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The corresponding Basque names of these territories are Araba, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa, and their Spanish names are Álava, Vizcaya and Guipúzcoa.The BAC only includes three of the seven provinces of the currently called historical territories.
Alfonso Irigoyen posits that the word euskara is derived from an ancient Basque verb enautsi "to say" (cf.Under Spain's present constitution, Navarre (Nafarroa in present-day Basque, Navarra historically in Spanish) constitutes a separate entity, called in present-day Basque Nafarroako Foru Erkidegoa, in Spanish Comunidad Foral de Navarra (the autonomous community of Navarre).The government of this autonomous community is the Government of Navarre.Castile deprived Navarre of its coastline by conquering key western territories (1199–1201), leaving the kingdom landlocked.The Basques were ravaged by the War of the Bands, bitter partisan wars between local ruling families.It is thought that Basques are a remnant of the early inhabitants of Western Europe, specifically those of the Franco-Cantabrian region.
Basque tribes were already mentioned in Roman times by Strabo and Pliny, including the Vascones, the Aquitani, and others.
It is sometimes referred to simply as "the Basque Country" (or Euskadi) by writers and public agencies only considering those three western provinces, but also on occasions merely as a convenient abbreviation when this does not lead to confusion in the context.
Others reject this usage as inaccurate and are careful to specify the BAC (or an equivalent expression such as "the three provinces", up to 1978 referred to as "Provincias Vascongadas" in Spanish) when referring to this entity or region.
One item of evidence in favour of this hypothesis is found in the Spanish book Compendio Historial, written in 1571 by the Basque writer Esteban de Garibay.
He records the name of the Basque language as enusquera. In the 19th century, the Basque nationalist activist Sabino Arana posited an original root euzko which, he thought, came from eguzkiko ("of the sun", related to the assumption of an original solar religion).
There is enough evidence to support the hypothesis that at that time and later they spoke old varieties of the Basque language (see: Aquitanian language).