Bishop Stortford, a town of Hertfordshire, England, 32 m. by rail N. E. of London; pop. about 6,000. It derives the first part of its name from having been since the Saxon era the property of the bishops of London, and the second from its situation on the river Stort. It consists chiefly of two lines of streets, and contains a fine parish church, restored in 1820, a capacious market house with a corn exchange, and various educational institutions. A canal connects it with London through the river Lea, and it carries on an extensive trade in malt.
Bissagos, a group of islands situated near the mouth of the Rio Grande, in western Africa between lat. 10° and 12° N. and lon. 15° and 17° W. Only 16 of them are of any magnitude. Bissao, the most important, contains a Portuguese settlement, and was the centre of the Portuguese slave trade; pop. 8,000,
Bistre, a reddish brown water color, generally obtained from the soot that collects in chimney flues. This is pulverized and washed to remove the saline ingredients. The finest sediment is then dissolved in vinegar, to which gum water is afterward added. It was formerly much used for making painters' crayons, and also for a paint in water-color designs. Sepia, however, is now preferred to it.
Bistritz (Hun. Besztercze), a free royal town of N. E. Transylvania, on a river of the same name, capital of the Saxon circle of Bis-tritz or Nosnerland; pop. in 1870, 7,212. It has three gates of entrance, and two suburbs chiefly tenanted by Wallachs. Among the public buildings are a handsome city hall and a Gothic Protestant church, the steeple of which is 250 ft. high. Wine, potash, and cattle selling are the chief sources of wealth. Near it are the remains of a castle once the residence of the Hunyadys.
Bitonto (anc. Butuntum), a town of S. Italy, in the province and 10 m. W. of Bari; pop. in 1872, 24,978. It is handsomely built, and has a fine cathedral and a large orphan asylum. A victory was gained here by the Spaniards over the Austrians, May 25, 1734, which gave the former possession of the kingdom of Naples. The ancient Butuntum is only known from coins.
Bitotf And Cleobis, in Greek legend, sons of Cydippe, priestess of Juno at Argos. On one occasion, the oxen which dragged the chariot of the priestess not being at hand, they drew their mother to the temple, a distance of about five miles. Cydippe prayed to Juno to grant to them in reward what was best for mortals. That night the brothers slept in the temple, and never awoke. This was the greatest boon the goddess could grant.
Bitsch (Fr. Bitche), a town and fortress of Alsace-Lorraine, formerly belonging to the French department of Moselle, 35 m. N. W. of Strasburg; pop. in 1866, 2,740. The fort is on an isolated rock, defending one of the main roads through the Vosges, with bomb-proof casemates hewn from the solid rock, and is well supplied with water. Before the late Franco-German war it contained 90 guns. It was invested by the German forces in August, 1870, and in September suffered a severe bombardment. It however held out until the preliminaries of peace were signed, when together with the territory in which it is situated it was ceded to the Germans. The town contains manufactories of paper and porcelain, and in the vicinity are extensive glass works.