Basque Immigration and Culture in Idaho Essay

October 14, 2020 by Essay Writer

Basque people is one of the most mysterious nations in the world. The country of Basques is situated in Europe (between Spain and France) and Basques are regarded as one of the most ancient nations who managed to preserve their state independence. The language of Basques is the oldest in Europe and researchers think that it is the closest one to a language spoken in pre-historic times (Dinnerstein & Reimers 82).

Basque people were among the first travelers to the New World but they did not settle there until the middle of the eighteenth century when there was significant political and social turmoil in Europe, especially in Spain (Dinnerstein & Reimers 59). Notably, Basques mainly settled in South America and only during the Gold Rush, they came to the USA both from Europe and Latin America. The next wave of immigration was in the first half of the twentieth century when Spain was under the rule of Franco (Miller 219). Basques settled in Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Oregon and California (Olson and Olson Beal 129). These people have been hardworking. Remarkably, herding presupposed being away for a long time and men used to leave their wives to run the household. Women completed all the chores and it is possible to state that they worked equally hard. Some women also started running business, which was mainly running a boarding house. It is necessary to note that Basques were not involved in gold diggers for a long time and they were mainly involved in herding and “dominated the western sheep industry from the end of the nineteenth century” (Dinnerstein & Reimers 66).

As far as Basque culture and ethnic background are concerned, Basques are very conscious of their identity and preserve their traditions. Notably, men of the first generation married Basque women only but later Basque people became more open and marriage patterns changed (Dinnerstein & Reimers 82). Basques have created a variety of associations and organizations aimed at supporting Basque Americans in numerous situations and ways (Miller 225). For instance, in 1960s there were loads of boarding houses where people could eat traditional food, dance traditional dances, listen to Basque music and so on. These houses were often turned into restaurants where traditional food was served, and people could learn how to cook it. Basques are sport lovers and they have competitions during all of their festivals. These sports include, “pelota, jai alai, wood chopping, and weight lifting and carrying”, running, jumping and so on, though it is necessary to note that the two former games are becoming rare (Miller 227).

Basques are devout Catholics and they pass Catholicism to their children. This is why the majority of their festivals are devoted to saints. One of these festivals is the day of San Inazio de Loyola when Basques dance, play music, have competitions and so on. Another festival, which is celebrated similarly, is the St. Ignatius Day picnic held each summer. One of the most famous celebrations is the annual Sheepherder Ball in Boise.

It is necessary to add that Basques are openhearted and friendly people and are ready to work hard to succeed. One of the most distinctive features of these people is that they are particularly determined to preserve their culture, they are proud of their traditions, and they protect and guard them.

Works Cited

Dinnerstein, Leonard, and David M. Reimers. Ethnic Americans: Immigration and American Society. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2013. Print.

Miller, Elizabeth A. “Basques and Basque Americans, 1870-1940.” Immigrants in American History: Arrival, Adaptation, and Integration. Ed. Elliott Robert Barkan. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2013. 219-229. Print.

Olson, James S., and Heather Olson Beal. The Ethnic Dimension in American History. Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons, 2011. Print.

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