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The Duchy of Vasconia (sometimes Wasconia), later known as Gasconymarker, was a Merovingian creation: a frontier duchy on the Garonnemarker, in the border with the rebel Basque tribes. During the collapse of Frankish authority in the region in the year 660, it gained de facto and possibly de jure independence, in personal union with the Duchy of Aquitaine (north and east of the Garonnemarker).

After Muslim invasions and Carolingian restoration of the Frankish Kingdom, the Duchy, separated from Aquitaine, suffered some fragmentation, specially in the south, where the Kingdom of Pamplona and the County of Vasconia arose as separate states in the 9th century, when it came to be known as Duchy of Gascony, as Gascon Romance was already replacing Basque in most of the region.

After a period of obscurity, it reemerged in the early eleventh century as a close ally (possible even vassal) of the Kingdom of Navarre. In 1032, it was inherited by the heir of Aquitaine and became personally united to that duchy thereafter. It thus became a part of the Angevin Empire. The ducal title was reemployed by Edward Longshanks and it formed a base of support for the English during the Hundred Years' War. It has been called England's first foreign colony.

List of dukes and counts

Dukes of Vasconia (Frankish vassals)

Dukes of Vasconia and Aquitaine

  • Felix (660-670)
  • Lupus I (670-676 or until 710 in Vasconia only)
  • Odo the Great (or Eudes) (688-735 - his reign commenced perhaps as late as 692, 700, 710 or 715, unclear parentage.
  • Hunald I (735-748), son of previous, abdicated to monastery, may have returned later (see below).
  • Waifer (or Gaifier) (748-767), son of previous.
  • Hunald II (767-769), either Hunald I returning or a different Hunald, fled to Lupus II of Gascony and was handed over to Charlemagne.

Independent Dukes of Vasconia

Dukes of Vasconia and Counts of Bordeaux (Frankish vassals)

Counts of Vasconia

Temporarily segregated from the Duchy. See: Northern Basque Country
  • Aznar Sans (820-836)
  • Sans II (836-855 or 864), fought against the Franks since 848 and eventually became Duke of Vasconia.

Late Independents Dukes of Vasconia

Independent Dukes of Gascony

United to Duchy of Aquitaine in 1058.

The unity of Gascony had disappeared already in the 10th century, and so those wishing to learn more about the history of Gascony should look at the particular histories of Béarn, Armagnac, Bigorre, Comminges, Nébouzan, Labourd and so on.



  1. Ducado de Vasconia (Auñamendi Encyclopedia)
  2. Nomenclature Before listing the names of the dukes and counts of Gascony, a long explanation is needed. This is because these names are recorded under a bewildering number of variants, which makes identification very difficult. These dukes and counts were leaders of the Basque clans that dominated Gascony and so their native names were Basque. However, as the Gascon language gradually replaced Basque, their names are also recorded in Gascon. Indeed, eventually the dukes of Gascony probably themselves adopted Gascon, which is reflected in the declining use of authentically Basque names by the last dukes. In written documents, their names were usually recorded in Latin, which was the favored written language at the time. Today, their names are also frequently found in their French version, and also sometimes in their Spanish version. One example: the Basque name Otsoa (meaning "wolf") was literally translated Lop in Gascon, Lupus in Latin, Loup in French, and Lobo in Spanish. Thus, Duke Otsoa II of Gascony can be known by any of these names, which confuses people not used to the local linguistic situation. Furthermore, even within a set language, there exist many different variants, as for the Basque name Santxo (from Latin sanctus, meaning "holy"), which can be found in Basque documents written Antso, Sanzio, Santio, Sanxo, Sancio, and so on. Usually, the dukes and counts of Gascony had two names, the first one being their given name, the second one being the given name of their father (for example, Duke Sans I Lop, which means this is Duke Sans I, son of Lop). This custom later generated the Spanish family names, with the adding of suffix -ez meaning "son of". "Juan Sánchez" literally means "John, son of Sancho". For a few dukes of Gascony, the second name is not the given name of their father, but it is a nickname that they gained over time and that replaced the given name of their father, such as the famous duke Sans III Mitarra, where Mitarra is not the name of his father, but a nickname of Arab origin. In the list below, the dukes and counts of Gascony are listed according to their Gascon names (based on the current spelling of Gascon, not the medieval spelling, which was fluctuating). Although all the different names under which the dukes of Gascony are known are just different versions of the same names in different languages, it should be noted that there is one duke of Gascony known by two names that are completely different names and not merely two versions of the same name: Duke Seguin I. "Semen" is his Basque name (sometimes written Semeno, Xemen, Ximen, or Jimeno). Nobody knows for sure if Semen is the Basque version of the biblical name Simon] or a native Basque name based on the Basque word seme (meaning "son"). On the other hand, "Seguin" (modern Gascon "Siguin") is a name of Germanic origin: sig- means victory (cf modern German Sieg) and -win means "friend". It has been suggested that some apparently "Basque" names are merely corruptions of late Germanic names. For example, Garsinde leading to Garsean, Gendolf or Centulf to Centule, Aginald or Hunnald to Enneko (in Flanders,and Frisian,still a short form of the first two frank names), Aginard to Aznar, Belasgytta or Wallagotha to Velasquita, Belasgutho to Velasco, Arnoald to Arnau, Theuda to Toda, Theudahilda to Dadildis or Dedadils. Perhaps the intermarriage of Hispano-Gothic magnates with the local Basque population led to the modification of Gothic names into Basque variants.

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