1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Arbérats-Sillègue (Basque: Arberatze-Zilhekoa) is a commune in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France.

The inhabitants of the commune are known as Arberaztar.[1][2]


Arbérats-Sillègue is located in Mixe Country in the former Basque province of Lower Navarre, 3 km north-east of Saint-Palais and 10 km south-west of Sauveterre-de-Béarn. The D933 road from Saint-Palais to Osserain-Rivareyte in the north passes through the northern part of the commune. The D134 road passes through the east of the commune from Sussaute in the north continuing south to join the D11 road west of Domezain-Berraute. Access to the village is by country road from the western border passing through the village and going east to join the D134.[3]

The commune is located in the Drainage basin of the Adour. The Ruisseau de Recaide forms part of the northern border flowing north-west to join the Bidouze. The Ruisseau d'Eyherachar rises north-east of the village and flows west through the commune then south forming part of the western border before joining the Bidouze just south of Aïcirits (Aïcirits-Camou-Suhast).[3]

Historical places and hamlets[4]

  • Aguerre
  • Aitciria[5]
  • Amandania
  • Apezetchia
  • Arbérats
  • Beheitia
  • Bentaberria
  • Bidegorria
  • Bilhagnia
  • Bitenia
  • Brigni
  • Chibits
  • Chiloa
  • Chunta
  • Elhorriburia
  • Etcheparia
  • Idiartia
  • Iratzia
  • Irunia
  • Jemai
  • Mendiburia
  • Michicourt
  • Mignaburia
  • Osquilia
  • Oxarrainia
  • Oxarrainia Etchartia
  • Oyhanto
  • Peritcho
  • Salanbeheria
  • Sillègue


The name of the commune in basque is Arberatze-Zilhekoa.[2] Paul Raymond indicated on page 161 of his 1863 dictionary that Sillègue in Basque was Silhecoa.[5]

Jean-Baptiste Orpustan suggested two possible origins of the name Arbérats, both from basque: ar(r)-bera (or beratz) meaning ’fragile’ or ’friable'; or, together with the word arbel, meaning a "black stone" (Slate).[6] Brigitte Jobbé-Duval[1] also interpreted Arbérats as place of slate.

For Sillègue Jean-Batiste Orpustan suggested the name was a blend of the Basque word zil(h)o, meaning "hole" or "depression in the terrain" and a second element leku meaning "place".[6]

The following table details the origins of the commune name and other names in the commune.

Name Spelling Date Source Page Origin Description
Arbérats Arberas 1125 Orpustan Village
Arberatz 1150 Orpustan
Sanctus Laurebtius de Arberaz 1160 Orpustan
Arberas 13th century Raymond
Arberaz 1350 Orpustan
Arberatz 1413 Orpustan
Arberatz 1487 Raymond
Arberaz 1513 Raymond
Arbezats 1793 Cassini1
Arbezats 1801 Cassini1 Bulletin des lois
Sillègue Sanctus Petrus de Silegue 1160 Orpustan Village
Sileugue 1316 Orpustan
Silegoe 1350 Orpustan
Silleugue 1413 Orpustan
Silegoe 1472 Raymond
Silegoa 1513 Raymond
Sillègue-les-Domezain 1734 Raymond
Sillegue 1793 Cassini2 Bulletin des lois
Aitciria Ayciri de Arberatz 1487 Raymond
Ohix Farm
Aïtciry 1863 Raymond
Charritte Charritte 1863 Raymond
Fief, vassal of the Kingdom of Navarre




The village of Sillègue was merged with Arbérats on 14 April 1841.


Arms of Arbérats-Sillègue

Gules, ten escallops Argent arranged in pale 3, 4, and 3.


List of Successive Mayors[11]

From To Name Party Position
1995 2001 Jacques Sallenave
2001 2020 Sauveur Arnaud Bacho

(Not all data is known)


The commune belongs to six inter-communal structures:[12]

  • the Community of communes of Amikuze;
  • the AEP association of Mixe Country;
  • the Educational grouping of Arbérats-Sillègue, Arbouet-Sussaute, Aroue, and Etcharry;
  • the association for electrification of Pyrénées-Atlantiques;
  • the Inter-communal association for the functioning of schools in Amikuze;
  • the association for the promotion of Basque culture.


In 1350 there were 13 fires in Arbérats and 6 in Sillègue.[13]

The fiscal census[14] of 1412-1413, made[15] on the orders of Charles III of Navarre, compared with that of 1551 "of men and weapons that are in this Kingdom of Navarre below the ports"[16] reveals a demography with strong growth. The first indicated the presence at Arbérats of 7 fires, the second of 26 (24 + 2 secondary fires). The same for Sillègue: the 1412 census reported 5 fires and that of 1551 22 fires (20 + 2 secondary fires).

The census of the population of Lower Navarre in 1695[17] showed 40 fires at Arbérats and 20 at Sillègues.

In 2009 the commune had 307 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known from the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger towns that have a sample survey every year.[Note 1]

Population change (See database)
1793 1800 1806 1821 1831 1836 1841 1846 1851
293 328 315 312 321 371 351 314 320
1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896
308 271 251 262 251 268 248 233 231
1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954
242 259 242 228 226 230 233 235 196
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2009 -
184 175 177 198 222 270 302 307 -

Sources : Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 (population without double counting and municipal population from 2006) · [18]

Population of Arbérats-Sillègue

Although from 1793 to 1836 Arbérats and Sillègue were separate communes, the total population for both communes is shown in the above table.


The commune is part of the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) of Ossau-iraty.

Culture and Heritage

According to the Map of the Seven Basque Provinces published in 1863 by Prince Louis-Lucien Bonaparte the Basque dialect spoken in Arbérats-Sillègue is western lower-navarrese.

Religious heritage

The Church of Saint-Laurent (1615)Logo monument historique - rouge sans texte.svg is registered as an historical monument.[19]


Fronton at Arbérats


The commune has an elementary school


The commune has a festival hall located in the centre of the village. The original building was a school and has been completely renovated.


As it was only equipped with a left wall, Arbérats-Sillègue in 2007 opened a new fronton with toilets and a Pétanque area. There is also a football field in the same complex.


A pit dating to Roman times has been converted to a leisure park.

See also

External links

Notes and references


  1. ^ At the beginning of the 21st century, the methods of identification have been modified by Law No. 2002-276 of 27 February 2002 Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine., the so-called "law of local democracy" and in particular Title V "census operations" allows, after a transitional period running from 2004 to 2008, the annual publication of the legal population of the different French administrative districts. For communes with a population greater than 10,000 inhabitants, a sample survey is conducted annually, the entire territory of these communes is taken into account at the end of the period of five years. The first "legal population" after 1999 under this new law came into force on 1 January 2009 and was based on the census of 2006.


  1. ^ a b Brigitte Jobbé-Duval, Dictionary of place names - Pyrénées-Atlantiques, 2009, Archives and Culture, ISBN 978-2-35077-151-9 (in French)
  2. ^ a b Euskaltzaindia - Academy of the Basque language (Basque)
  3. ^ a b c Google Maps
  4. ^ Géoportail, IGN (in French)
  5. ^ a b c Topographic Dictionary of the Department of Basses-Pyrenees, Paul Raymond, Imprimerie nationale, 1863, Digitised from Lyon Public Library 15 June 2011 (in French)
  6. ^ a b c Jean-Baptiste Orpustan, New Basque Toponymy, Presses universitaires de Bordeaux, 2006, ISBN 2 86781 396 4 (in French)
  7. ^ Duchesne Collection, volumes 99 to 114, containing the papers of Oihenart, former Imperial Librarian - Bibliothèque nationale de France
  8. ^ Contracts retained by Ohix, Notary of Soule, Manuscripts from the 15th century in the Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (in French)
  9. ^ Titles published by don José Yanguas y Miranda (in Spanish)
  10. ^ Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (in French)
  11. ^ List of Mayors of France
  12. ^ Inter-communality of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Cellule informatique préfecture 64, consulted on 22 December 2011 (in French)
  13. ^ Jean-Baptiste Orpustan, Collective work, Amikuze - Mixe Country, Éditions Izpegi, 1992, ISBN 2 909262 05 7, p. 77 (in French)
  14. ^ Census cited by Manex Goyhenetche in his General History of Basque country - Vol. 3, Elkarlanean, 2001, ISBN 2 9131 5634 7, p. 26. The same work by Manex Goyhenetche indicated on p. 284 that it counted an average of 5.5 people per fire.
  15. ^ Transcribed and published by Ricardo Cierbide, Censos de población de la Baja Navarra, Max Niemeyer Verlag, Tübingen, 1993 (in Spanish)
  16. ^ Departmental Archives of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, E 575, transcribed by Louis Baratchart in The Friends of old Navarre, January 1995, pages 44-54 (in French)
  17. ^ Bibliothèque nationale, 6956, Moreau Register 979, cited by Manex Goyhenetche in his General History of Basque country - Vol. 3, Elkarlanean, 2001, ISBN 2 9131 5634 7, page 299. (in French)
  18. ^ Census of population on 1 January 2006 on the site of Insee.
  19. ^ Ministry of Culture, Mérimée IA64000683 Church of Saint-Laurent (in French)