Pheasant Island changes countries every six months! An uninhabited river island in the Bidasoa River between France and Spain, Pheasant Island’s administration alternates between both countries every six months. The island is also the smallest and oldest-surviving condominium. A condominium is a territory over which multiple nations exercise equal dominion and sovereignty, without dividing it into different national zones.

Pheasant Island is around 660 feet long and 130 feet wide. Despite its name, it doesn’t house any pheasants or human civilization for that matter. The only permanent resident of Pheasant Island is a historic monument to commemorate the Treaty of the Pyrenees. France and Spain signed a peace treaty on this island called the Treaty of the Pyrenees. A series of 24 conferences were held between Cardinal Mazarin, Chief Minister of France and Luis de Haro, a Grandee of Spain, in 1659 after the end of the Thirty Years’ War. The climax of the conferences led to the signing of the Treaty of the Pyrenees in Pheasant Island. Under the terms of the treaty, Pheasant Island is a possession of Spain from February 1 to July 31 each year. From August 1 till January 31, it becomes part of the nation of France. Thus, Pheasant Island has a unique bi-national dependency.

Spain and France have joint sovereignty of Pheasant Island. This arrangement is called a condominium. Faisans Island or Pheasant Island is one of the oldest condominiums in existence. A condominium is a territory over which multiple countries exercise equal sovereignty and dominion over without dividing it into different national zones. This is the world’s only destination where sovereignty is not shared simultaneously, but alternately. For six months in a year, Pheasant Island is Spanish and for the next six, it’s French. It took the Spanish and French three long months of negotiation on the neutral territory of Pheasant Island, to come to this arrangement.  The peace agreement, the Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed. And the borders were clearly demarcated and the territory was exchanged. To seal the deal, a royal wedding took place on the island, between the French King Louis XIV and the daughter of the Spanish King Philip IV.

Picture Credit : Google 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *