City in southwesternmost France (anciently called Lapurdum) standing at the confluence of the Adour and the Nive, just inland from the Bay of Biscay. It was one of the last English towns to fall to France at the end of the Hundred Years’ War.
Between 1767 and 1774 and again from 1784 until 1790, there was a généralité of Pau & Bayonne (or Bayonne & Pau), joining the lands in the gouvernement of Béarn & Navarre (capital Pau) with the Basque districts of Labourd and Soule (capital Bayonne) for the purposes of civil and fiscal administration. From 1716 until 1767 Labourd and Soule had belonged to the généralité of Auch, and again from 1774 to 1775, when they were transferred to the généralité of Bordeaux until 1784. Most of the généralité became the Department of the Basses-Pyrénées (now Pyrénées-Atlantiques) in 1790, but the eastern district, Bigorre, became part of Hautes-Pyrénées.
Bayonne is also the seat of a Bishop. The ancient diocese was small and was suppressed in 1790. It was restored in 1802 to serve the diocese for the departments of Basses- and Hautes-Pyrénées and of the Landes. Since 1822 it has been the diocese of its own department alone.