Coat of Arms of Bigorre, now in Southwest France.

Coat of Arms of Bigorre, now in Southwest France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Medieval County in the west central Pyrenees in southern France; in the basin of the upper Adour, and lying between Béarn (to the west) and Comminges.  Its capital was Tarbes, which was also the seat of a Bishop.

The original Count was a member of the Ducal House of Gascony.   After the male line had died out c.1035, the County passed several times to other families by way of heiresses, with the consequence of creating several claims for the County.

It also was a cause of dispute between the Kings of France and England, because the latter, as Duke of Aquitaine, was overlord of former Gascony.  The rights of the English King were recognised in 1259 but later in the century King Philip IV confiscated the County and gave it to his wife, Queen Joan of Navarre.

In the 14th century there were two principal claimants, the Counts of Foix and Armagnac, and it was the latter, favoured by France, who was Count in the 1350s, until the Treaty of Brétigny recognised the English King’s rights.  In the early 1370s French troops restored French and Armagnac control.   In 1418 the Count of Armagnac gave up his rights and in 1425 the King of France gave the County to the Count of Foix, no longer the candidate favoured by the English.

The eventual heir to the Counts of Foix, who also held Béarn, the western neighbour of Bigorre, became King Henry IV of France in 1589 and in 1607 Bigorre became part of the province of Guienne & Gascony.  In 1790 it formed part of the Department of the Hautes-Pyrénées.

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