Béarn in Europe.
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Béarn (French pronunciation: [be.aʁn]; Gascon: Bearn or Biarn; Basque: Bearno or Biarno) is one of the traditional provinces of France, located in the Pyrenees mountains and in the plain at their feet, in southwest France. Along with the three Basque provinces of Soule, Lower Navarre, and Labourd, the principality of Bidache, as well as small parts of Gascony, it forms in the southwest the current département of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64). The capitals of Béarn were Beneharnum (until 841), Morlaàs (from ca. 1100), Orthez (from the second half of the 13th century), then Pau (beginning in the mid-15th century).
Today, the mainstays of the Béarn area are the petroleum industry, the aerospace industry through the helicopter turboshaft engine manufacturer Turbomeca, tourism and agriculture (much of which involves maize (corn) grown for seed). Pau was the birthplace of Elf Aquitaine, which has now become a part of the Total S.A. petroleum company.
In Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers series, the protagonist d'Artagnan came from Béarn (he mentions having attended his father's funeral there in the second book, Twenty Years After). That d'Artagnan is usually referred to as a Gascon is neither surprising nor incorrect, as Béarn forms part of Gascony.
In the eastern part of the province are two small exclaves belonging to Bigorre. They are the result of how early Béarn grew to its traditional boundaries: some old lesser viscounties were added by marriage, and absorbed into Béarn: Oloron to the south/southwest ca. 1050, Montanérès in the east in 1085, and Dax in the west in 1194. When Montanérès was added, five communities or parishes (Villenave-Près-Béarn, Escaunets, Séron, Gardères, and Luquet) did not form part of the dowry; they remained, or became, part of Bigorre. Their attachment to Bigorre continues to the present, as they followed it into Hautes-Pyrénées, rather than being incorporated into the surrounding Pyrénées-Atlantiques.
Agriculture and metallurgy were first practiced in the region around 4,000 years ago. Many dolmens, tumuli and megaliths have been found in Béarn dating to this era, suggesting that ancestor worship was an important religious activity in neolithic Béarn. Construction of cromlêhs in Béarn continued into the Bronze Age.
Béarn was occupied by Ligurans around 3000 years ago. By 500 BC, Iberians appear to have replaced the Ligurians. The names of several towns in Béarn end in -os (e.g. Gelos, Urdos and Arros) which suggests an Iberian origin.
Béarn is served by two autoroutes. The A64 (l'autoroute pyrénéenne, European designation E80) was built in 1977 and links Pau, Toulouse and Bayonne. In Béarn, the A64 has junctions serving the towns of Salies-de-Béarn, Orthez, Artix, Pau and Soumoulou.
The A65 (l'autoroute de Gascogne, European designation E7) links Pau with Langon. It serves the Béarnese towns of Lescar, Thèze and Garlin. At Langon, the A65 joins on to the A62, which continues to Bordeaux. The A65 was opened in 2010, and was at the time France's most expensive autoroute.
People from Béarn
- Louis Barthou – Former politician
- François Bayrou – Candidate in the 2002, 2007 and 2012 French presidential elections, leader of the MoDem party
- Charles Denis Bourbaki – A Bearnese French army officer of Greek origins, he distinguished himself during the Crimean war. The Bearnese football club FA Bourbaki Pau is named for him.
- The family of Alexander Gordon Bearn
- Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte – Marshal of France (1763–1844), Karl XIV Johan, King of Sweden and Norway (where he was known as Karl III Johan) from 1818 to 1844
- Gaston Phoebus – Gaston X of Bearn, Gaston III of Foix - Established Bearn's independence in 1347
- Gaston de Béarn – Gaston XI of Béarn, Gaston IV of Foix
- Gaston Planté – French physicist who invented the lead acid battery in 1859
- Philippe Bernat-Salles – Former professional Rugby player
- Claude-François Bertrand de Boucheporn, last intendant of the Ancien Régime in Béarn (1785-1790)
- Henry IV of France – Ruled as King of France from 1589 to 1610
- Jean Bouilhou – Professional Rugby player
- Julian Bourdeu – Migrant to Argentina, he was devoted to cultural endeavours, being also a journalist and a Police Commissary
- Pierre Bourdieu – French sociologist
- Nicolas Brusque – Former professional rugby player
- Bertrand Cantat – Singer of the rock band Noir Désir
- Julien Cardy – Professional football player
- Jérémy Chardy – Professional tennis player
- Cataline, aka Jean Caux or Jean-Jacques Caux – Legendary packer during several gold rushes in British Columbia, Canada, is said to have been from Béarn (among other possibilities)
- Nicolas Escudé – Former professional tennis player
- Patrice Estanguet – Slalom canoeist
- Tony Estanguet – Famous slalom canoeist
- Jean de Forcade de Biaix (1663–1729) – a Huguenot, a descendent of the noble family of Forcade, Prussian Lieutenant General and confidant of King Frederick I of Prussia
- Pierre Jélyotte - Famous tenor of the Paris Opera
- Pierre Laclède – Co-founder of St. Louis, Missouri in 1764
- Jean de Laforcade, Seigneur de La Fitte-Juson – Attorney General, legislator, diplomat and descendent of the noble family of Forcade, he was described by 19th century genealogist, Bourrousse de Laffore as "…one of the most important men in Béarn…".
- Jean-Michel Larqué – Former professional football player
- Jean Lassalle – Politician, member of MoDem party executive office
- Jeanne III of Navarre – Queen regnant of Navarre from 1555 to 1572 and mother of King Henry IV of France
- Xavier Navarrot – Bearnese poet
- Robert Paparemborde – Former professional rugby player
- Jean-Baptiste Peyras-Loustalet – Professional rugby player
- Alejo Peyret
- Jean Saint-Josse – Politician
- Damien Traille – Famous rugby player
- Béarnaise sauce
- Béarnaise dance
- Béarnese dialect
- Fors de Béarn
- Jambon de Bayonne
- Laruns – Laruns is a typical Bearnese village and commune
- Pau Pyrénées Airport
- Viscountcy of Béarn
- Viscounts of Béarn
- House of Bernadotte
- Bidot-Germa, Grosclaude, Duchon, Histoire de Béarn, 1986
- Bidot-Germa, Grosclaude, Duchon, Histoire de Béarn, 1986, p. 23
- Pliny the Elder. Natural History.
- Laborde, Jean Baptiste (1943). Le Béarn aux temps préhistoriques. p. 378.
- Bourrousse de Laffore (1860), Tome 3, p. 171
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