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Navarra is an autonomous region and province, located in the very north west part of Spain, and the capital city of Andorra is Pamplona. The present-day region and the French department of Pyrénées-Atlantiques constituted, during the Middle Ages, the independent kingdom of Navarre.

The Basques first appeared in written history late in the 1st century bc, when they successfully withstood the Roman invaders of Spain. They maintained their independence throughout the period of Roman rule of the Iberian Peninsula. The Basques adopted Christianity between the 3rd and 5th centuries. In the 6th century they fought fiercely and successfully against the Visigoths. Late in the 6th century groups of Spanish Basques migrated northward across the Pyrenees to Aquitania, which thereafter was known as Gascony.

When a Spanish kingdom was established late in the 15th century, the Basque provinces preserved their customs, laws, and diplomatic relations with other countries with slight variation until 1876, when the provinces were absorbed by Spain. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), an autonomous Basque state was established by the Republican government, but the victory of the Nationalists under General Francisco Franco ended this regime.

In July 1997 a new wave of violence began when a Basque separatist group known as the ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, Basque for Basque Homeland and Liberty) killed a young town councilor who was a member of Spain’s ruling political party. Millions of people throughout Spain marched in protest against the ETA’s violent tactics.

Area of the region, 10,391 sq km (4,012 sq mi); population (2003) 578,210.

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