Lord of Biscay

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
History of the Basque people
Prehistory and Antiquity
Basque Prehistory
Basque people in Antiquity
Middle Ages
Duchy of Cantabria
Duchy of Vasconia
County of Vasconia
Battle of Roncevaux Pass
Kingdom of Navarre
Banu Qasi
Lordship of Biscay
Basque party wars
Modern Age
The Basque Country in the Early Modern Age
Basque witch trials
The Basque Country in the Late Modern Age
Carlist Wars
Basque nationalism
Dukes of Vasconia and Gascony
Kings of Pamplona and Navarre
Lords of Biscay
Counts of Araba
Counts of Lapurdi
Viscounts of Zuberoa
Navarrese right
Basque navigation
Basque culture
Basque literature
Politics of the Basque Country
Timeline of Basque history
Basque portal

Lord of Biscay (Basque: Bizkaiko Jauna, Spanish: Señor de Vizcaya) is a historical title of the head of state of the autonomous territory of Biscay, Basque Country.


After swearing the Oath to the Fueros under the Guernica tree, King Ferdinand II of Aragon receives the traditional homage of kissing of the hand from the Juntas Generales (General Assembly) of Biscay, July 30, 1476.

The first known Lord of Biscay (11th century), Íñigo López "Ezkerra" was a lieutenant of the Kingdom of Pamplona (later known as Navarre); this feudal relationship was intermittently held to by his successors until the definitive Castilian conquest of Gipuzkoa in 1200. The relations of the lords with the kings of Castille made them the landlords of Haro, La Rioja because they had favored the Castilian interests in the conflicts with Pamplona/Navarre.

The Lords had limited powers and had, like the Navarrese monarchs before them, to give oath at Gernika of respecting the fuero (Basque: forua), which in this context means a compilation of laws, when inheriting the honor.

After the Lordship was inherited by the Castilian dynasty in 1370, the Kings of Castile (and later, of Spain) still had to give oath in equal manner and so they did, until the Biscayan fueros were unilaterally supplanted at the end of 19th century, as a retaliatory measure from the government of Madrid for the support of the provinces to the Carlist pretender to the Crown.[1] They haven't done it since the second restoration of Alfonso XII

List of Lords of Biscay[edit]

Former lords of Biscay's arms of the House of Haro
Coat of Arms of Ferdinand II of Aragon as Lord of Biscay. 
Coat of Arms of the Spanish Monarchs as Lords of Biscay (16th-17th Centuries)
(As shown at the main façade of the General Assembly House of Biscay in Avellaneda)


  • Jaun Zuria (the White Lord): supposedly born from the union of god Sugaar and a Scottish (or Irish, or Danish, or Frankish) princess in the village of Mundaka. Legend says that Jaun Zuria was the elected chief of the Biscayans in the victorious battle of Arrigorriaga against the invading forces of the Kingdom of Asturias; tradition holds that before the battle he saw two wolves carrying lambs in their mouths, presaging the victory; this scene is reflected in the arms of the lords of Biscay of the House of Haro.


After 1379, the Lords of Biscay have been the Kings of Castile and, later, Spain. The rival Carlist dynasty of pretenders to the Spanish throne took the oath but were not recognized as kings by most of Spain. The periods without a Lord were the Second Spanish Republic and the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, when the fuero of Biscay was abolished.

The current Lord of Biscay is the Spanish King Felipe VI.

Linking to the Biscayan tradition, the Presidents of the Basque Government take a different oath under the Guernica oak in their inauguration.

See also[edit]

Bibliographical sources[edit]

  • Historia de Navarra, el estado vasco, Mikel Sorauren, 1998.


  1. ^ Trask, L. The History of Basque Routledge: 1997 ISBN 0-415-13116-2
  2. ^ PETER THE CRUEL DON PEDRO I, page 23, Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (Great Britain), volumes 17-18, 1840.

External links[edit]