Collection Description

Brief Culture Description

Culture Name

Basque Americans

Culture Description

Basque Americans are an ethnic minority in the United States and Canada. There are small numbers of Basques in British Columbia, Quebec, and the eastern seaboard in Canada. Basques are present in every state of the United States, but are concentrated in California, Idaho, and Nevada. Basques are particularly noted for an identification with sheepherding and are often present in the open-range livestock districts of all thirteen states of the American West.


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North America --Regional and Ethnic Cultures


United States

OWC Code


Collection Information

Number of Documents


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Number of Pages


Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in this eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The Basque Americans file consists of nine English language documents, covering a time span from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1990s. Of these, four have been written by William A. Douglass (1979, 1981, 1992, 1975, nos. 4-7) one of the foremost scholars on the Basques. His works provide an excellent background for a study of the Basques of North America, containing information on cultural history, general ethnography, immigration patterns, settlements, and the manner in which Basque ethnicity has been maintained. Nearly all documents in this file contain information on sheep herding, as well as on cultural assimilation, cultural associations, recreational activities, and other forms of economic pursuits (other than sheep herding). In addition to the above, Araujo (1974, no. 1) also provides some interesting data on the effects of hydatid disease (Echinococcosis species) on human and animal populations in California. The significance of the Basque hotel is frequently mentioned in many of the works in this file. A study of the hotel in all its manifestations, is specifically detailed in Echeverria (Echeverria 1988, no 9).

For more detailed information on any of the individual works in this file, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

This culture summary is from the article, "Basques" by William A. Douglass in the Encyclopedia of World Cultures, Vol 1. 1991. Timothy O'Leary and David Levinson, eds. Boston, Mass.: G.K. Hall & Co. The synopsis and indexing notes were prepared by John Beierle, August 1996.

Overview by

John Beierle

Collection Indexing Notes

ARDINAGUSIA -- the sheep owner -- category 233

ARTZAINAK -- herdsmen -- categories 233, 464

CONBENIO -- a sheep-raising contract -- categories 233, 675

INDARRA -- force of strength -- depending on context, categories 761, 147, 827, 828

KAMPERO -- camptender -- categories 233, 464

OSTATUAK -- boarding house or hotel -- category 485, (sometimes with 362)

SENDOTASUNA -- physical prowess and strength of character -- categories 147, 827, 828

sheepmen's organizations -- categories 233, 575

Indexing Notes by

John Beierle

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