Income census from the cottages in Cenarruza
In 1799, the Provincial Council of Biscay owed a significant debt that it had taken on in 1794 and 1795 when it had to raise an army on the brink of war to defend the dominion from the arrival of the French during the War of the Pyrenees and to provide maintenance to the invaders during their stay.
This was the first time that a situation arose that would be repeated many times in the 19th Century.
To pay this debt, the General Councils approved a plan that taxed the wealth of the dominion: traders, farmers, churches and institutions had to contribute funds to settle their obligations. This included landlords.
In order to agree on the distribution according to the wealth of each of them, it was necessary to draw up a census of the cottages, windmills and foundries in Biscay, indicating their annual income and the amounts they owed under the census.
This has provided us with very full information on how rural property was distributed in the dominion and how much they owed. The income census from the cottages of Cenarruza is one of the ledgers drawn up to this end.