Basques or Euskara, are an indigenous people who inhabit parts of both Spain and France. They are predominantly found in an area known as the Basque Country, consisting of four provinces in Spain and three in France, located around the western edge of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay.
There are interesting social differences between the Basques and their neighbours. The Basque people have an unusually close attachment with their homes. A person's home is their family in Basqueland. Even if one does not still live there and has not for generations a Basque family is still known by the house in which it once lived. Common Basque surnames could translate as "top of the hill", or "by the river" all relating to the location of their ancestral home. This is interesting evidence for considering the Basques to be the only people who have always had a fixed and stable abode.
Though matriarchality has been sometimes attributed to Basque society, today it seems clear that the actually known familiar structure is patrilinear, being the top position given to the father, as in neighbour cultures. Nevertheless there are some signs that this could have not always been that way. Also it must be said that the social position of women has always been rather better than in neighbour countries.
The fueros on inheritance favoured the unity of the inherited land (in contrast to Galician minifundia) so, until the Industrial Age, poor Basques (usually the younger sons) emigrated to the rest of Spain or France and the Americas. Saint Francis Xavier and Conquistadores like Lope de Aguirre were Basque.