The Basque language, known to natives as Euskera, is the only language isolate in Western Europe, meaning that it is the only existing language that has no known living ‘relatives’: it is unique! Linguists and historians alike have attempted to discover a link between Basque and other languages, but, despite trying to connect it to languages such as Egyptian, as well as languages of Asia and North America, no connection has been found.
The ancestral form of Basque was introduced into Western Europe several thousand years ago, whereas the majority of the languages spoken today arrived much later. The first written records of the Basque language can be traced back to the first century BC.
Basque has been a co-official language in the three Basque regions of Vizcaya, Alava and Guipuzcoa since 1979. However, it has no official status in France. In 2006, it was recorded that Basque was spoken by just over 1 million people from the south-western French town of Bayonne to the Spanish city Bilbao, stretching from the coast and reaching 30 miles inland.