Basque in France

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Basque people have lived in the Pyrenees Mountains that straddles Spain and southern France since before the Roman Empire. They were there before the Iberians arrived in Spain. The Basques themselves would claim that they have never been conquered, though, judging from the amount of borrowed words from Latin to the Basque language, euskera, they must have had regular contact with the Romans around the time of Christ.

From Roman times to the present, the Basques have been "a group apart" in Spain. They were never actually conquered by the Visigoths, nor the Moors, and have always rebelled against Spanish domination as well. In terms of physical features (high incidence of O blood type and RH negative factor), archaeology of that region, and their unique Basque language, euskera, they are clearly an ancient people who have lived in this corner of the world and maintained their unique identity down through the centuries, even millenniums. The Basque language, euskera, is a linguistic mystery in that it has no clear relationship to any other language in the world!

Traditionally, the Basques were fishermen, sheep herders, and subsistence farmers. Until the early nineteen hundreds, their way of life was largely unchanged. During the Industrial Revolution, they began to take on a more prominent "world role" due to large deposits of iron and coal along with their skills as shipbuilders. Then during the Franco years in Spain (1935-1975), Franco encouraged Spanish businesses to move to the Basque Country in an attempt to dilute the strong Basque influence. As a result, the autonomous region, the Basque Country, is now among the most powerful economic regions in all of Spain and many small businesses and industry dot the landscape -- both in towns and cities as well as in the countryside.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Wherever they live, the Basques have a strong work ethic, and they love to work. They sometimes say, "I hope you have lots of work," which is their way of saying "have a great day." They value hard work over higher education, position and even money. Though Basque country is mainly rural, the Basques are noted for their ability to adjust to urban settings.

Their identity is often Basque, but others identify with Spain or France. There are far fewer Basques in France than in Spain. The Basque region of France has a thriving tourist industry. People come to enjoy the natural beauty, the restaurants and museums. The Basques in France enjoy their own festivals and games such as pelota, a ball game that dates back to the Roman Empire.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Catholic Church around the world has a mission strategy of syncretism, and this also applies to the Basques. Catholics accept the "traditional beliefs" of the new people, and then try to re-create those in a Catholic form. Catholics would say that they are successful in that. Others tend to disagree.

First of all, the Basques are a very proud people -- proud of their history, their culture and their standing in the world. And there is much for which to be proud. But as they go back to reconnect with their pagan past, many of those influences are not spiritually healthy. Even within the syncretistic Catholic Church, there are many traditions and celebrations that are not spiritually healthy. The Church´s emphasis on biblical teaching (rather than church tradition) is very weak overall.

Most Basques still claim Catholicism if they claim any religious affiliation at all, but it is only a cultural form of Catholicism. Even in that limited sense, any real allegiance to the church has been greatly weakened in the last couple of decades.

What Are Their Needs?

The Basques need a constructive identity. Some Basques in France put their identity in Basque nationalism. Others might put their identity in the Roman Catholic Church. Very few have put their identity in Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Holy Spirit to move among Basques in France, giving them a firm identity in Christ.
Pray for a greater understanding of the need to reach out to the Basque people in their own language, euskera.
Pray for the Lord to thrust out his children to take Christ to them in the euskera language.
Pray for a renewal among the Catholic Church of Basque Country and Spain. Pray for renewal and revival that will place their feet on the Rock.
Pray for a new movement of prayer, the International Day of Prayer for the Basque Country, that would capture the hearts of intercessors around the world.
Pray that God would call Basque believers to himself that would feel a keen burden to disciple others in the ways of Jesus Christ.

Scripture Prayers for the Basque in France.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Basque
People Name in Country Basque
Pronunciation bask
Alternate Names Eskualdunak; Euzkadi
Population this Country 157,000
Population all Countries 2,359,000
Total Countries 12
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 3
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 4  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed
People ID 10709
ROP3 Code 101106
ROP25 Code 300937
ROP25 Name Basque
Country France
Region Europe, Western
Continent Europe
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Aquitaine region: Pyrenees Atlantiques province, Labourd (Lapurdi) and Basse-Navarre departments, Bayonne and Soule areas; border with Spain.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country France
Region Europe, Western
Continent Europe
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Aquitaine region: Pyrenees Atlantiques province, Labourd (Lapurdi) and Basse-Navarre departments, Bayonne and Soule areas; border with Spain..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Religion: Christianity
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 1.00 %)
70.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
30.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Basque
Language Code eus   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
Primary Language Basque
Language Code eus   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
People Groups Speaking Basque
Photo Source Tomás Crevillén Gómez 
Map Source Eddo - Wikimedia  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

Joshua Project logo    Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Contact Us   Copyright © 2024