Basque Background

The greater region of Basque country is located on the shores of the Bay of Biscay, in the western Pyrenees of the Basque Country and Navarre in Spain and the Northern Basque Country in France. Home to the population of about 3 million people, it has three official languages – Basque, Spanish and French, and no official capital. The biggest cities are Bilbao and Pamplona, famous for its San Fermin festival, running of the bulls, and chorizo. Formerly, the Basque Country became notorious for the terrorist attacks of ETA, an armed Basque nationalist and separatist organization. More recently the small region is famous for its Basque tapas, Basque Mountains and the fashion designer Paco Rabanne. Spoken by under a million people, Basque is sometimes called the oldest language in Europe. Being a genetic language isolate, Basque is used by parents all over the world to give their child a name of singular origin, and the etymology that is in contrast with all other European languages.