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Euskara or Basque, is the language belonging to the territory called the Basque Country, which includes all the Basque territories, and is a direct translation from the Basque expression Euskal Herria. The Basque society commonly uses Euskal Herria to refer to its own country, an expression that can be found in literary texts from as early as the mid XVIth century and that literally translated means 'The Country of Euskara'. The speakers and experts of Basque are called euskaldunak, which means literally 'those who possess Euskara'.

The Basque country is distributed between France (Iparralde) and Spain (Hegoalde). Labourdi, Basse Navarre (Low Navarre) and Soule (Zuberoa) are French territories, whereas Biscay, Guipuzcoa, Alava and Navarre are Spanish. Geographically speaking, the Basque country is situated between the Bay of Biscay, in the Cantabrian Sea, to the West, and the Pyrenees to the East; it borders on the rivers Adour in the North and Ebro in the South. Approximately 2,901,000 inhabitants live in an area which covers 20,524 km².

LAND AREA INHABITANTS
Biscay 2.217 km² 1.122.637
Guipuzcoa 1.980 km² 673.563
Alava 3.037 km² 286.387
Navarre 10.421 km² 555.829
Labourdi 800 km² 219.029
Basse Navarre 1.284 km² 28.076
Soule 785 km² 15.535

(Figures regarding Hegoalde were taken in 2001, whereas those about Iparralde belong to 1999.)


Administratively speaking, the territories of Biscay, Guipuzcoa and Alava in the Spanish state make up the Euskal Herriko Komunitate Autonomoa (Autonomous Community of the Basque Country). Navarre is a community with one province called Nafarroako Komunitate Forala (Statutory Community of Navarre). The three territories of France belong to a more extensive demarcation of the Region of Aquitaine or the Departament of the Atlantic Pyrenees.


Number of euskaldunes by territories
% Monolinguals euskaldunes Bilinguals Passive bilinguals Monolinguals spanish/french
A.C.B.C. 0,6 24,7 16,3 58,5
S.C.N. 0,2 9,4 9,8 80,6
Iparralde 0,7 25,7 9,3 64,2
TOTAL 0,5 19,9 11,9 67,7
 
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