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Like other countries in the Americas, during its colonization Uruguay was the recipient of immigrants from several ethnic groups from Europe, as well as of enslaved Africans. After its independence in 1830, Basques were the first group of Europeans to arrive in the country. In this paper, we aim to contribute to the understanding of the process of integration of these migratory waves into the Uruguayan society. For that purpose, individuals of Basque origin from the city of Trinidad, Uruguay, were chosen to participate in this study. Particularly, we wanted to determine if Basque descendants in Uruguay remained relatively isolated or if they mixed with other ethnic groups. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of 60 self-identified Basque descendants, taken from a larger sample of subjects with Basque ancestors, was analyzed. The origin of mtDNA haplogroups was 77.8% European, 20.4% Amerindian, and 1.8% African, showing similar frequencies to other Uruguayan regions. Very few sequences showed a clear Basque origin, although other sources such as the Canary Islands are likely. Moreover, genetic distances clearly show that Basque descendants are genetically closer to other Uruguayan groups than to European populations, including Basques. It is possible to conclude that Basques and their descendants in the region of Trinidad did not remain isolated and that their marriage behavior was similar to that of other Uruguayan populations. However, to have a more accurate picture of the way Basques intermarried with other populations in Uruguay, new analyses are needed that take into account paternal lineages as well as biparental genetic markers.

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