The Basque are a genetically and linguistically distinct people from a region of the western Pyrenees straddling France and Spain. They speak Euskara and are believed to be the oldest indigenous group in Europe. Many came to the United States in the 19th century in search of opportunity—often in the form of gold or jobs—and ended up in parts of the Great Basin—Southeastern Oregon, central Idaho, and Nevada. Some started ranches, while others found themselves in sagebrush-covered hills and mountains, alone but for hundreds of sheep, a donkey, and some dogs to keep them company.
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