Pheasant Island

Surfing the Net I came across the tiny Pheasant Island, one the world’s four remaining condominiums. The island is on the River Bidassoa and is under the joint sovereignty of France and Spain, and administered by Irun (in Spain) and Hendaye (in France) for alternating periods of six months. It covers 2,000 m2 and is known as Isla de los Faisanes in Spanish, Île des Faisans, Île de l’hôpital or Île de la Conférence in French and Konpantzia in Basque.

The Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed here in 1659 putting an end the Thirty Years’ War, as shown in the painting below, and the site has been used for numerous exchanges of captives and princesses to be wed.

An interesting piece of trivia for geographical nerds like myself. The rest of you may struggle to find any interest.

Books about the Basque Country I have read

The Basque Country: A Cultural History by Paddy Woodworth: Full of fascinating facts. An excellent balanced account.

The Basque History of the World by Mark Kurlansky. Interesting in places but wildly opinionated.

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