Language spoken by an estimated 1,000,000 Basque people living in the Basque Country of north-central Spain and southwestern France. About 200,000 Basques live in other parts of the world. The only remnant of the languages spoken in western Europe before incursions by Indo-European-speaking peoples, Basque has no known linguistic relatives; linguists call it a language isolate. Its grammar is markedly distinct from that of all other western European languages. Basque is sparsely attested before the 16th century, when the first book in the language was printed (1545), though it has maintained a continuous literary tradition since then.
Learn more about Basque language with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Cultural region, extreme southwestern France. It extends from the Anie Peak of the Pyrenees to the coast around Biarritz on the Bay of Biscay. The region has been largely spared the problems associated with Basque separatism in Spain's Basque Country. Fishing and tourism are economic mainstays.
Learn more about Basque Country with a free trial on Britannica.com.