- History & Culture
How the Basques became an autonomous community within Spain
The centuries-long struggle for Basque independence may set an example for similar groups in the country.
Travel through Basque country in northern Spain, and you’ll encounter breathtaking coastal vistas, rocky landscapes and tranquil farms. You’ll also meet Basque people, whose history is one of pride, oppression, and struggle.
The Basque ethnic group comes from a region of southwest France and northwest Spain known to outsiders as Basque and to Basque people as Euskal Herria. “Euskal” refers to Euskara, the Basque language, which is linguistically distinct from French, Spanish and indeed any other language. Spoken by approximately 28 percent of modern Basques, it’s unclear exactly where it came from, how it developed, or why it is so distinctive. There are at least six Basque dialects, but the majority of Basques speak a standardized version developed in