The Best of Basque

Basque Language, unsolved mystery

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El País Basque is a fate that possibly have known through the novel “Party” of Ernest Hemingway, published in 1926, where relates the experiences of a group of young travellers after the First World War. Hemingway Felt attracted by the Basque Country because of the fortress of his people and his tragic history. This region finds situated among the north of Spain and the south of France, and the Basques have struggled by his liberty since they were attached by Spain in the 16th century.



Ernest Hemingway on one of his first visits to the Basque Country. Photo: Basque Country Tourism.

The Enigma of the Basque Language

In the Basque Country, the language and the politics are closely interwoven. The Basque, the Basque language, does not look neither to the Spanish (graces = eskerrik asko) neither to the French. 

His structure is so different that the linguists doubt of his origin indoeuropeo, that is the linguistic family of which arose the Icelandic, the Russian, the Hindi and the majority of the others languages. Like the only isolated linguistic of Europe, the origin of the Basque keeps on being a mystery without resolving.


The Historical Legacy

Along the years, numerous researchers have tried desentrañar the enigma of the Basque, each one arriving to different conclusions. It has suggested that the Basque is a precursor and survivor of the íbero, a tongue no indoeuropea spoken in the Iberian peninsula before the arrival of the Romans. Also it has related the Basque with several languages spoken in the Cáucaso and with the bereberes of the Sahara, an ethnic group preárabe north of Africa.


The first evidence of the presence of Basque in the Basque Country is much older than previously known. The remains discovered by archaeologists at the Iruña-Veleia site in Álava, located 10 kilometers from Vitoria, would dismiss some theories that suggested the current Basque language did not directly originate from the pre-Roman era, but rather arrived more recently from southern France.

The findings have uncovered the earliest written testimonies of common words in Basque, which could be dated between the 3rd and 6th centuries. The previously known earliest record, alongside Castilian, was found in the glosses of San Millán from the 11th century.

The Influence of the Geography

Historically, thought that the Basques descended of a population paleolítica that did not see affected by the prehistoric migrations that gave form to the rest of Europe. This would explain why the Basque differs of the languages romances and Germanic. However, recent genetic investigations have denied this hypothesis, indicating that the Basque Country did not isolate culturally of other European societies until periods much later, during the roman and Islamic occupations of the Iberian peninsula.

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a picturesque island off the coast of the Basque Country, known for its iconic stone bridge, historic chapel, and stunning coastal views.

The geography of the Basque Country has been a factor determinant in his history and development. Protected by the Gulf of Vizcaya and the mountains of the Pyrenees, the rugged terrain has maintained to the forasteros #move and has averted that the venues abandon the region. This geographic isolation has contributed to the singularity and persistence of the Basque.



Culture, Identity and Challenges

The Basque is a symbol of the cultural identity of the Basque Country and exerts a fundamental paper in the construction of the Basque community. Along the history, the language has been a tool of resistance and a form to maintain live the Basque culture in time of change and challenges. 

Organisations and governmental entities encourage for promoting and preserve the Basque through educational programs, cultural initiatives and support to the education of the tongue in the schools.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Basque is not related with any another Latin language, like the Spanish or the French, and is entirely only. The language was spoken in the majority of the Basque rural areas until finals of the 19th century, in spite of forming part of Spain.



The strongest distinction among the Basques and his traditional neighbours is linguistic. Surrounded of speakers of tongues romances, the Basques traditionally spoke (and many still speak) a language that no only is no romance, but no indoeuropeo.

In the Basque Country coexisten two official languages: the Spanish and the Basque, the most ancient language of Europe, that does not have relation with any another language in the world. The Spanish is not a language complicated.

They see and it discovers the fascinante Basque Country, a place of histories cautivadoras, challenges surpassed and a vibrant culture! You will be able to admire the beauty of his nature, taste his exquisite gastronomy and submerge you in the rich cultural tradition of his festivities and traditional dances. It expects you a cosy and passionate community that values deeply his language and cultural inheritance. They see and are witness of the alive history of the Basque Country!

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Irene was born and raised in Bilbao. She has a deep rooted passion for her country and culture. She has a Bachelors degree in education and has traveled to over 85 countries throughout the world.
List of professional guides in the Basque Country

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Zachary was born in Michigan, USA. He has lived in the Basque Country for over 10 years, and fell in love with the natural beauty and quality of life found here. He earned a Bachelors degree in economics from DePaul University in Chicago.