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Memory traces

Encounters with other cultures, adapting to the environment, borders... Challenges that seem right up to date were also part of our ancestors' everyday life. This space wishes to help us think about moments and milestones that have been essential in the formation and development of the Basque Country, from prehistory to the 18th century and that have made their mark on its evolution. Traditions, characters, myths, episodes, events.... in short, some of the most important pieces making up this great jigsaw that is the universe of Basque society.

Signs of spirituality

For centuries, Basque people have maintained the rites around death and the cult of their ancestors. Steles in graveyards and along pathways or argizaiolas in some churches survive to this day.

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Origins

From the first Palaeolithic settlements 150,000 years ago, human beings have been sharing places of life and death. They adapt to the environment and evolve: they live in caves and live in the open air; they move from an economy based on scavenging and hunting, to another more planned structure where agriculture takes the fore; they show their spiritual sensitivity by honouring and burying their ancestors.

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The search for protection

Medieval society protected people who prayed, worked and went to war. It was a time when there was hope for finding order in the beyond, turning God into the other principle that is capable of giving sense to life. The feudal lords, the so-called 'Parientes Mayores', managed and articulated the daily existence of Basque society.

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Opening up to the world

At the end of the 15th century, there was an opening up to the world that had a great impact on Basque territories. This new perception, accompanied by commercial or scientific interests, by discovery and/or conquering, made society look at the sea with new eyes. The sea is not only a place for fishing or a hostile place, but an environment that can be controlled to a certain extent and full of opportunities.

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Dare to know!

Kant's "Dare to Know!" is the emblem of a time that puts Reason and Science in the place where Faith and Religion once stood. New times, compared to the darkness represented by the outrages of the Inquisition, brought progress and scientific advances. This was a society searching to realise the individual in their earthly life rather than seeking out their eternal salvation.

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