The Juntas Generales (General Assemblies) are the maximum body of representation and popular participation of the biscayans: the Parliament of Bizkaia. As a parliamentary institution, it carries out its normative capacity in its fields of competence for the advancement of Bizkaia. It also carries out the control and follow-up of the activity of the Regional Government of Bizkaia.

Their headquarters are in the Casa de Juntas (Assembly Hall) in Gernika, beside the legendary oak tree, where the Plenary Sessions are held. The Institution has its administrative headquarters in Bilbao, and its institutional headquarters at the Assembly Hall in Abellaneda and at the Hermitage of San Salvador and San Clemente in Gerediaga (Abadiño), seat of the Assemblies of the Durango District.

The Biscayan parliament has a long-standing historical tradition, whose origins date back to the Middle Ages, which makes it one of the first democratic political systems in Europe. The General Assemblies developed democratic instruments such as the Habeas Corpus, the prohibition of torture and Hidalguía Universal (universal freedom, abolition of vassalage), a long time before other institutions in Europe.

Recovered in 1979 after a break of more than one hundred years caused by the abolition of The Fueros (territorial laws) in 1876, the General Assemblies of Bizkaia have played a prominent role in the institutionalisation process which has been taking place in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country new window and in the recovery of the historical rights of the Basque Territories.

Plenary Session Hall of Gernika

The recognition of the historical rights of the Basque Territories took shape in article 3 of the Gernika Statute of Autonomy, in which it is stated that the said territories may retain, or if necessary, re-establish and update their particular organisation and self-government institutions.

The particular self-government institutions of our Historical Territory are the General Assemblies as the parliamentary chamber, and the Regional Government new window as the executive body.

Historical evolution
10th Century First mention of the name Bizkaia in the Chronicles of Alfonso III.
11th Century
  • 1043: First reference to a political authority in Bizkaia: Iñigo Lopez Ezkerra, Lord of Bizkaia.
  • 1053 and 1075: First references to meetings or assemblies of Biscayan people.
12th Century
13th Century Incorporation of Encartaciones and Duranguesado to the Lordship.
14th Century First documented testimony of the holding of Juntas (Assemblies).
15th Century 1452: Drawing up of the Old Fuero.
16th Century 1526: Drawing up of the New Fuero.
17th Century 1630 Concord: Puts an end to the rivalry between towns and parishes.
18th Century 1717: First tensions between Bourbon centralism and the foral system.
19th Century 1876: Abolition of the Fueros and suppression of foral institutions.
20th Century
  • 1979 (18th April): The General Assemblies are re-established.
  • 1979–1983: 1st Legislature.
  • 1983–1987: 2nd Legislature.
  • 1987–1991: 3rd Legislature.
  • 1991–1995: 4th Legislature.
  • 1995–1999: 5th Legislature.
  • 1999–2003: 6th Legislature.
21st Century
  • 2003–2007: 7th Legislature.
  • 2004: Commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the reestablishment of the General Assemblies.
  • 2005 (25th February): Planting of present days Oak Tree of Gernika.