BAYONNE, probably the ancient Lapurdum, Baiotium civitas, or Baioticum, a first-class fortified city of France, and the capital of an arrondissement, in the department of the Lower Pyrenees. It is well built, and agreeably situated at the confluence of the Nive and Adour, about three miles from the sea. A bar at the mouth of the river, with 13 or 15 feet of water at spring tides and 9 to 11 feet at neaps, formerly prevented large vessels from entering except at high water ; but works have been in progress by which the obstruction will be greatly lessened, if not alto-,.ether removed. The citadel is one of the finest works of Vauban, and the cathedral is a large and elegant Gothic structure of the 12th century. Bayonne is the seat of a bishopric, and has courts of primary jurisdiction and commerce, an exchange, a mint, a theatre, naval and commercial docks, and schools of commerce and navigation, as well as distilleries, sugar-refineries, and glass-works. It is likewise the centre of the 13th military division, and possesses one of the finest arsenals in France, and a military hospital for 2000 patients. Its export trade is considerable, particularly in grain, wine, fish, chocolate, liqueurs, cream of tartar, hams, rosin, turpentine, and timber. The Nive and Adour divide the town into three nearly equal parts, communicating with each other by b idges. Great Bayonne, which lies on the left bank of th.2 Nive, contains the old castle ; Little Bayonne, where the new castle stands, is situated between the Nive and the Adour ; and Saint Esprit, formerly a suburb, occupies the right bank of the Adour. The last is inhabited almost exclusively by Jews. Bayonne, though often besieged, has never been taken, and is one of the few places that refused to participate in the massacre of St Bartholomew. The last siege was by the English in 1814, and was interrupted by the news of Napoleon's surrender. The bayonet derives its name from this place, where it is said to have been invented. Population in 1872, 26,335.
See Balasque and Dulaurens, Eludes Historiques sur la rille de Bayonne, 3 vole., which treats of the history down to 1451.