1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Biscay, Bay of

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BISCAY, BAY OF (Fr. Golfe de Gascogne; Sp. Golfo de Vizcaya), an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean; bounded on the E. and N.E. by France, as far as the island of Ushant, and on the S. by Spain as far as Cape Ortegal. The Bay of Biscay is the Sinus Aquitanicus, Sinus Cantabricus or Cantaber Oceanus of the Romans; hence it is sometimes known as the Cantabrian Sea. Its modern English name is a corrupt form of the Spanish Vizcaya. The bay forms a fairly regular curve, broken on the French seaboard only by the estuaries of the Loire, Garonne, Adour and other rivers. The rugged Spanish coast is indented by many fjord-like inlets, especially in the west, where navigation is sometimes difficult and dangerous; but its rivers are comparatively unimportant. The exposed position of the bay, and the diversity of its currents, have rendered it notorious for its storms.