Jaun Zuria

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Jaun Zuria (Basque for "the White Lord") is the mythical first Lord, and founder, of the Lordship of Biscay, [1] [2] who defeated the Leonese and Asturian troops in the also-mythical Battle of Padura, in which he chased off the invaders to the Malato Tree, establishing there the borders of Biscay. There are three accounts of its legend, one by the Portuguese count Pedro Barcelos and two by the chronicler Lope García de Salazar. [3] According to the legend, Jaun Zuria had been born from a Scottish or English princess who had been visited by the Basque deity Sugaar in the village of Mundaka.

Basque language Language of the Basque people

Basque (; euskara[eus̺ˈkaɾa]) is a language spoken in the Basque Country, a region that straddles the westernmost Pyrenees in adjacent parts of northern Spain and southwestern France. Linguistically, Basque is unrelated to the other languages of Europe and is a language isolate relative to any other known living language. The Basques are indigenous to, and primarily inhabit, the Basque Country. The Basque language is spoken by 28.4% (751,500) of Basques in all territories. Of these, 93.2% (700,300) are in the Spanish area of the Basque Country and the remaining 6.8% (51,200) are in the French portion.

Lordship of Biscay

The Lordship of Biscay was a region under feudal rule in the region of Biscay in the Iberian Peninsula between c.1040 and 1876, ruled by a political figure known as the Lord of Biscay. One of the Basque señoríos, it was a territory with its own political organization, with its own naval ensign, consulate in Bruges and customs offices in Balmaseda and Urduña, from the 11th Century until 1876, when the Juntas Generales were abolished. Since 1379, when John I of Castile became the Lord of Biscay, the lordship got integrated into the Crown of Castile, and eventually the Kingdom of Spain.

Kingdom of Asturias Former kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula

The Kingdom of Asturias was a kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula founded in 718 by the Visigothic nobleman Pelagius. It was the first Christian political entity established after the Umayyad conquest of Visigothic Hispania in 718 or 722. That year, Pelagius defeated an Umayyad army at the Battle of Covadonga, in what is usually regarded as the beginning of the Reconquista.


It has been suggested that Jaun Zuria might have the same origin or be the same mythical figure as Olaf the White, an Irish Viking sea-king from the 9th century.

Olaf the White was a viking sea-king who lived in the latter half of the 9th century.

Ireland Island in north-west Europe, 20th largest in world, politically divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (a part of the UK)

Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.

Accounts of the legend

Bienandanzas e Fortunas

The Basque chronicler Lope García de Salazar (1399-1476) mentions the Jaun Zuria on his Bienandanzas e Fortunas, book that he begins to write in 1471. [3] He speaks of the daughter of a Scottish king, who arrives by ship at Mundaka and gives birth to a son in the village. Afterward, both mother and son move to Busturia, where the boy spends most of his childhood. When the son is 22 years old, the Biscayans choose him to be captain of their troops to stop the progress of the army of a Asturian king's son. He is chosen because of his royal blood, as it had been a requirement of the Asturian prince, in order to engage in a formal battle. The Asturian prince and his army are defeated in Arrigorriaga on the Battle of Padura or Arrigorriaga. Thus, the Biscayans choose him to be the first Lord of Biscay and Lord of Durangaldea, [4] and give him the Basque name of Jaun Zuria, that is the White Lord, because of the whiteness of his skin and hair. [3]

Scotland Country in Northwest Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain, with a border with England to the southeast, and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Sea to the northeast, the Irish Sea to the south, and more than 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

Kingdom of Scotland Historic sovereign kingdom in the British Isles from the 9th century to 1707

The Kingdom of Scotland was a sovereign state in northwest Europe traditionally said to have been founded in 843. Its territories expanded and shrank, but it came to occupy the northern third of the island of Great Britain, sharing a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England. It suffered many invasions by the English, but under Robert I it fought a successful War of Independence and remained an independent state throughout the late Middle Ages. In 1603, James VI of Scotland became King of England, joining Scotland with England in a personal union. In 1707, the two kingdoms were united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain under the terms of the Acts of Union. Following the annexation of the Northern Isles from the Kingdom of Norway in 1472 and final capture of the Royal Burgh of Berwick by the Kingdom of England in 1482, the territory of the Kingdom of Scotland corresponded to that of modern-day Scotland, bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the southwest.

Mundaka Municipality in Euskadi, Spain

Mundaka is a town and municipality located in the province of Biscay, in the autonomous community of Basque Country, northern Spain. On the coast, Mundaka is internationally renowned for its surfing scene.

Book of the Lineages

The Portuguese Count of Barcelos Pedro Alfonso speaks about a similar story on a similar background, on his Libro dos Linhagems ("Book of the Lineages"). [3] According to him, Biscay was a Lordship before even Castile had kings, but for a lot of time it remained without a lord. An Asturian count named don Moñino knew about this situation, and thus forced the Biscayans to give him as a tribute a cow, an ox and a white horse every year. Soon thereafter, arrived by ship a brother of the king of England named From. He came with one of his sons, named Fortun Froes, and they settled in the village of Busturia. From, being told about the tribute, promised to defend the Biscayans as long as they called him Lord. The Asturian count then, engaged in battle against From and the Biscayans, and was defeated near Arrigorriaga. After From's passing, Fortun Froes became the Lord of Biscay.

County of Portugal county in Southwestern Europe between 843-1139

The County of Portugal refers to two successive medieval counties in the region around Braga and Porto, today corresponding to littoral northern Portugal, within which the identity of the Portuguese people formed. The first county existed from the mid-ninth to the mid-eleventh centuries as a vassalage of the Kingdom of Asturias and later the Kingdoms of Galicia and León, before being abolished as a result of rebellion. A larger entity under the same name was then reestablished in the late 11th century and subsequently elevated by its count in the mid-12th century into an independent Kingdom of Portugal.

Pedro Afonso, Count of Barcelos Count of Barcelos

Pedro Afonso, Count of Barcelos, was an illegitimate son of King Denis of Portugal and Grácia Frois. He was made the 3rd Count of Barcelos on 1 May 1314.

Kingdom of England Historic sovereign kingdom on the British Isles (927–1649; 1660–1707)

The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

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  1. Juan Antonio Llorente (1808). Historicas de las tres Provincias Vascongadas. pp. 441–.
  2. Pascual Madoz (1847). Diccionario geográfico-estadístico-histórico de España y sus posesiones de ultramar. Est. Literario-Tipográfico de P. Madoz y L. Sagasti. pp. 69–.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Jaun Zuria entry at the Auñamendi Entziklopedia (Spanish)
  4. Libro XX de las BIENANDANZAS E FORTUNAS DE LOPE GARCÍA DE SALAZAR Edición realizada por Ana María Marín Sánchez.

See also