The Town Community of Lea Ibarra - Munitibar - Aulesti - Gizaburuaga - Amoroto - Mendexa

A boat
A group of men in Mendexa
A group of people singing Santa Agega

Mendexa - History

The first documents about Mendexa date from the XVIth century, the period when it became a parochial district. There are very few earlier data. It is, though, known that the area has been populated since the paleolithic.

Seemingly, families of noble descent lived there in the Middle Ages. Cattle raising was their main occupation, although it was not a permanent activity. The presence of the Romans was scarce until the Xth and XIth centuries. Afterwards, when the population started moving away from the cities, agriculture expanded and the inhabitants settled in the area.

There is XIIIth century heritage in Mendexa, such as the Romanesque sculpture of Andra Mari. We know that by then the locals had a fixed occupation and a permanent home. Christianity was widespread, as the figures of San Millan, San Bartolome or San Jose show us.

According to data, Mendexa was once under the rule of Andra Mari´s Basilica in Lekeitio. The locals complained about not having their own priest to the lord of Luko, and he, seeing that there were enough parishioners, defied the synod and on November the 4th 1545 ordered the municipal council of Lekeitio to turn Mendexa into a parish. Those in Lekeitio did not agree and turned to the Pope, but he ruled in favour of Mendexa and the town won the fight.

This eventual independence shows three important facts:
Firstly, the town´s demographic growth: Mendexa´s population grew before the popular requests to become separate from Lekeitio began. Secondly, that agriculture improved the local economy, as it brought the capacity to pay for the priest and the maintenance of the parish. Thirdly, that Christianity took root; for this, inhabitants had to be completely settled in a place.

At the period when Mendexa separated from Lekeitio, society was almost feudal, and the system of taxes and the clergy carried on. Noble families were at the top of the hierarchy; in Mendexa it was the case of the Mendexa and Likona families. Both took part in the feuds of the IXth and Xth centuries.

On the General Meetings of Gernika these families had chair number 23 and the ability to vote. From the Middle Ages till almost today, cattle raising and agriculture have been the basis of Mendexa´s society and economy.

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