Basque señoríos

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The coat of arms of the Castilian House of Haro, the bearers of the title of Señorío de Vizcaya during the 11th and 14th century

The Basque señoríos were medieval hereditary land titles over an area called señorío (Lordship), recognized by a king to former basque chieftains in relation to the concept of manorialism in exchange for sworn allegiance. The Basque term is jaurerria (pronounced [xauˈɾeria]), means "lord's country" and usually relates to the señoríos of the Basque Country. Either term frequently refers to the most important of these, the Bizkaiko Jaurerria or Señorío de Vizcaya (Lordship of Biscay) as it is known in Spanish. Most other Basque jauerriak were much smaller, such as the Oñatiko Jaurerria (Señorío de Oñate).

This title conferred considerable powers into the hands of the Lord of Vizcaya which in other area were directly controlled by the king. A señor was the judicial and military high authority, was entitled to rule directly without referring to the king, had the power to appoint civil servants and was entitled to collect taxes.

Historical development[edit]

After the Sancho III of Navarre annexed Castile in 1029, the titles to the Lordship of Biscay were granted by the Kings of Navarre. This early "core" of Biscay consisted of:

To these were added the Enkarterri and the area around Durango (called Durangaldea in Basque, Duranguesado in Spanish) at a later date.

After the Kingdom of Navarre disintegrated during the 12th century and a big part of it was annexed by Castile, titles over lands were awarded to the nobility by the Kings of Castile. They continued to exist in various forms until 1876 when the Basque foral rights or fueros were abolished.

Lords of Biscay[edit]

Main article: Lord of Biscay

The Legendary Lords[edit]

According to the 14th century historian Lope García de Salazar, there were five Lords prior to those known to us from the historical record:

  • Jaun Lope Zuria ("Lord Lope the White"), also known simply as Jaun Zuria ("the white lord"), or Don Blanco or Don Zurián in Spanish. He is said to have beaten the Asturians and Leonese in the Battle of Padura in 840 and subsequently honoured with the title of Lord of Biscay in 888 by the Biscaynes.
  • 909-920 Munso/Nunso López, son of Jaun Zuria.
  • 920-924 Ínigo Esquira "El Zurdo", son of Munso López
  • 924-931 Lope II Íñiguez, also known as Lope Díaz "El Lindo" and son of Ínigo Esquira.
  • 931-993 Sancho López, son of Lope II Íñiguez.

House of Haro[edit]

The House of Haro was the most powerful family of Castile at that time and strongly supported the expansionist policies of Alfonso VI of Castile. As a reward, Íñigo López was named the first Lord of Biscay.

House of Burgundy[edit]

Further information: House of Burgundy

House of Haro and Lara[edit]

  • 1334-1349 María Díaz II de Haro with Juan Núñez de Lara
  • 1334-1350 Juan Núñez de Lara
  • 1350-1355 Nuño de Lara
  • 1355-1359 Juana de Lara

House of Trastámara[edit]

Further information: House of Trastámara

Since 1379, the title has been held by the kings of Castile and, after the unification of Spain, by the ruling monarch of Spain.

Lords of Gipuzkoa[edit]

The Señorío de Guipúzcoa, as it is known in Spanish, was annexed by Alfonso VIII of Castile early on in 1200.

Lords of Álava[edit]

Álava was a señorío from about 1100 onwards when the titles to the Señorío de Álava were awarded by Queen Urraca of Castile, later by the Kings of Navarre before falling back to the Castilian crown. The last areas of the Señorío de Álava, as it is known in Spanish, were annexed by Alfonso XI of Castile in 1332.

Lords of Oñati[edit]

Between 1149 and 1845 the Lords of Oñati all hailed from the Gebara (Guevara in Spanish) family. Their titles as Lords of Oñati were originally conferred by the Kings of Navarre and after the annexation of Gipuzkoa in 1201 by the Kings of Castile. The title was lost in 1845 when Oñati was incorporated into the province of Gipuzkoa. Some members of the Gebara family included: