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The Basque Country or Euskal Herria, the country of the Basque language, is a territory of traditions, cultures and Basque history, traditional land of the indigenous people of Basques. Called in the Middle Ages Vasconia and most probably Cantabria in Roman times, it stretches from the Ebro to the Adour, on two countries, mainly Spain and France, straddling the western end of the chain Pyrenees, and is bathed by the Bay of Biscay.
The French Basque Country or Basque Country North (Iparralde in Basque) is the part of the Basque Country located on French territory. It is the northern part of the Basque Country, with the three historical provinces of Labourd, Soule and Lower Navarre. It is also the western part of the Pyrenees-Atlantiques. The French Basque Country covers an area of 2995 km² and is bounded on the north by the Landes Department, on the west by the Gulf of Gascony, on the south by the Bidassoa and the Pyrenees, which separate it from the Spanish Basque Country, and to the east by the Béarn, which forms the eastern part of the department.
Fishing is an economic activity very present in the Basque Country as evidenced by the many ports that one finds there. In the past, Basque people were actively fishing for whales, from which many derived products such as soap and oil were extracted. But with the dwindling whales and the ban on hunting, the basques turned to cod fishing in the 19th century. The port of Saint-Jean-de-Luz is typical and allows to find all the atmosphere of a Basque port.
The Basque Country is a highly rural region for 90% of its territory. Maize dominates agricultural crops in the French Basque Country and Pyrénées-Atlantiques is the second largest national department in terms of maize production. Some producers prefer to turn to other productions such as Espelette pepper, Itxassou black cherry, cider apples or organic products. The mountainous regions are conducive to the raising of ewes for the production of cheese, the Basque Country is notably famous for the diversity of ewe's cheeses with protected appellations such as ossau-iraty.