Las 7 Villas
LAS 7 VILLAS
The origin of Las 7 Villas (The Seven Villages) as a regional organization can be traced back to 1584, when the founding act of the Confederation of the Five Villages and the Valley of Canales was signed in the Chapel of Santiago, in Viniegra de Abajo. It brought together Brieva de Cameros, Viniegra de Arriba, Viniegra de Abajo, Ventrosa, Mansilla de la Sierra and Canales de la Sierra, which had Villavelayo, Monterrubio de la Demanda and Huerta de Arriba under its jurisdiction.
Meetings in Las 7 Villas took place in La Casa de Islas, which was enclosed in the municipal area of Mansilla de la Sierra, near the area named Tabladas and set at the foot of the Urbión mountain range, below the Caste peak and between the rivers Portilla and Urbión. This location was considered best because of its equidistance to the rest of the villages and the fact that Puente Suso, a path used for transhumance, was near.
Nowadays, the organization has lost its administrative and jurisdictional role, yet it still maintains a common historical, cultural and geographical nature. The original Casa de Islas was destroyed when the reservoir was built.
LA CASA DE ISLAS
La Casa de Islas (House of Islands), also known as “House of the Half League” was named this way because it was built between two rivers.
The mayors of the villages would hold meetings in this building, which were presided by a parish priest following a Royal edict by Juan II: “any person, stockbreeder or not, may witness the debates”.
In these sessions, which set law precedents in La Sierra, the most common topics to be discussed were the pastures, the paths for transhumance, the cattle trade and other usual disputes among stockbreeders.
The building was “absolutely and permanently exempt” from territorial contribution in October 10th 1921, according to a document stored in the Record of Nájera.