The Basques (bɑːsks or bæsks ; euskaldunak eus̺kaldunak; vascos ˈbaskos; basques bask) are a Southwestern European ethnic group, characterised by the Basque language, a common culture and shared genetic ancestry to the ancient Vascones and Aquitanians. Basques are indigenous to, and primarily inhabit, an area traditionally known as the Basque Country (Euskal Herria)—a region that is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France.
The English word Basque may be pronounced bɑːsk or bæsk and derives from the French Basque (bask), itself derived from Gascon Basco (pronounced ˈbasku), cognate with Spanish Vasco (pronounced ˈbasko). Those, in turn, come from Latin Vascō (pronounced ˈwaskoː; plural Vascōnes—see history section below). The Latin w generally evolved into the bilabials b and β̞ in Gascon and Spanish, probably under the influence