Entrance to the 'Casa de Juntas de Abellaneda'

The Casa de Juntas de Abellaneda (Assembly House) was where the representatives of the councils and valleys of Las Encartaciones would meet to deliberate on the general matters of the region. Although the Encartaciones region had always been part of the Señorío of Bizkaia (the Lordship of Bizkaia), it however retained a certain degree of political independence from the Lordship, as evidenced by the General Assemblies of Abellaneda.

During the Middle Ages, meetings were tumultuous, attended by large numbers of people. During the Modern Age, a system was institutionalised whereby each encartado (chartered) council was represented by one single apoderado or representative.

For the General Assemblies of Gernika, one or two representatives of the Encartaciones were elected to represent the entire region at those meetings.

For centuries, the independence of the Encartaciones region caused tensions between the two entities (The Juntas of Gernika and Juntas of Abellaneda). Gradually, especially from the 17th century onwards, movements for a full integration into the Lordship intensified and caused small temporary schisms among the councils of the Encartaciones.

As an example, in the second half of the 17th century, a split occurred between the United Republics (those that had incorporated into Bizkaia, each with their own right to vote, but maintaining their political membership to the body of the Encartaciones), namely the councils of Gordexola, Güeñes, Zalla, Galdames and the Three Councils of Somorrostro; and the Non United Republics (Carranza, Sopuerta, Four Councils of the Valley of Somorrostro, Trucíos and Arcentales). Although all of them would later fully incorporate again into the Encartaciones region, thus reverting to the previous status quo, a split would again be repeated years later, although this time with different members on each side.

Finally, all the chartered councils were incorporated into the Lordship of Bizkaia in 1801, and the General Assemblies of Abellaneda ceased to meet.