples, had competed with Genoa and Venice. In the early modern period, Spain became the world's first global empire and the most powerful country in the world, leaving a large cultural and linguistic legacy that includes more than 570 million Hispanophones, making Spanish the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese. During the Golden Age there were many advancements in the arts, with world-famous painters such as Diego Velázquez; the most famous Spanish literary work, Don Quixote, was published during the Golden Age. Spain hosts the world's third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spain is a secular parliamentary democracy and a parliamentary monarchy, with King Felipe VI as head of state.
It is a major developed country and a high income country, with the world's fourteenth largest economy by nominal GDP and sixteenth largest by purchasing power parity. It is a member of the United Nations, the European Union, the Eurozone, the Council of Europe, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Union for the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Schengen Area, the World Trade Organization and many other international organisations. While not an official member, Spain has a "Permanent Invitation" to the G20 summits, participating in every summit, which makes Spain a de facto member of the group; the origins of the Roman name Hispania, from which the modern name España was derived, are uncertain due to inadequate evidence, although it is documented that the Phoenicians and Carthaginians referred to the region as Spania, therefore the most accepted etymology is a Semitic-Phoenician one.
Down the centuries there have been a number of accounts and hypotheses: The Renaissance scholar Antonio de Nebrija proposed that the word Hispania evolved from the Iberian word Hispalis, meaning "city of the western world". Jesús Luis Cunchillos argues that the root of the term span is the Phoenician word spy, meaning "to forge metals". Therefore, i-spn-ya would mean "the land where metals are forged", it may be a derivation of the Phoenician I-Shpania, meaning "island of rabbits", "land of rabbits" or "edge", a reference to Spain's location at the end of the Mediterranean. The word in question means "Hyrax" due to Phoenicians confusing the two animals. Hispania may derive from the poetic use of the term Hesperia, reflecting the Greek perception of Italy as a "western land" or "land of the setting sun" (Hesperia
Vitis vinifera, the common grape vine, is a species of Vitis, native to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, southwestern Asia, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern Germany and east to northern Iran. There are between 5,000 and 10,000 varieties of Vitis vinifera grapes though only a few are of commercial significance for wine and table grape production, it is a liana growing to 32 m with flaky bark. The leaves are 5 -- 20 cm long and broad; the fruit is a berry, known as a grape. The species occurs in humid forests and streamsides; the wild grape is classified as V. vinifera subsp. Sylvestris, with V. vinifera subsp. Vinifera restricted to cultivated forms. Domesticated vines subsp.. Sylvestris is dioecious and pollination is required for fruit to develop; the grape is eaten processed to make wine or juice, or dried to produce raisins. Cultivars of Vitis vinifera form the basis of the majority of wines produced around the world. All of the familiar wine varieties belong to Vitis vinifera, cultivated on every continent except for Antarctica, in all the major wine regions of the world.
Wild grapes were harvested by early farmers. For thousands of years, the fruit has been harvested for both nutritional value. Changes in pip shape and distribution point to domestication occurring about 3500–3000 BC, in southwest Asia, South Caucasus, or the Western Black Sea shore region; the earliest evidence of domesticated grapes has been found at Gadachrili Gora, near the village of Imiri, Marneuli Municipality, in southeastern Republic of Georgia. Grape pips dating back to the V-IV millennia B. C. were found in Shulaveri. C. were found in Khizanaant Gora, all in the Republic of Georgia. Cultivation of the domesticated grape spread to other parts of the Old World in pre-historic or early historic times; the first written accounts of grapes and wine can be found in the Epic of Gilgamesh, an ancient Sumerian text from the third millennium BC. There are numerous hieroglyphic references from ancient Egypt, according to which wine was reserved for priests, state functionaries and the pharaoh. Hesiod in his Works and Days gives detailed descriptions of grape harvests and wine making techniques, there are many references in Homer.
Greek colonists introduced these practices in their colonies in southern Italy, known as Enotria due to its propitious climate. The Etruscans improved wine making techniques and developed an export trade beyond the Mediterranean basin; the ancient Romans further developed the techniques learnt from the Etruscans, as shown by numerous works of literature containing information, still valid today: De Agri Cultura by Cato the Elder, De re rustica by Marcus Terentius Varro, the Georgics by Virgil and De re rustica by Columella. During the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, the long crisis of the Roman Empire generated instability in the countryside which led to a reduction of viticulture in general, sustained only close to towns and cities and along coastlines. Between the 5th and 10th centuries, viticulture was sustained exclusively by the different religious orders in monasteries; the Benedictines and others extended the grape growing limit northwards and planted new vineyards at higher altitudes than was customary before.
Apart from ‘ecclesiastical’ viticulture, there developed in France, a ‘noble’ viticulture, practiced by the aristocracy as a symbol of prestige. Grape growing was a significant economic activity in the Middle east up to the 7th century, when the expansion of Islam caused it to decline. Between the Low Middle Ages and the Renaissance, viticulture began to flourish again. Demographic pressure, population concentration in towns and cities, the increased spending power of artisans and merchants gave rise to increased investment in viticulture, which became economically feasible once more. Much was written during the Renaissance on grape growing and wine production, favouring a more scientific approach; this literature can be considered the origin of modern ampelography. Grapes followed European colonies around the world, coming to North America around the 17th century, to Africa, South America and Australia. In North America it formed hybrids with native species from the genus Vitis. North American rootstocks became used to graft V. vinifera cultivars so as to withstand the presence of phylloxera.
V. Vinifera accounts for the majority of world wine production. In Europe, Vitis vinifera is concentrated in the southern regions.
Txakoli or chacolí is a sparkling dry white wine with high acidity and low alcohol content produced in the Spanish provinces of the Basque Country and northern Burgos. Further afield, Chile is a minor producer, it is served as an aperitif and drunk within one year of bottling as it cannot be stored for longer. The most common, variety has a pale green colour, but there are red and rosé varieties; when served, it is poured into tall glasses from a height as an accompaniment to pintxos. It has between 9.5-11.5 ABV. The 18th century Palace of Mendibile in Leioa near Bilbao today houses a museum dedicated to txakoli, the Museo del Txakoli, explaining the history of txakoli and with a large collection of machinery used for making it; this wine is called txakolin in Basque, txakolina meaning "the txakolin". The term is attested from the middle of the 18th century onwards also as a personal name. Traditionally the general form has been txakolin. Txakoli, considered a misspelling by the Euskaltzaindia, is attested from 1985 onwards.
Derived forms are based on the root txakolin, for example txakolin-ardo, txakolin-dantza, txakolin-saltze, txakolin gorri or txakolin-etxe. This wine is called chacolí in a word that comes from the Basque txakolin; the first reference to the name of this wine in Spanish was vino chacolín in a document from the Basque Country in 1520. The wine is called chacoli in French. Most authors assume a Basque origin but the origin of the word is unknown, except for the ending -in which occurs in liquids, the word is obscure. Amongst the more fanciful attempts at derivation is a suggested origin from etxeko ain. Others opt for a French origin as it appeared as a term to identify French wines in villages of eastern Gipuzkoa. There are authors who suggest a Spanish origin of the term; until the 1980s, txakoli was a home-made wine, drunk in the Basque Country and Valle de Mena, in danger of dying out towards the middle of the 19th century. However, since some varieties of txakoli in the Basque Country managed to achieve Denominación de Origen certification from 1989 onwards, its quality and appeal have increased.
Txakoli is traditionally fermented in foudres but most txakoli produced today is fermented in stainless steel vats. There are three DO certified varieties. Most txakoli is grown in the Atlantic regions of the Basque Country, areas with high rainfall and average temperatures between 7.5 °C and 18.7 °C suffering from frost. Getariako Txakolina in Basque, Chacolí de Guetaria in Spanish; this variety comes from a small region in Gipuzkoa around the towns of Getaria and Aia and is of a pale yellow to green color. This was the first variety of txakoli to receive the DO certification in 1989; the cultivated area has increased from 60 ha to 177 ha since certification. Annually some 900,000 litres are produced in this area on south-east facing slopes to protect the vines from the harsh Atlantic weather. Unlike the other varieties which are grown as most varieties of grapes, the grapes for this txakoli are grown according to the treille or trellis system. In this system, the vines are cultivated at a greater height above the ground, with the foliage forming a contiguous canopy to improve the microclimate.
The white variety used is Hondarribi Zuria, the red grape is Hondarribi Beltza. In recent years, other towns in Gipuzkoa have started producing txakoli under this DO certification, including Orio, Arrasate, Mutriku, Zestoa, Villabona, Urnieta, Oñati, Beizama and Olaberria. Bizkaiko Txakolina in Basque, Chacolí de Vizcaya in Spanish; this variety is made except for the far western end. This was the second txakoli to receive the DO certification in 1994, it is grown on 150 ha by 85 villages and towns throughout Biscay, producing some 700,000 litres of txakoli annually. Records of wine making in this region go back to the 8th century and references to txakoli go back several centuries themselves; the quality of the txakoli varies. Both white and red grapes are used for making txakoli in Biscay. White varieties are Folle blanche. Another light red variety called Oilar Begi was used; this variety had become extinct and is making a slow comeback. Arabako Txakolina in Basque, Chacolí de Álava in Spanish.
This variety comes from the far north-western end of Álava. It is the youngest of the three DO varieties of txakoli, having gained certification in 2001, it is yellowish in color acidic and frothy. It is grown over some 55 ha of land around the towns of Aiara, Artziniega and Okondo. Wine-making has a long tradition in this region, going back as far as 760 AD in the historical record. In the late 19th century, grapes were grown on more than 500 ha of land, declining to 5ha in the late 20th century before the recent revival; the most used grape for this txakoli is Hondarribi Zuria but other grapes are permitted: Bordeleza Zuria, Izkiriota Ttipia and Courbu. Chacolí, in the o