National Geographic : 1922 Jan
THE LAND OF THE BASQUES A PANORAMA OF BILBAO FROM MONTE CABRAS Looking down from and shipbuilding yards. industrious and efficient Photograph by Casa Lux highly cultivated fields to the Nervion River, with its iron foundries The Basques are not only progressive manufacturers, but also agriculturists. white cap of Don Carlos, took part in the "lost cause," and at the conclusion of the second Carlist War, in 1876, Alfonso XII, triumphant with victory, immediately at tended to the matter of the fueros of the Basques, abrogating most of them in a peremptory manner. Thus the much-hated salt monopoly of the Spanish Government was introduced into the three provinces along with the more-hated tobacco mon opoly and with the most-hated "quinta," or military conscription. The provincial governments still retain, however, a semblance of their ancient in dependence. At the village of Guernica, a charming little place some nine miles from Bilbao, there is still pointed out, with great pride, the spot where stood the "Guernikako Arbola," the tree of Guer nica, in a little plaza in front of the Casa de Juntas. It was under this oak tree that the Basque deputies met every two years before the abolition of their fueros. There also remains a small remnant of the old military forces of the provinces soldiers in blue blouses, red trousers, and soft red caps-who are now employed as customs and coast guards and in assisting the Guardia Civil as rural police. They are called milones. BILBAO, THE PITTSBURGH OF SPAIN Picture a small, round valley nestling among wondrous green hills, some of which are almost worthy of the name of mountains, with a river carefully making a letter S or two in order to enter this beautiful stronghold. That is the site of Bilbao, with its hundred thousand souls, the largest Basque city and the second seaport of Spain. The river is the Nervion, which has been canalized from the city to the Bay of Biscay, eight miles distant, so that sea going merchant vessels come to town, passing the Ayuntamiento, the beautiful municipal building, on their way, and dropping anchor within a stone's throw of the Teatro Arriga, one of the finest theaters in Spain. The hills encircle the city so closely that the ribbons of railways seeking entry from north, east, south, and west attain their end only by plunging into smoky tunnels.