In the country Spain Basque Country, situated in the middle of the Bidasoa river that parts Spain and France – there is a territory with a special status: Pheasant Island. Allocated as a “condominium” supposedly land shared under the joint ownership of two nations, Pheasant Island has been looked over and managed together by France and Spain since the year 1659 Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed there.

It is one of the smallest among all and oldest condominiums and is held by Spain for about six months of the year and by France for the leftover six months.  Each February, people representing the French government join their counterparts on Pheasant Island to give it over to the Spaniards; each August, they receive it back.

Although people looking on above can witness it from the shores of either of the countries – it is a mere 50 metres of distance from France and Spain – this small island is uninhabited and is not allowed to be visited. Only members of the naval commands of either country can visit, as they are handed over with managing it while it’s under each of their jurisdictions.

For people that do that, employees of the municipal government of Irun or Hendaye may visit the island once every six months for cleaning and gardening. The island holds an important position in history as it was this where the Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed on the date November 7, 1659, putting a full stop to a war started during the massively destructive Thirty Years’ War.

Post the peace agreement was signed, the borders were significantly demarcated and the territory was exchanged. To seal the deal, a royal wedding happened on the island, between the French King Louis XIV and the daughter of the Spanish King Philip IV.

Not one monument is built on the island, just a monolith inhabiting a commemorative inscription explaining these events. Thus, the side of the monolith facing Spain is in Spanish, on the other hand, France is inscribed in French.

At the time of the war, the position of the landmass was set forth. So, a clause was put in the treaty which formally announced it as a shared, neutral territory – objecting to peace and cooperation between France and Spain. Ever since then, several royal weddings and prisoner exchanges have happened here.