Lord of Biscay

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.


The first known Lord of Biscay (11th century), Íñigo López "Ezkerra" was a lieutenant of the Kingdom of Pamplona (later known as Navarre), and this was until the castilian conquest of Gipuzcoa in 1200. The relations of the lords with the kings of Castille made them the landlords of Haro in 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) when inheriting the honor.

After the Lordship was inherited by the Castilian dynasty in 1370, the Kings of Castile and later Spain still have to give oath in equal manner, even after the fuero was restricted in the 19th century.

List of Lords of Biscay


  • 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 invader forces of the kingdom of Asturias; before the battle he saw two wolfs with lambs in their mouths, presaging the victory, and that was taken as the arms of the lords of Biscay.


  • Iñigo (Eneko) López (1033/43-78)
  • Lope Iñíguez (1078-93), son, count also of Alava (1085-90) and Guipuzcoa (1080?-1093)
  • Diego López de Haro I (1073-1124), son, count of Alava (1114-23) and Guipuzcoa (1093-1124)
  • Lope Díaz de Haro I (1124-34)(first time), son, count of Alava (1136-43)
  • Ladrón Íñiguez (c. 1134-50)
  • Lope Díaz de Haro I (second time)(1150-70)
  • Diego López de Haro II (1170-1214), son, count of Alava and Guipuzcoa (1200-1214)
  • Lope Díaz de Haro II (1214-36), son, count of Alava
  • Diego López de Haro III (1236-54), son, count of Alava (1246-54)
  • Lope Díaz de Haro III (1254-88), son, count of Alava (1273-88)
  • Diego López de Haro IV (1288-89), son
  • María Díaz de Haro I the Good (1289-95), daughter
  • Diego López de Haro V the Intruder (1295-1310), son of Diego López de Haro III, founder of Bilbao
  • María Díaz de Haro I (1310-1322)(second time)
  • Juan de Haro the One-eyed (1322-26), son of María
  • María Díaz de Haro I (third time) (1326-34)
  • Alfonso X of Castile (1334)
  • María Díaz de Haro II (1334-49), daughter of Juan de Haro, married with Juan Nuñez de Lara
  • Nuño de Lara (1350-52), son
  • Juana de Lara (1352-58), sister of Nuño
  • Pedro of Castile (1358-66)
  • Tello (Teilo) (1366-69), husband of Juana de Lara and bastard brother of the king Pedro
  • Juana Manuel (1369-71), wife of king Enrique II of Castile (another bastard brother)
  • Juan (1371-90), son, who became king of Castile in 1378

After 1378, 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 Juan Carlos I.

Bibliographical sources

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

External links

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