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Dax (Municipality, Landes, France)

Last modified: 2024-04-27 by olivier touzeau
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Flag of Dax - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 10 May 2022

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Presentation of Dax

Dax (21,347 inhabitants in 2021; 1,970 ha) is a commune and sub-prefecture of the Landes department.

Dax is known as a spa destination, specialising in mud treatment for rheumatism and similar ailments. Dax is also known for its tauromachy culture, especially during the August ferias, one of the most crowded festival events in France with 800,000 people attending over five days. The US (Union sportive) Dax rugby club founded in 1904 is an important historical team. Many famous French rugby players comes from Dax and its suburbs such as Pierre Albaladejo, Raphaël Ibanez,or Richard Dourthe for example.

Dax was first established by the Romans, and its reputation is supposed to date from a visit by Julia, the daughter of the first Emperor Octavian Augustus. Its Roman name was Civitas Aquensium. In the Middle Ages, it was administered by viscounts until 1177. With the acquisition of Aquitaine by Henry II Plantagenet, later King of England, Dax remained under English rule until 1451, when it was conquered by French troops before the end of the Hundred Years' War. It successfully withstood a Spanish siege in 1521-1522.
The wars of religion, epidemics and great poverty mark the 16th century, before the return of prosperity in the following centuries. Hydrotherapy regained importance from the 19th century27, and in particular from the Second Empire. The construction of the Paris-Bordeaux-Dax-Irún railway line converted the Landes sub-prefecture into a railway hub. Dax destroyed part of its ramparts in the 19th century to open up to the outside, and in the 19th century, the medieval castle was demolished. Sumptuous Art Deco buildings were built instead to attract a wealthy clientele.

Olivier Touzeau, 10 May 2022

Flag of Dax

A white flag with the coat of arms and the words “VILLE DE DAX” can be observed on the city hall: photo (undated), photo (2020), photo (2021).

The coat of arms is blazonned: Azure a fortified tower Argent, port, windows and masoned Sable, surmounted by a fleur-de-lis Or and supported at senester by a lion of the same, all on a terrace Argent surmounting a wavy river of the same issuant from the base and charged with the capital letters A, C, Q and S Sable.
On the coat of arms the lion is the symbol of Aquitaine and the wavy river the Adour, the letters "acqs" are derived from the low-latin: "Civitas de Aqvis".

Olivier Touzeau, 10 May 2022