The Basque People and Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA)

Essay by PeachPittHigh School, 12th gradeA-, June 2006

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The actions of the Basque terrorist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna have been the cause of great unrest in Spain for several years. From the group's formation in 1958 to their proclaimed cease-fire in 2006, ETA has been involved in hundreds of acts of bombings, assassinations, and kidnappings in the name of an independent Basque country out of provinces in Spain and France. Having been operated in nearly 200 different cells, ETA has been one of the hardest terror groups to control and maintain. In its long and violent history, ETA has left a legacy of murderous violence.

The conflict in the Basque-dominated areas of Spain and France has a long and troublesome history. For as long as 75 BCE, the Basque people, linguistically different from their French and Spanish neighbors, inhabited the area of modern-day Spain and France. They were strongly self-ruling and had a very democratic government. Their prosperity was shattered, however, in the 11th century when Latin peoples conquered the areas and forced the Basques into tiny provinces along the Bay of Biscay.

Over times both the Spanish and French monarchs would dissolve Basque rights and subjected them to acts of oppression. Even more persecution took place after the French Revolution, as the Basques were constrained to join the French military and serve the French government. In Spain, the Basques lived freely until the 19th century, when, after their support of King Carlos V during the "Carlist Wars", were taken over by the new Spanish government. After years of self-rule, the Basques were now confined to the rule of others.

It was during the rule of fascist dictator Francisco Franco that the Basques began to take a stand for their right to a homeland. The Franco regime had only caused more trouble for the Basques, as the fascist...