The earliest known text written in Basque is the Linguae Vasconum Primitiae. This is text is a collection of poems by Bernard Detchepare that was published in 1545. It is estimated that between 1545 and 1879, only 101 books were published in Basque. In 1571, the New Testament was translated into Basque. Most early works in Basque were religious. Many scholars agree that the renaissance of Basque literature was after the second Carlist War. During this time, the literature expanded from only religious works to include other genres. Nationalist ideology was a big influence on the literature at this time. Sabino Arana is one of the more well-known literary figures of this time.
The Spanish Civil War and Franco’s regime also greatly affected Basque literature even though the Basque language was banned during that time. Some of the prominent writers that emerged were Jon Mirande and Gabriel Aresti. Jon Mirande wrote La filleule in 1970, and Gabriel Aresti was a poet who took a stance against Franco. After Franco’s death in 1975, approximately 100 publishing house publishing books in Basque were opened. In 1992, Bernardo Atxaga’s novel called Obabakoak was the first Basque novel translated into English.