Pheasant Island (French: Île des Faisans, Spanish: Isla de los Faisanes, Basque: Konpantzia) is an uninhabited river island in the Bidasoa river, located between France and Spain, whose administration alternates between the former and the latter.
|Île des Faisans (French)|
Isla de los Faisanes (Spanish)
|Area||0.00682 km2 (0.00263 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||6 m (20 ft)|
|Autonomous community||Basque Country|
The island is a condominium established by the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, under joint sovereignty of Spain and France, and for alternating periods of six months is officially under the governance of the naval commanders of San Sebastián, Spain (1 February – 31 July) and of Bayonne, France (1 August – 31 January); in effect it is administered respectively by Irun (in Gipuzkoa, Spain) and Hendaye (in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France).
The most important historical event to have taken place on the island was the signing of the Treaty of the Pyrenees. This was the climax to a series of 24 conferences held between Luis de Haro, a Grandee of Spain and Cardinal Mazarin, Chief Minister of France, in 1659 following the end of the Thirty Years' War. A monolith was built in the centre of the island to commemorate the meeting.
The island has also been used for several other royal meetings:
- 1659 – Louis XIV met his future wife Maria Theresa of Spain (1638–1683); they were the parents of le Grand Dauphin; a year later – at the Meeting on the Isle of Pheasants – she said farewell to her father, Philip IV of Spain and much of the Spanish court, before crossing into France to become the consort of Louis XIV.
The island can sometimes be reached from the Spanish side at low tide. It is uninhabited, and access is forbidden except very occasionally on heritage open days. Other than that, employees of the municipal government of Irún or Hendaye may access the island once every 6 months for cleaning and gardening, and members of the Naval Commands of Donostia (Spain) and Bayonne (France), responsible for monitoring the island, will land on it every 5 days.
- Jannie Wullms (2012). Propuesta de una edición crítica de José de Butrón y Mújica, Relación panegírica de la jornada de los señores, señor don Luis Méndez de Haro y señor cardenal Julio de Mazarino, a la conferencia de los Tratados de la Paz entre el Católico Felipe Cuarto el Grande de España, y el Cristianísimo Luis Catorce de Francia (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved 3 December 2015.
- España asume la jurisdicción de la isla de los Faisanes, la más pequeña del mundo (Retrieved 3 December 2015)
- "The island that switches countries every six months". BBC. 28 January 2018.
- "Pheasant Island". Hendaye Tourist Office. Archived from the original on 13 February 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
- Porto, Rita; Porto, Rita. "A ilha dos Faisões, o condomínio mais antigo do mundo, é seis meses francesa e seis meses espanhola". Observador (in Portuguese). Retrieved 3 February 2019.