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Culture

If you were starting from scratch and fancied founding a culture that straddled two countries, you could do a lot worse than come up with one that combined north east Spain and south west France.

The Basque area does just that, encompassing the Pyrenees and great swathes of the Atlantic as well. The Basque Country (‘Euskadi’ in its own language) has four Spanish and three French provinces, as well as its own traditions, customs, history and pride.

As if to underline the region’s uniqueness, science seems to prove the Basques are a genetically singular and distinct group, and the Basque language, Euskara, appears to be a similar one-off, with no known relation to any other language. In short, then, although lots of regions worldwide claim a kind of distinct and independent identity, the Basques do seem to have something going for them along those lines …