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The Basques

The Basques, sometimes called “the mystery people of Europe,” have been occupying their corner of Europe since well before Roman times. Their homeland with its rugged coastline and lush green valleys lies between the borders of France and Spain. Between the 12th and 15th century, the Basques pursued intensive whale hunts in their home water, the Bay of Biscay. Eventually they began expanding their activities northwards, reaching Iceland by 1412. The folk lore of Greenland and Iceland tell of voyages to this area long before Columbus. or Cabot arrived. As a matter of fact, it is said that Basque sailors made up the bulk of Columbus’s crew. They have been fighting to protect their language and their culture for thousands of years. They are fiercely proud of their history

From the Middle Ages onward, they developed a reputation as formidable fishermen and built boats which took them great distances in search of whale and cod. Parks Canada tells us that the Basques According to writings of Samuel Champlain and Nicholas Denys, the Basques frequently fished the waters off the coast of Ile St. Jean during the 1600’s. They established temporary camps called degrats to prepare their catch for their journey home. It is said that

They are known as a fiercely religious people. The Jesuits, one of the most disciplined religious orders, was founded by a Basque, St. Ignatius Loyola,










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