|Guernica (ɡɜːˈniːkə, ˈɡɜːnɪkə, Spanish ɡɛrˈnika)|
|Basque name: Gernika a town in N Spain: formerly the seat of a Basque parliament; destroyed in 1937 by German bombers during the Spanish Civil War, an event depicted in one of Picasso's most famous paintings. Pop: 15 454 (2003 est)|
city, just northeast of Bilbao, Vizcaya provincia (province), in the comunidad autonoma (autonomous community) of Basque Country, northern Spain. The city, on the Rio de Plencia (Butron) near the inlet of the Bay of Biscay, is the statutory capital of the former lordship of Vizcaya, sacred to the Basques. It is symbolized by a venerable oak, the Guernikako arbola (tree of Guernica), under the branches of which the batzarraks (councils) of Vizcaya met to determine defense policies and to receive royal assurances of fueros (charters of privileges), which were retained from the Middle Ages through the 19th century. In 1366 Count Tello organized Guernica as an enclave, autonomous from the surrounding district of Luno, a status that endured until 1882, when Guernica and Luno were united as a municipality.
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