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 Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Cuba with those of Basque ancestry in the hundreds of thousands; Mexico and Venezuela (an estimated 5,000 to 50,000 descendants), Canada, and the United States.
People of Basque descent make up 10% of Argentina's population, and it was the main destination for Basques emigrating from both Spain and France in the 19th and 20th centuries. Basques have left an indelible imprint on Argentine culture and politics, with many place names and surnames, including those of several Presidents. 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.
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, entrepreneurship, and "whiteness" 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).
It is estimated that up to 10% of Uruguay's population has at least one parent with a Basque surname. The first wave of Basque immigrants to Uruguay came from the French side of the Basque country beginning about 1824.
|This section requires expansion. (November 2010)|
See also History of Newfoundland and Labrador.
An estimated of 2% of Mexicans have some amount of Basque descent and that community has increased in size from immigration from Spain in the early 20th century. The Spanish Civil War in the 1930s brought over tens of thousands of refugees from the Basque Country to political asylum in Mexico and Latin America.
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 small shops owners in major cities like Mexico City, Guadalajara and Puebla.
Basque names are found in many places throughout Northeastern Mexico, such as Durango, Victoria, Zuazua and Arramberri - the first province in the north of the Viceroyalty of New Spain (Mexico) to be explored and settled by the Spanish, Nueva Vizcaya, comprised the territory of today's states of Chihuahua and Durango.
Many notable Mexicans have been of Basque extraction, such as Agustín de Iturbide, emperor of the First Mexican Empire, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, seventeenth century scholar and poet, Juan de Oñate, Francisco "Pancho" Villa, Vicente Fox, as well as directors and actors: María Félix, Dolores del Río, and Alejandro González Iñárritu.
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.
The largest concentration of Basque Americans is in the Boise, Idaho, area, where approximately 15,000 Basque Americans live. 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 Bizkaia (Vizcaya in Spanish, Biscay in English) in northern Spain.
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. 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 Durango, Colorado, Trepassey, Biscayne Cove 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').
Saint-Pierre et Miquelon
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.
Basque immigrants comprised part of the Spanish expatriate population of the Philippines during the Spanish colonial period. Most of them were soldiers and sailors in the military and navy of the Spanish Empire, merchants, missionaries, and clergy. Families of Basque ancestry, over time, slowly integrated into the Philippine social landscape, developing themselves into some of the most prominent families in the country. Basque descendants in the Philippines today consider themselves to be Filipinos and remain influential in the business and political sectors of the country. They include the Aboitiz family, the Zobel de Ayala family, the Araneta family and political clans like the Zubiri and the Ozámiz families.
Basque Diaspora in documentaries
- 2012 Guk, we (Nuria Vilalta)
- 2010 Amerikanuak (Gorka Bilbao and Nacho Reig)
- 2007 ¡Gora Vasco! (Milonga de temple y carretilla) (Roberto Arizmendi)
- Spanish Filipino
- Basque Mexican
- Carlos Loyzaga
- Azcárraga family
- Juana Inés de la Cruz
- Agustín de Iturbide
- Jai Alai
- Che Guevara
- Simón Bolívar
- Pedro Arrupe
- Augusto Pinochet
- Thunder in the Sun
- Francis Xavier
Notes and references
- (Spanish) Vascos en Argentina.
- entrevista al Presidente de la Cámara vasca.
- vascos Ainara Madariaga: Autora del estudio "Imaginarios vascos desde Chile La construcción de imaginarios vascos en Chile durante el siglo XX".
- Basques au Chili.
- 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".
- (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.
- El 27% de los chilenos son descendientes de emigrantes vascos. DE LOS VASCOS, OÑATI Y LOS ELORZA Waldo Ayarza Elorza.
- (Spanish) Presencia vasca en Chile.
- "«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." 
- Christian, Shirley (November 21, 1989). "Montevideo Journal: Basques Have Lots to Boast of (and at Times Do)". The New York Times. Retrieved April 26, 2010. "A fourth of Uruguay's three million people have at least one parent with a Basque surname."
- Los vascos de México. Siglos XVI-XVIII
- Jaialdi 2005 kicks off, The Idaho Statesman, July 25, 2005.
- "The Basque Community of Boise, Idaho".
- Marciano R. de Borja (2005). Basques in the Philippines. The Basque Series. University of Nevada Press. ISBN 0-87417-590-9.
- Cecil Morella (March 21, 2010). "House of Aboitiz: Basques who helped build the Philippines". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
- Benjamin Espiritu III (September 29, 2010). "The Basque Culture and its Contributions to the Philippines". School of Humanities, Ateneo de Manila University. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
- Worldwide Basque Organizations
- The Basque Club of North Queensland, Australia
- Center for Basque Studies, University of Nevada, Reno
- Cenarrusa Center for Basque Studies, Boise State University
- "Basques Around the World, Generic Emigrants or Diaspora?" by Gloria P. Totoricagüena: