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16th text commentary: Elimination of the Economic Concert

This document deals with the elimination of the Economic Concert in Biscay and Gipuzkoa. It is a legal text; a law. It was written in 1937, this is, at the end of the Civil War in the Basque territories and the author is Francisco Franco. Being an official 1st level text, its target readers are all citizens.

After the elimination of the fueros of the Basque territories in 1876, basque people were given the Economic Concert. Even though losing the fueros meant losing autonomy and not having their own legislation, with the Economic Concert basques maintained some privileges. However, with this text Franco eliminated them. By the date this document was written, the hostilities of the Civil War in the northern area had already finished. We can consider that it was the end of the Civil War in the northern front. Due to that, the situation in the Basque Country changed a lot. When the war started, the Basque Country was divided. Alava and Navarre supported the upraise of the militaries and Gipuzkoa and Biscay continued being loyal to the Republic. The Basque Country was conquered quickly because of different reasons.  In the Basque Country there were iron factories, that could be used to make weapons (necessary in war). Franco wanted to take control of the area in order to use the iron industry for their own benefit. Moreover, Franco had international support. Nazis destroyed different cities of the Basque Country such as Gernika or Durango. The same happened with the Italian brigadist. 

The Economic Concert was a privileged system of tax collection. It supposed that citizens of the Basque Country had to pay less taxes. In the text they mention two different regions. On the one hand Navarre, that had been loyal to Franco. On the other hand, Basque provinces (Araba, Gipuzkoa and Biscay). However, those three territories could be separated into two groups. One would be the case of Araba, that was loyal to the coup d’etat and supported Franco, whereas the other group would be formed by Gipuzkoa and Biscay. Franco named these two provinces as “traitor provinces” . These provinces were opposed to Franco and supported the Republic, this is, the democratically elected government. The idea of Franco was to eliminate the Economic Concert for the “traitor provinces” whereas Araba and Navarre would keep it. The institution that had controlled the economy of the Basque Country was “Diputaciones”. However, the role of this entity was going to be reduced since the Economic Concert was eliminated.

All in all, Franco used  a policy of repression against the Basque Country, specially in the linguistic aspect. Basque language was even forbidden and it was almost impossible to use it, at least in public. Therefore, opposition to the regime emerged quickly in the Basque Country. That opposition was sometimes conducted even by the priests because they thought that some things that Franco said were illogical. For example, they thought that it was illogical to prohibit someone from using a certain language. Franco even sent some priests to the foreign countries and some foreign priests were sent to the Basque Country in order not to speak Basque. The elimination of the Economic Concert of the was not finally deterrent for the future industrial development of the Basque Country and after the war, once the situation was re-established, Basque Country’s industry continued developing.

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