Page:A book of the Pyrenees.djvu/74

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52
THE PYRENEES

and blood to the inhabitants of Biscay, Guipuzcoa, and Upper Navarre in Spain. The narrow strip of land comprising the two cantons of S. Palais and S. Jean-pied-de-Port was for many centuries regarded as forming a parcel of the province of Gascony, but Alphonso the Noble took it, together with Labourde, from the English King John, so that it became a portion of the kingdom of Navarre, though Bayonne was recovered by the English. Sancho, King of Navarre, strengthened his hold on it more firmly, but eventually, when the claim to the crown of Navarre passed to the Counts of Foix and Viscounts of Béarn, it was the sole portion of that kingdom that these latter were able to retain, the Spanish Navarre having been annexed by Ferdinand the Catholic.

The Basques never obtained political independence. They were always subjected to Frank or English domination; they passed under the rule of the kings of Navarre and counts of Foix, and finally under the crown of France. Nevertheless they succeeded in maintaining a communal right of self-government, and enjoyed great privileges, notably that of conveying their wares and those of Spain free of duty to the markets of Toulouse and Bordeaux; rights these that awoke the jealousy of the citizens of Bayonne, who were incessantly at feud with them. The Bayonnais claimed Villefranche as belonging to Labourde, because the tide flowed through the arches of the bridge there. In an affray over this the mountaineers killed several citizens of Bayonne. In reprisal, in the reign of Edward III of England, Duke of Gascony and Aquitaine, the mayor of Bayonne, a Sieur de Puyane, descended on Villefranche on S. Bartholomew's Day, when a fair was being held there, caught five burgesses of note and fastened them to the arches of the