Skip to main content

Lope García de Salazar

GARCÍA DE SALAZAR, LOPE


Lope García de Salazar was born in 1399 in San Martín de Somorrostro, his father was the grandson of Juan Lopez de Salazar, who was the first in the lineage which was established in Bizkaia. At the same time, this was the eldest son of the bastards of Lope García de Salazar, of Nograro, who had the nickname "Iron Arms" and had 120 natural children.
Our character, with the same name and surname of his grandfather, was the most powerful partisan of his time in Biscay, which successfully combined the fight with the love to the books and his interest to the history.


"From my youth, he says, I worked to have books and histories of events in the world. I got them to search in the provinces and houses of kings and princes of Christendom, from across the sea and from this side of my relationships with merchants and mariners”.
His life was involved in fights and violence that made him exile and many displeasures. He tells that was 18 when he killed Lope Ochoa de Mendieta in a trap.
He married with Juana de Butrón and Múgica and built in her honor Muñatones’ tower. The possessions and treasures of his estate were great, these include Portugalete´s provosts.


The last years of his life were marked by tragedy. In 1467 he tried to prevent that his sons allied with the Butrón-Mujica to fight against the Avendaño without success in spite of his curse.
Mal banner is the curse of an old man, says Ciriquiaín, and they did nothing more that to enter battle when four of them were killed besides Martínez González de Banas, Ochoa de la Pedriza, Pedro de Santurce and Juan de San Juan de Llano. All the town people dressed in mourning.
For further derision, Martin Ruiz de Basurto, put the corpses of four brothers in a car, took them to Bilbao and sent them in a pinnace down river to Portugalete. Some days later, Ruiz de Basurto´s house burned lighting for the souls of those killed in the battle of Elorrio.


Two years after his wife died. He, though old man, retaining the pleasures and faculties of a young man, so could not consent to his son Juan seduced two of his favorite mistresses in his tower. Enraged he expelled him from the tower and disinherited him.
However, the son returned and besieged the tower, and he took his father prisoner.
In 1471, being in prison, he began writing his great Bienandanzas y fortunas, which is the second of his works that survives, some years before, he wrote the Chronicle of Biscay.
Composed of 25 books, in which he treats the history of the world and of Spain, in the last six ones are described meticulously the fights of lineages and decrees that happened in the Basque Country.


The last part, where he was an actor, is a precious and irreplaceable source to know the bloody Biscay of those years.
In 1.476 he managed to flee from Muñatones and hardly came to Portugalete, to the tower that also was of his property, but where his another son mixed with Juan, caught him again.
Helped by a servant he escaped sheltering in the church.


From its tower he touched the bells, and, told to the congregated neighborhood what his sons had done to him, being ratified in his testament.
Before the fearful passivity of the people, his sons climbed to the roof and took him out of the church.
Again in the tower, his death took place on November 9, in 1476, poisoned together to his daughter. Sabino Gandarias Aguirre in his work, still unpublished, “Lope García de Salazar, the first historian of Biscay”, which made him get the prize of investigation of the Town Hall in 1988, and is the most complete and exhaustive work that exists, denies the story, in which before dying he gave of proving his daughter who would die few hours before him.

 

Back