XVI Century

The town of Portugalete was losing from the 16th century the monopoly rights on the trade and fishing, caught by the port of Bilbao. From the point of view of port, it was originally the place of departure of the Castilian wool towards Flanders, as the outer port of Bilbao that was an export center for the mercantile union that controlled the wool northern trade, that is to say, Merchants’ University of Burgos.

Nevertheless Bilbao, relying on the power of the monarchy, was snatching this commercial monopoly, and the territory of the Estuary, from Barrica to Erandio approximately on the right bank, and from Somorrostro to Luchana, on the left bank. This area had been granted to Portugalete in the Privilege of Foundation in 1322, as demarcation of exclusive economic and commercial domain. People in this area of real hegemony jarrillera could not download any merchandise without the permission of Portugalete’s Mayor.

Despite the strong support of the Crown to Bilbao, Portugalete maintained the Estuary of its name under its power until the end of the eighteenth century. Since then the city was dedicated to live of the income that received for pilotage rights to help to cross the dangerous “Portugalete’s Bar”, to all the ships that entered in the estuary.

Chronological table

  • 1502 -  Several technicians Juan de Garita and Guiot de Beaugrant are nominated to make a report about the state of Portugalete’s Bar, which was very dangerous.
  • 1515 -  Great buoys of Flanders are placed in the Bar and at the top of the channel to channel it and to increase the bottom.
  • 1526 -  Emperor Charles V and his mother Dona Juana confirm Portugalete’s Privilege. Emperor Charles V and his mother, Dona Juana confirm Portugalete’s Privilege, in the city of Seville and was brought to Portugalete on June 3, where was received by his mayor Sancho de Ugarte. The original one extended in half a sheet of parchment like paper, with a stamp of wax that has missed from the document, it remains in the File of the Town.
  • 1530 -  A wharf sixty fathoms is built. 1540 After many years of work in Portugalete’s wharves, these are now 400 fathoms long.
  • 1547 -  Alliance between the Merchants' University of Burgos with Portugalete Alliance between the Merchants' University of Burgos with Portugalete to embark big sacks of wool towards Flanders, stopping loading them in Bilbao, the agreement did not last very much, since the fleet of Portugalete could not compete with the Bilbao one.
  • 1558 -  Burgos, Bilbao and Portugalete sign a commitment putting under an obligation to the continuation of the Works of the wharves, work that directed the main stone cutter Erauso.
  • 1561 -  Philip II grants his confirmation.
  • 1568 -  On August 22 Portugalete and Bilbao sign another writing on the arrangement of the wharves.
  • 1580 -  The construction of the Church of Santa Maria is finished, one of its executors is Master Garita.