Who are the Basques and Where do the Basques come from?

Basques are a people with an unusual distinction: they are Europe’s oldest known ethnic group.

To look at them, you might think they are Spanish, but their homeland, known as the Basque country, straddles both southwest France and northern Spain.

Their native language is not Spanish but Basque, which has no known ties to any other language. Even their blood is distinctive. They almost never have type B or AB blood, but they have the highest incidence of type 0 and Rh-negative factor of any ethnic group in the world.

Basques are believed to have lived in their homeland since the Stone Age, retaining ancient customs despite wave after wave of invaders. Some came to the New World with the conquistadors; others came to the United States directly from Spain or France.

Privately, Basques call themselves Euskaldunaks, speakers of the language Euskera. Basque was the name given to them by the ancient Romans.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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