The Basques are the main occupants of the Pyrenees-Atlantiques region and the area they occupy is informally called the Basque Country. Physically, the Basques are not very different from the peoples of Western Europe. However, they do not speak an Indo-European language.
Although they have a strong allegiance to Roman Catholicism being among the most observant Spanish Catholics, animism remains a predominant tradition. Over the centuries, Basque traditions change due to the pronounced urban and industrial development of the region. Then, emigration to France and the Americas gradually reduced the population living in the caseríos. Basque customs and language began to disappear, especially in the industrial cities. Only a small community speaks the language, which is found in the mountainous regions, quite far from the country.
The Basque economy
The Basque land is rich in iron ore, which quickly favored the economic development of the region although it is known for cultivation and sheep farming. The household, whose buildings, farm and family also play a prominent role in the Basque economy, besides, there used to be a traditional law of inheritance that ensured the descent of the property intact to a single heir or heiress. The individual farmhouse, called caserío, was therefore in the middle of Basque culture, whose isolation resulted in a strong sense of family kinship among its occupants.