While the beret is closely associated with "Basque" or "French" culture, it is in fact undeniably of Béarnese origin, Béarn being a province that directly borders with the French Basque Country on its western borders, and with Navarre on its southern flanks by way of the Pyrenees. It was only in the 1st half of the 19th century that berets began to be produced on an industrial level in factories and the first factories were set up in Oloron-Sainte-Marie and Nay. Both towns are located in Béarn.
Beret production seems to have peaked around 1950 in France, which boasted 30 factories, 10 alone of which were located in Oloron-Sainte-Marie. The other factories were located in nearby Nay and Orthez. So at all times beret production was dominated by Béarn in southwest France where it originated. Why then is the beret then most associated with the Basque and in a larger sense, Spain? A quick glance at the labels sown on the inner lining of berets reveals that, most likely for marketing purposes, its manufacturers were depicting symbology connected to Basque-speaking regions such as the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Navarre, names of Basque regions and places as Baigorry, Iholdy, Espelette, or Hoquy.
Furthermore, the Basque region is located on the borders of Béarn, and the Basque immediately adopted this woolen cap as their own. Boinas Elósegui, located in Guipúzcoa province in the Basque Country, is the only beret factory in Spain and is undoubtedly the current market leader in beret production while Laulhère (formerly Béatex) is the only surviving beret factory in Oloron-Sainte-Marie in the heart of Béarn, France, which is the true birthplace of this headgear that has made a profound statement in history.