Basque in Mexico

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.

Though most Basques live in their Pyrenees Mountain homeland which straddles Spain and France, some have migrated. Most Basque migrants are in Europe, though they are also represented in the Americas and the Philippines.

The Basques were prominent in Spain’s colonial empire, both in the Philippines and Latin America. The Spanish Crown needed bureaucrats, ranchers, businessmen and soldiers for their colonial holdings. Others were shipbuilders and sea traders. According to Basque traditions, only the first born son would inherit the family assets. Others had to go elsewhere, and the colonies provided opportunity. Mexico was the destination for many of these hoping to start anew, especially businessmen involved in import-export trade.

Typically, the first Basques to go to Latin America were young men. As time went on, they sent for brides. Those who owned businesses invited others in their villages to work for them in Mexico. Though there have been many important people throughout Mexican history with a Basque ethnic background, few Basques remain in that country.

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.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Basques were among the last peoples of Spain to embrace Catholicism. When they did so, however, they did in mass. For many years, the Basque Country was the most Catholic in all of Spain. They contributed leaders to the Catholic Church, including Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits.

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, for the most part, a cultural Catholicism only. 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 put their identity in nationalism. Others might put their identity in the Roman Catholic Church. Very few in Mexico 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 Mexico, 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 Mexico.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Basque
People Name in Country Basque
Pronunciation bask
Alternate Names Eskualdunak; Euzkadi
Population this Country 26,000
Population all Countries 2,359,000
Total Countries 12
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 3
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed
People ID 10709
ROP3 Code 101106
ROP25 Code 300937
ROP25 Name Basque
Country Mexico
Region America, Latin
Continent North America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 37  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Country Mexico
Region America, Latin
Continent North America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 37  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)

No people group map currently available. Use the above button to submit a map.

Primary Religion: Christianity
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 1.00 %)
95.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
5.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Basque (26,000 speakers)
Language Code eus   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Basque (26,000 speakers)
Language Code eus   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Basque
Photo Source Tomás Crevillén Gómez 
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