Basse-terre (Fr., 'lowland'), three places in the West Indies. - (1) The capital of St Christopher's or St Kitt's, on the west coast; pop. 9000. - (2) Capital of the French island of Guadeloupe; pop. 9500. - (3) The chief town of Marie Galante, a dependency of Guadeloupe, which is about 12 miles to the NW.
Bassora. See Basra.
Bass Rock, an island-rock of Haddingtonshire, near the mouth of the Firth of Forth, 2 miles from Canty Bay, and 3 1/4 miles ENE. of North Berwick. Confronted by the ruins of Tantallon Gastle, and composed of volcanic greenstone and trap tuff, it is 1 mile in circumference, and 313 feet high, is inaccessible on all sides but the south, and is denizened by myriads of solan geese and other birds, which give it a snowy appearance in the distance. In 756 St Baldred died in a hermitage on the Bass Rock; in 1671 Charles II. purchased it for £4000, and within its dreary dungeons many Covenanters were con-lined.' Four young Jacobite prisoners captured, and, with twelve more who joined them, held it for King James, from June 1691 till April 1694. In 1701 the fortifications were demolished, and five years afterwards the Bass passed into the possession of the Dalrymples. See an interesting volume by Hugh Miller and four others (1848).
Bass Strait, the isleted channel separating Tasmania from Australia. It runs 180 miles almost due east and west, and has an average breadth of 140 miles. It was named after George Bass, surgeon of H.M.S. Reliance, who in 1798 proved the existence of the channel.
Basutoland, a British possession in South Africa, lying between Cape Colony, Natal, and the Orange River Colony, with an area of 10,300 sq. m. - nearly as large as Belgium - with a population of 650 Europeans and 265,000 Basutos, a people either belonging to the Bechuana stock or closely allied thereto. The country is one continuous rugged plateau, has the best grain land in South Africa, and admirable pasture; the climate is perfect, and the scenery beautiful. Basutoland was annexed to the Cape Colony in 1868, but separated from it in 1884; it is governed by a resident commissioner under the High Commissioner for South Africa.
Batchian. See Moluccas.
Bathgate, a town of Linlithgowshire, 20 miles W. by S. of Edinburgh. Freestone, coal, carboniferous limestone, and bituminous shale have been extensively wrought in the vicinity - the last since 1852. There are also large paraffin and paper works, a distillery, etc. In 1S24 the town was constituted a free burgh of barony, in 1865 a police-burgh. Sir James Simpson was a native. Pop. 5331.