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Basques in the world

Basques in History

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Over the centuries, a great number of Basques have left their mark on history: Men like Juan Sebastián Elcano, first man to sail around the world between 1519 and 1521; Urdaneta and Legazpi, pioneers of the Pacific route between Mexico and the Philippines; Juan de Garay, founder of Buenos Aires; Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits; and Francisco de Vitoria, one of the forefathers of International Law.

Like their more famous counterparts, many other Basques, often simple fishermen, left traces of themselves and their work in far-flung places like Newfoundland and Canada, and discovered fishing-grounds off Greenland, Iceland and Spitzberg, possibly before Columbus 'officially' discovered the American continent.

Be it as it may, the truth is that Basques have long been master seafarers, opening up important trading routes to places such as London, Bristol, Bruges, Antwerp, Nantes, La Rochelle, Hamburg and Lübeck. Such adventurousness gives a good idea of the spirit and vigour of the Basque character; it is, too, a good measure of the receptiveness to exterior influences.

In more modern times, the same kind of drive and initiative led to the creation of highly respected industries and banks that aided by the area's strategic situation and a modern network of air, sea, road and rail infrastructures made possible a permanent social and economic development in the Basque Country. Nowadays, industry and finance remains a solid combination, guaranteeing the Basque Country's prospects for the future.

Basque Diaspora

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Basque groups around the world are looking to take an active part in this development and, with a view to reinforcing the links between the Basque Country and their adopted countries, have taken on a new role, creating a permanent infrastructure to support and promote economic and cultural relations. For that purpose, nowadays there are 200 Basque centres or euskal etxeak all over the world, which spread in every direction the pride of being Basque.