|1st row: Orosius • Alfonso VII of León and Castile • Pardo de Cela • Rudesind I • Vimara Peres • Inês de Castro • Theodemar|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Related ethnic groups|
The Galicians (Galician: Galegos; Spanish: Gallegos) are an ethnolinguistic and cultural group and nationality, whose historical homeland is Galicia, in north-western Spain. Most Galicians are bilingual, speaking both their native language, Galician, closely related to Portuguese (being both languages mutually intelligible) and Castilian Spanish.
Etymology of the ethnonym 
The Galicians ethnonym, Galegos, derive from the Latin Gallaecos, itself an adaptation of the name of a local tribe known to the Greeks as καλλαικoι (Kallaikoi), who dwelt in what is now Northern Portugal and who were defeated by the Roman General Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus in the 2nd century BCE. The name of this people was later applied to all the people living north of the Douro river and west of the Navia, who share the same common culture.
The etymology of the name has been studied since the 7th century by authors such as Isidore of Seville —who wrote that "Galicians are called so, because of their fair skin, as the Gauls", relating the name to the Greek word for milk—, but currently scholars derive the name of the ancient Callaeci either from Proto-Indo-European *kal-n-eH2 'hill', through a local relational suffix -aik-, so meaning 'the highlanders'; or either from Proto-Celtic *kallī- 'forest', so meaning 'the forest (people)'. The English ethnonym Galicians is directly derived from Galicia, the homeland of the Galicians.
Geography and demographics 
Political and administrative divisions 
The autonomous community (a concept established in the Spanish constitution of 1978) that is known as (a) Comunidade Autónoma Galega in Galician, and as (la) Comunidad Autónoma Gallega in Spanish (in English: Galician Autonomous Community), is composed of the four Spanish provinces of A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense, and Pontevedra.
Population, main cities and languages 
The official Statistical body of Galicia is the Instituto Galego de Estatística (IGE). According to the IGE, Galicia's total population in 2008 was 2,783,100 (1,138,474 in A Coruña, 355.406 in Lugo, 336.002 in Ourense, and 953.218 in Pontevedra). The most important cities in this region, which serve as the provinces' administrative centres, are Vigo, Pontevedra (in Pontevedra), Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Ferrol (in A Coruña), Lugo (in Lugo), and Ourense (in Ourense). The official languages are Galician and Spanish. Knowledge of Spanish is compulsory according to the Spanish constitution and virtually universal. Knowledge of Galician, after declining for many years owing to the pressure of Spanish and official persecution, is again on the rise due to favorable official language policies and popular support. Currently about 82% of Galicia's population can speak Galician and about 61% has it as a mother tongue.
Ancient peoples of Galicia 
In pre-historic times Galicia was dominated by a megalithic culture, common to other areas of Atlantic Europe. Galician cultural elements can be traced back to the Bronze Age Celtic civilization known as the Castro Culture. Later, it was taken over by the Roman Republic and Empire. It was at this time that Latin, which is the ancestor of modern Galician, replaced the old Gallaecian language. The decline of the Roman Empire was followed by the rule of two Germanic tribes, the Suevic, who settled in considerable numbers, and the Visigoths, in the Middle Ages.
Like other Iberian regions, Galicia's history has been affected by emigration. There was significant Galician emigration in the 19th and early 20th centuries to other parts of Spain, Portugal, and to the American continent.
Unlike the Basque and the Catalan regions which began to industrialize in the 19th century and were urbanized and rich, Galicia was a relatively isolated village society whose main sources of income was subsistence agriculture and fishing. Its agricultural sector continued to be among the most backward in Spain and farm productivity was severely hampered by the tiny size of the individual farmsteads known as minifundios. The minifundio was the product of an attempt to distribute land plots in a closed rural system to a growing population by requiring that equal shares be bequeathed to every descendant. After just a few generations, the land had been subdivided so much that most of the plots were too small to support a family or to be economically viable. The rich seas and large fishing industry provided an alternative to agriculture.
For these reasons, Galicia was a net exporter of population to the rest of Spain. Between 1900 and 1981, the net outflow of people from Galicia was more than 825,000. During the Franco years, there was a new wave of emigration out of Galicia to other European countries, most notably to France, Switzerland, Germany and, to a lesser extent, the United Kingdom. South America has the largest number of people of Galician descent outside of Spain. Several million South Americans are descendants of Galician immigrants, mostly in Argentina and Brazil. In northeastern Brazil, people with light hair and eyes tend to be called galegos (Galicians), even if not of Galician descent, because of the large number of Galicians that settled in the region. In Argentina, the term gallegos was commonly used for all Spaniards because so many Galicians were among them when they arrived in the great migrations of the first half of the 20th century. Today, Buenos Aires is the city with the second highest number of people with Galician ancestry, although most share the mixed origins of other Argentinians.
Galician language 
Galician is an Iberian Romance language belonging to the Western Ibero-Romance branch of the Indo-European languages. It is spoken in Galicia, an autonomous community with the constitutional status of an "historic nationality" in northwestern Spain. Galician is also spoken in the neighboring autonomous communities of Asturias and Castile and León, near its border with Galicia, and in Portugal.
Medieval or Old Galician, more usually known today by linguists as Galician-Portuguese, was the language spoken in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia. Old Galician diverged into the two modern languages of Galician and Portuguese when the County of Portugal became the independent Kingdom of Portugal. The two modern languages still share much that is mutually intelligible, particularly in northern Portugal where they are joined by a dialect continuum.
Despite the positive effects of official recognition of the Galician language, Galicia's socio-linguistic development has experienced the growing influence of Spanish, a major world language. The drift toward Spanish is ascribed to the growth of urban centers, the emergence of a Galician middle class, and the worldly influences of education and the media.
Galicia also boasts a rich oral tradition, in the form of songs, tales, and sayings, which has made a vital contribution to the spread and development of the Galician language. Still flourishing today, this tradition constitutes a priceless cultural heritage, much of which is shared with Portugal.
See also 
- List of Galician people
- Galician nationalism
- Genetic history of the Iberian Peninsula
- Genetic history of Europe
- Fillos de Galicia
- Nationalities and regions of Spain
- Spanish people
- Censo electoral de galegos residentes no estranxeiro a 1 de abril de 2008, segundo país de residencia e provincia de inscrición
- Recalde, Montserrat (1997). La vitalidad etnolingüística gallega. València: Centro de Estudios sobre Comunicación Interlingüistíca e Intercultural. ISBN 9788437028958.
- de Azevedo Maia, Clarinda (1986). História do Galego-Português. Estado linguistico da Galiza e do Noroeste de Portugal desde o século XIII ao século XVI. Coimbra: Instituto Nacional de Investigação Científica.
- Kostov, Chris (2010). Contested ethnic identity: the case of Macedonian immigrants in Toronto, 1900-1996. Oxford: Peter Lang. p. 30. ISBN 9783034301961.
- Moralejo, Juan J. (2008). Callaica nomina : estudios de onomástica gallega. A Coruña: Fundación Pedro Barrié de la Maza. pp. 113–148. ISBN 978-84-95892-68-3.
- Curchin, Leonard A. (2008) Estudios GallegosThe toponyms of the Roman Galicia: New Study. CUADERNOS DE ESTUDIOS GALLEGOS LV (121): 111.
- [1:0];9912:15&S= A Coruña province 2008 census
- [1:0];9912:27&S= Lugo province census 2008
- [1:0];9912:32&S= Ourense province census 2008
- [1:0];9912:36&S= Pontevedra province census 2008
- Knowledge of Galician language 2003
- Use of Galician language 2003
- Galician Portal
- A collaborative study of the EDNAP group regarding Y-chromosome binary polymorphism analysis
- Galician language portal
- Galician Music, Culture and History
- Galician Government
- Galician History and Language
- Galician History
- Santiago Tourism
- Page about The Way of St James
- Oficial page about The Way of St James
- Arquivo do Galego Oral - An archive of records of Galician speakers.
- A Nosa Fala - Sound recordings of the different dialects of the Galician language.