Basque diaspora: Wikis


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The Basque diaspora is the name given to describe people of Basque origin living outside their traditional homeland on the borders between Spain and France. Many Basques have left the Basque Country for other parts of the globe for economic and political reasons, with substantial populations in Chile, Argentina, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and the United States.


Basques in Argentina

People of Basque descent make up 10% of Argentina's population,[1] and it was the main destination for Basques emigrating from both Spain and France in the 19th and 20th centuries. Basques have left a strong mark on Argentine culture and politics, with many place names and surnames, including those of several Presidents, betraying their Basque roots. After several generations, a sense of Basque heritage is still strong, maintained through numerous Basque cultural centres in major cities. Argentine sportspeople with Basque surnames have frequently been nicknamed El Vasco.

Basques in Chile

Many Basques arrived in Chile in the 18th century from their homeland in northern Spain (see Basque Provinces) and parts of southwestern France, as merchants and due to their hard work and entrepreneurship rose to the top of the social scale and intermarried into the Chilean elites. This union is the basis of the Chilean elite of today. Thousands of Basque refugees fleeing Spanish Civil War on 1939 also settled and have many descendants in the country and have even intermarried with, other Spanish ethnic groups other than Castilians, and other European ethnic groups. An estimated range of Basque-Chileans from 10% (1,600,000) to as high as 27% (4,500,000).[2][3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

Miguel de Unamuno stated that two things could be clearly attributed to the Basques: The Jesuits and the Republic of Chile. [10].

Basques in Uruguay

It is estimated that up to 10% of Uruguay's population has at least one parent with a Basque surname.[11] The first wave of Basque immigrants to Uruguay came from the French side of the Basque country beginning about 1824.

Basques in Mexico

(See: Category:Mexicans of Basque descent)

Most Mexicans of Basque descent are concentrated in the cities of Monterrey, Saltillo, Camargo, and the states of Jalisco, Durango, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, and Coahuila. The Basques were important in the mining industry, many were ranchers and vaqueros (cowboys), and the rest opened small shops in major cities like Mexico City, Guadalajara and Puebla.

In Baja California, the Basque surname of Aramburuzabala is today one of the most known in that state, as well as in the neighboring state of Coahuila.

Basque place names are found many places in Mexico, such as Nuevo Santander, Nueva Vizcaya - the first province in the north of the Viceroyalty of New Spain (Mexico) to be explored and settled by the Spanish - and Durango. Nueva Vizcaya consisted mostly of the area which is today the states of Chihuahua and Durango.

Many notables of Mexican history were of Basque extraction, such as Agustín de Iturbide, emperor of the First Mexican Empire, Juana Inés de la Cruz- a common sight on Mexican paper money, Juan de Oñate, Francisco "Pancho" Villa, Vicente Fox, as well as directors and actors: María Félix, Dolores del Río, and Alejandro González Iñárritu.

Basques in Saint-Pierre et Miquelon

Saint-Pierre et Miquelon is a department of France. There are many people of Basque descent residing there. A Basque flag appears in one quadrant of the department's official banner.

Basques in the United States

There are about 57,000 people of Basque descent living in the United States, according to the 2000 census. This number is highly disputed, however, since before the 1980 census there had never been a federally recognized category for Basques. As a result, Basques were usually categorized as Spanish or French. It is speculated that there are many more Americans of Basque descent who still classify themselves as Spanish, French or Latin American.

A Basque center in Boise
Christmas notice partly in Basque("Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!" in Basque),
also from Boise

The largest concentration of Basque Americans is in the Boise, Idaho, area, where approximately 15,000 Basque Americans live.[12] Boise is home of the Basque Museum and Cultural Center and hosts a large Basque festival known as Jaialdi every five years. A large majority of the Boise Basque community traces its ancestry to Biscay in northern Spain [2].

In South Texas along the Mexican-Texan border of the Rio Grande Valley, many people are of Basque heritage or have Basque surnames. Along this area are many ranches given to colonial Spanish settlers from Basque Country to New Spain which still exist today. They are mostly descendants of settlers from Spain and Mexico, with a number from other parts of Hispanic America.

Other significant Basque populations in the United States are located in Reno, Nevada, and the Central Valley region of California. In Winnemucca, Nevada there is an annual Basque festival that celebrates the dance, cuisine and cultures of the Basque peoples of Spanish, French and Mexican nationalities who arrived in Nevada in the late 19th century. Bakersfield with the whole of Kern County, California is thought to have 50,000 Basque descendants alone. Reno is home to the nation's only Basque Studies Department at the University of Nevada. There also exists a history of Basque culture in Chino, California. In Chino, there are two annual Basque festivals that celebrate the dance, cuisine, and culture of the peoples, and the surrounding area of San Bernardino County has many Basque descendants.

There has been a Basque presence in the Americas from the age of Columbus. Basques under the crown of Castile were among the explorers, priests and Conquistadors of the Spanish Empire. Placenames like Trepassey, Biscayne Cove, Durango and Biscayne Bay remember their foundations. Basques began to come to English-speaking America during the 1848 California Gold Rush. The first wave of Basques were already part of the diaspora who were living in Chile and Argentina and came when they heard word of the discovery of gold. When the gold rush did not pan out for most Basque immigrants, the majority turned to ranching and sheep-herding in California's Central Valley, and later in northern Nevada and southern Idaho. Many more Basques arrived from the Basque Country upon hearing of the success of their comrades in America.

Basque immigration was effectively cut off by the 1921 National Origins Quota Act. Basque immigration was restored by Nevada Senator McCarran's 1952 immigration act, which allowed a quota of 500 Basques (technically 'Spanish Sheep Herders').

Basques in the United Kingdom

Basques in the Soviet Union

During the Spanish Civil War, countries like the United Kingdom, Belgium and the Soviet Union offered to spare Spanish Republican children from the toil of war. They embarked mainly from the Basque ports in the Bay of Biscay. Most of these Warchildren of the Spanish Civil War were returned to their parents after the war. But since the Soviet Union refused to recognize Francoist Spain, the Spanish kids in Russia (mostly children of Basque communists) spent the Second World War and the following decades in the Soviet Union, many of them forming families with Soviet citizens. Some of them migrated to Cuba after the Cuban Revolution. Now the survivors live in Russia as retirees with help from the Spanish governments.

Basques in Asia

There is a small, but thriving Basque population based in Asia. Some of the first Christian missionaries in Asia were of Basque descent such as the Jesuit Francis Xavier who died on Sancian Island off the Chinese Coast. The Jesuit Pedro Arrupe was a witness of the Nagasaki atomic bomb in 1945. Outside of Asia in Oceania, some thousands of French Basque shepherds, farmers and fishermen were invited to settle in Australia and New Zealand.

The Philippines, having been a Spanish colonial territory for 333 years, was a destination for a small number of conquistadors, merchants, clergy, sailors and entrepreneurs that were mostly of Basque origin. These families of Basque lineage, over time, slowly integrated into the Philippine social landscape, developing themselves into some of the most prominent families in the country. This is evident to this day in the market dominance of Basque-originating families such as the Aboitiz shipping magnates, the Zobel de Ayala family and political clans like the Zubiris and the Ozámiz.

Pre-World War Shanghai had a small colony of Basque professional jai alai players.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ (Spanish) Vascos en Argentina.
  2. ^ Diariovasco.
  3. ^ entrevista al Presidente de la Cámara vasca.
  4. ^ vascos Ainara Madariaga: Autora del estudio "Imaginarios vascos desde Chile La construcción de imaginarios vascos en Chile durante el siglo XX".
  5. ^ Basques au Chili.
  6. ^ Contacto Interlingüístico e intercultural en el mundo hispano.instituto valenciano de lenguas y culturas. Universitat de València Cita: " Un 20% de la población chilena tiene su origen en el País Vasco".
  7. ^ (Spanish) La población chilena con ascendencia vasca bordea entre el 15% y el 20% del total, por lo que es uno de los países con mayor presencia de emigrantes venidos de Euskadi.
  8. ^ El 27% de los chilenos son descendientes de emigrantes vascos. DE LOS VASCOS, OÑATI Y LOS ELORZA Waldo Ayarza Elorza.
  9. ^ (Spanish) Presencia vasca en Chile.
  10. ^ "«La Compañía de Jesús y la República de Chile son las dos grandes hazañas del pueblo vascongado», solía decir don Miguel de Unamuno". Miguel de Unamuno used to say "The Company of Jesus and the Republic of Chile are the two great achievements of the Basque people." [1]
  11. ^ "Montevideo Journal: Basques Have Lots to Boast of (and at Times Do)". "A fourth of Uruguay's three million people have at least one parent with a Basque surname."  
  12. ^ Jaialdi 2005 kicks off, The Idaho Statesman, July 25, 2005.

External links

  • "Basques Around the World, Generic Emigrants or Diaspora?" by Gloria P. Totoricagüena: [3]


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