LENITZ, Valley of

Uprisings against the Guevaras. Gorosábel rightly says that the inhabitants of Léniz "could never put up with the subjection" imposed on them. The first not to put up with the new situation were the leading noblemen, some of whom - Ayerbe recounts - set fire to their ancestral homes and took refuge in villas de realengo or mutated towns that enjoyed administrative autonomy, the appointment of their own authorities, civil and criminal jurisdiction, legal privileges and protection from the king. One of the most notable cases was that of Juan Báñez de Artazubiaga, from Bedoña, who, after setting fire to his tower-house, went to live in Mondragón, where he built a new palace. Another was that of the Uriarte de Zarimur family. The first was later rebuilt by Asensio Báñez de Artazubiaga. It would be the site now occupied by the Catholic Action Centre (Leibar & Letona: Valle de Léniz, 1975, 61). In the year 1423, according to the Bienandanzas of Lope García de Salazar, those of the Lordship of Lenis rose up against Don Pedro Velasco de Guevara, who, his father having died, had remained in the power of Ferrand Peres de Ayala, his grandfather, at the age of eight, who with all his men went on a rampage through all the villages of the valley of that name, destroying and burning many houses, among them those of Estibaliz de Galarza, subjecting the valley to his power. In the same year, the Council of Mondragón rose up and its men burnt down the stronghold of Pedro Velasco. In 1429, the inhabitants of the valley signed capitulations with the Guevaras, by means of which the lords guaranteed several of the valley's freedoms. One of the most important uprisings took place in 1451. That year the town of Salinas, with the help of the Brotherhood, demolished the tower, a symbol of its feudal dominion. For a few days the town regained its independence, but the lord surrounded it and took it again by force and assault. This action cost the town 4,000 mrs. a year for 25 years, after which the lord continued to charge them and subject them to other excesses.