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Coordinates: 43°18′26″N 1°29′51″W / 43.30722°N 1.4975°W / 43.30722; -1.4975

Commune of Ainhoa

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Ainhoa, Pyrénées-Atlantiques is located in France
Ainhoa, Pyrénées-Atlantiques
Country France
Region Aquitaine
Department Pyrénées-Atlantiques
Arrondissement Bayonne
Canton Espelette
Intercommunality Sud Pays Basque
Mayor Philippe Aspirot
Elevation 52–649 m (170–2,130 ft)
(avg. 120 m/390 ft)
Land area1 16 km2 (6.2 sq mi)
Population2 664  (2006)
 - Density 42 /km2 (110 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 64014/ 64250
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Ainhoa (Basque: Ainhoa) is a commune in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in Aquitaine in south-western France. The village is in the traditional Basque province of Labourd.The commune is listed amongst the 'Most beautiful villages of France', a title conferred by an independent association which seeks to promote tourist sites in small communes boasting a particularly rich French heritage.


Some historical fragments of Ainhoa willage life

On 27 April 1238 the new king Theobald I of Navarre acquired, paying money, the toll rights formerly instituted by Viscount Juan Perez de Baztan, Ainhoa being then at the borders between the Duchy of Aquitanie since 1151, run by the Angevin Kings of England and the Navarrese kingdom as such.

Such tolls were charged to pilgrims and traders traveling to Santiago de Compostela, the Way of St. James, in Galicia, Spain. Military clashes between the "English run" Basques of Aquitaine and the Navarrese in 1249 led however in 1250 the Seigneur of Ainhoa, to recognize the suzerainty of king Henry III of England, but by 1265, Gonzalvo Juanis, Seigneur of Ainhoa, a.k.a. Gonzalvo Ibáñez, a.k.a. Gonzalvo Yáñes, did no recognize either, English or Navarrese, diying in 1289 and opening the way to conquering it by old historical claims with military actions. Then, Garda Arnaut de Espelette, with affinity for the "English run" Basques of the Duchy of Aquitaine, sent a letter, dated 29th July 1289 praying the Ainhoa people to the adequate connivence. The outcome of such frontier business was to set up some sort of joint undivided land as it had been done also previously with the nearby Aldudes, close to the Baztan valley .

Documents from Estella, dated September 1369, some 80 years later, prove the people from Ainhoa paid taxes to both, the King of Navarre and the "British" Seneschal of the Landes territory in return for their fiscal and personal privileges.

When "English run" Bayonne surrendered to the French in 1451, no one knowns if these "undivided status" villages within the English - Navarrese frontier, were taken by the French, too.

In the Spanish Invasion of 1636 in Labourd territories, many villages, including Ainhoa, were razed down. Later, probably because of the 1659 "Treaty of the Pyrénées" whereby Spanish born Queen regent of France Anne of Austria with the help of Cardinal Mazarin, some sort of First Minister of France, set up the advantegous peace (for the French), besides getting also a Spanish Princess as a wife, Maria Theresa of Spain for her son Louis XIV of France, Ainhoa was repopulted again.

Disputes between the new settlers and the old residents concerning the use of communal lands for cattle grazing and fodder and the access by newcomers to town hall positions, schooling, church grants, etc. had to be settled by the then Autonomous Parliament of Bordeaux in the sense of having access to village privileges through money.

The Convention War of 1793 between Spain and French Republicans led quite a few the Ainhoa citizens to be included by the later in the list of "infamous" Labourd villages, together with Sare, Itxassou and Ascain. They were interned as prisoniers in Capbreton and there were some of their church authorities feeling death under the guillotine.

During the retreat of the Napoleonic Army from Spain in 1813, Labourd villages were again submitted to abuse by the Confederate British and Spanish troops.

Under the German Occupation of France in the 1940´s many of these frontier villages were fully administered by German military people, but were also main entry to British military , French Resistence and European Jews to uncommited countries.

See also


External links

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