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Story of the Celts: The Celts in Galicia, Spain

Author: John Patrick Parle

Copyright © 1999

The Celts in Galicia, Spain [26]

Galicia is a region located in the northwest corner of Spain, just above Portugal; Galicia is comprised of the following Spanish provinces: La Coruna, Lugo, Grense, and Ponteverde. In all, over 2.8 million people live in Galicia. The people of this region speak a language similar to Portuguese known as Galician, different from the official language of Spain, Castilian Spanish.

Galicia sends folk performers to the annual pan-Celtic festival in Lorient, Brittany. This festival celebrates everything Celtic, from every Celtic region of the world. The group from Galicia, Spain performs a typical Celtic-style step-dance (which they say is steeped in their local tradition) to the music of a Galician bagpipe.

The preponderance of knowledge is that the ancient Celts had a strong presence in Spain. This is reported by classical writers, and confirmed in archeological evidence. The quote below from the Encyclopedia Britannica tries to sum it up:

"Behind the seaboard fringe of Tartesso-Iberians, the high-lying interior was in the possession of a variety of indigenous peoples of whom we have no clear knowledge except that, along with Catalonia, they passed through an early Iron Age (or Hallstatt phase) associated with the invasion of Celtic tribes who, in the 7th and 6th centuries B.C., poured through the Pyrenees by the western passes and gained possession of large areas of the peninsula, submerging previous inhabitants. The chief Celtic zones today are Galicia and Portugal. The Celtic invasion may justly be called an historical event. We can date its successive waves within a few decades, define its sources, follow its spread and perceive its results."

(from article on "Spain," 1966 edition, emphasis added)

There is also an area of Spain around the Ebro River valley and the Castilian uplands that was referred to by ancient writers as being Celtiberian, because the invading Celts had begun to assimilate into the local Iberian cultures.

On another point, ancient traditions in Ireland have it that the early Celtic invaders there were from Iberia (now Spain)--they were thought to be Celtic seafarers from the northern portions of the Iberian peninsula. Writer Thomas Cahill contends that some of the early Irish Celts were from Britain, but the dominant Celts there were from what is now Spain.

Part II: The Ancient Celts

Part IV: The Celts in Britain

26. Material on Galicia, Spain from BBC, The Celts, and articles entitled "Spain" in the Encyclopedia Britannica and
the World Book Encyclopedia.

Claims of Irish Celt origins from Spain found in Thomas Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization (New York: Doubleday, 1995), pg. 79. Cahill believes that the Celts of Spain had a different language type than that of Celtic Britain, which explains how Irish Gaelic differs from the Brythonic Celtic languages of Great Britain.

Suggested Pdf Resources

Celtic Legacy in Galicia
Mythologising Identity and History: A Look at the Celtic Past of Galicia
L 03-UP-004 Spain Io02(A)
Web sites on Celtic Galicia, with a throughout Galicia. 4. 5.
People called Keltoi
Tène Style, and Ancient Celtic Languages: the Threefold Celts in the Light of Geography'. (Swansea narrative Story of the Celts. Such a new account .
the sixth century took the Celts to the British Isles, Spain, and Italy, and at the end mon sources, among which we must reckon the history of Hieronymos of Cardia, who .. Dniester (Tyras), there was a Camodunum (Zaleszczyki in Galicia).

Suggested News Resources

Spain: To the end of the world and back
Rising from Galicia's southeast to the northern coast, the Cantabrian mountains have historically made travel difficult between Galicia and the rest of Spain.
Spain: To the End of the World and Back
Rising from Galicia's southeast to the northern coast, the Cantabrian mountains have historically made travel difficult between Galicia and the rest of Spain.

Suggested Web Resources

GALICIA GUIDE | Galicia's celtic connection | Spain
Celtic Heritage in Galicia, Spain
For centuries the Celtic heritage of Galicia was more or less forgotten. Portugal, Spain, and the rest of Europe to learn more about our shared Celtic history.
Galicia (Spain) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Galicians: the autonomous Celts of Spain
This article analyzes the culture, history, and identity of the Galician Celts of Spain, an autonomous minority that considers itself to be non-Spanish.
What is the Celtic heritage of Galicia , Spain? - Yahoo! Answers
It's the province of Galicia, located in the northwest corner of Spain.