From: The Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples/Basques/Mario Mimeault

The Basques are one of the oldest peoples of Europe. Their origins are a puzzle to historians, although it is known that they stretch far back into time. Sources dating to classical antiquity attest to the existence of the Basques as a cultural group. They are a seafaring people who through most of their history have sought to conquer the oceans. Searching for fishing banks, they were among the first Europeans to reach the shores of North America, where many of them settled.