The Basques are deeply committed to Roman Catholicism. They were not converted to Christianity until the 10th century, and while they are today among the most devout Catholics in Spain, animism lives on in their folklore.
The basque language is an official language in France, Spain, and Italy. It is one of the two languages of France (along with French) and is spoken by about half of all Basques in France and Spain. In Italy, where it is known as baschiotto or basco, it is spoken by about 10,000 people.
In France, Spain, and Italy, people who speak only English may be unaware that they are using a language other than Spanish or French when they use terms such as "Basque". These people are actually speaking English but they think they're speaking Spanish or French because of how similar these three languages sound to English.
In fact, none of these languages is related to each other. Spanish comes from Latin, French comes from Latin, and Basque comes from the Indo-European language family. The similarity between some of these languages is due to the fact that they evolved from a common language which early speakers of any of them could understand. There are also words in Basque that come from Hebrew and Greek.
Spain's Historical Background Religion Catholicism, in particular, flourished over the peninsula under the Roman Empire and during the Visigoth dominion. Though the Visigoths embraced Arian Christianity, the Visigoth ruler converted to Catholicism and made it the state religion. After their defeat by Charles the Great in 554 AD, most of the Iberian Peninsula came under Catholic rule. The only region that refused to embrace Catholicism was Islam, which grew rapidly throughout Al-Andalus.
During the 11th century, King Ferdinand II united the various kingdoms of Spain into a single country called Aragon. He was baptized as a child and brought up in a devoutly Christian home, so he had no intention of allowing Islam to take hold in his kingdom. In 1487, Ferdinand II married Isabel I of Portugal, another staunch Catholic. They had two children: John II and Catherine. When John II died without heirs in 1516, the kingdom of Spain became extinct as a political entity. However, Catherine continued to reign as queen of Spain for another seven years before she died in 1526. Thus, Catherine is considered by many to be the last Spanish monarch.
After John II's death, his brother Charles I became king of Spain. Like his mother and father, Charles I was a devout Catholic and decided to restore Catholicism as the official religion of the realm.
Since 1492 (the formal end of the Reconquista era), Catholic Christianity has been the dominant religion in Spain, with a tiny minority of other Christian and non-Christian religions and high levels of secularization as of 2021.
Before this date, Islam was the official religion of the Crown of Aragon. However, after several decades of intense evangelization, most cities in the south became predominantly Catholic. Only in smaller towns and villages did Muslims retain a presence in the 15th century.
In 1610, under the rule of the Spanish Hapsburgs, the Council of Vilavellejo declared Catholicism to be the only acceptable religion in Spain.
However, since then, many Spaniards have emigrated overseas, especially to America, where many forms of Protestantism are practiced.
Thus, today, Catholicism is the main religion of Spain, but it no longer dominates most of the country.
The percentage of Catholics in Spain is about 75%. Other major religions include Protestants, mainly in the northern part of the country; members of Eastern Orthodox churches; and Jews.
In 2016, Pope Francis called for the acceptance of other religions in Europe, saying that "intolerance is killing us".
In Spain, Christianity is the main religion, with the great majority of Spaniards identifying as Catholic. Around 70% of the population is Catholic, with the remaining 26% identifying as atheists. There are also small numbers of Jews and Muslims.
In the Spanish region of Catalonia there is a large community of Muslims, which has its own government and legal system. They can be found all over the country, but most live in Catalonia. There are even two major cities in Catalonia where Islam is the main religion - Barcelona and El-Qurum.
In addition to being the largest Muslim community in Europe, they also have one of the highest rates of employment among Europeans - around 40%.
The Muslims in Spain follow the Sunni branch of Islam.
According to some estimates, there are between 2.5 and 3 million Muslims living in Spain. This represents about 5% of the population.
They make up nearly half of the immigrants into Spain, with people from North Africa making up most of the rest. Around 16% of Spain's population is now Muslim.
Muslims account for almost all refugees entering Spain through its border with France.
Catholicism has been the dominant religion since the conclusion of the Reconquista in 1492, with a tiny minority of other Christian and non-Christian religions. According to the Pew Research Center, Spain ranks 16th out of 34 European nations in terms of religiosity.
As per the 2010 census, 78% of Spaniards identify themselves as Catholic, while 12% declare themselves as having no religion. The remaining 6% include individuals who consider themselves Jewish, Muslim, Orthodox, or some other faith.
Spain was originally part of the Roman Empire. After the fall of Rome, it became a part of the Christian world. In the 9th century, under the leadership of Charlemagne, most of Europe came together to fight against Islam. Although they were defeated, the Christians learned valuable skills that would later be used to defeat Islam again. In 1031, Pope IX declared a holy war against Islam and called on all Christ's followers to do the same. That is how the Reconquista began. By the end of the 11th century, most of Spain had returned to Christianity.
After the reconquest, King Ferdinand II signed a law that banned Muslims from holding public office. This law was widely criticized by intellectuals such as Antonio Muñoz Molina who argued that it was unfair to exclude people because of their religious beliefs. Eventually, this law was repealed by King Carlos III in 1713.
The Basques feel that because they are culturally distinct from Spaniards, they are entitled to their own state. This has resulted in numerous attacks and acts of violence throughout Spanish cities. The Basque government does not have much power and many Basques remain oppressed.
In April 2014, Spain's Supreme Court ruled that declaring independence unconstitutional, it was instead favoring a negotiated solution with Madrid. However, the court case divided the Basque country along political lines - those who supported independence were disappointed with the ruling, while others believed it was an important step forward for devolution in Spain as a whole.
Basque culture is very diverse with traditions coming from both France and Spain. For example, there are dishes such as paella that are popular in both countries but speak volumes about each one's cultural identity.
Despite living in the same country as Spain, the Basques have their own language (Euskera), police force, and judiciary system.
They also have their own flag which consists of three red stripes on a white background. This symbol originates from the old province of Basse-Navarre in France before it became part of Spain. The French version has two more blue stripes than the Spanish one.