Leonese people

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Leonese People

Ramiro II de León---1.jpgDiego de Losada - Antonio Herrera Toro Concejo Municipal de Caracas.jpgDurruti-portrait.png Imanol Arias.jpg José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero en el Foro Económico Mundial (recortada).jpg Carmelo Gomez.jpgManuel Martinez.jpgJuanin Garcia.jpg

1st row: Ramiro II of León, Diego de Losada, Buenaventura Durruti, Imanol Arias

2nd row: José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero, Carmelo Gómez, Manolo Martínez, Juanín García
Total population
approx. more than 1 million people worldwide[citation needed]
Regions with significant populations
Spanish (majority), Leonese (minority), Mirandese (minority in Portugal).
Roman Catholicism, Atheism, Agnosticism
Related ethnic groups
Galicians, Asturians, Castilians and others Spanish peoples.
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The Leonese (Leonese: Llïoneses, Spanish: Leoneses) are an ethnic group[citation needed] whose homeland is the former Kingdom of León, now known as region of Leon.[citation needed] This area was formerly a country in Southwestern Europe that covered a territory in northwestern Spain and northeastern Portugal.

The Leonese Kingdom was an independent kingdom in the Middle Ages, keeping its status as a kingdom under the Spanish rule[citation needed] until the 1833 territorial division of Spain. The languages of León are the Leonese language and Spanish in Spain and the Leonese and Portuguese in Portugal. A variety of Leonese called Mirandese (mirandês) is spoken in the Miranda do Douro Region of Portugal.[citation needed]

Geography and demographics[edit]

Political and administrative divisions[edit]

  • Spain

The former Kingdom of León was divided into three historical regions: Asturias, León and Extremadura,[citation needed] with the southern territories integrated into Andalucía, and some of the eastern territories into Castile. The Spanish division of 1833[1] recognised as Leonese the provinces of León, Salamanca and Zamora. They are now part of Castile and León and have lost their distinct identity as they fused with Old Castile.

  • Portugal

There are Leonese minorities in the District of Bragança (Portugal) that maintain Leonese culture and Leonese language, mainly in the northwest (Riodonor, Guadramil) and in the Land of Miranda, where a Leonese dialect known as Mirandês[2] was officially recognised by the Parliament of Portugal.

Leonese language[edit]

Main article: Leonese language

The Leonese language (Llingua Llïonesa in Leonese) developed from Vulgar Latin with contributions from the pre-Roman languages spoken in the Spanish provinces of León, Zamora, and Salamanca and in some villages in the District of Bragança, Portugal.[citation needed] Close to Mirandese and Asturian or Bable, it belongs to the Astur-Leonese subgroup of Iberian languages.

Leonese was the official language[citation needed] of the Leonese Kingdom in the Middle Ages and achieved a high codification grade.[citation needed] The first written text in Leonese was Nodicia de Kesos (959 or 974), and other old texts include Fueru de Llión, Fueru de Salamanca, Fueru Xulgu, Códice d'Alfonsu XI, Disputa d'Elena y María and Llibru d'Alixandre[3]

Its precarious situation as a minority language has driven Leonese to near extinction; it is considered a seriously endangered language by UNESCO.[4] There are ongoing language revival efforts to try to get the urban population interested in the language. There is the Leonese Council that promotes the language, and the municipalities of Zamora, Coyanza, Mansilla de las Mulas or La Bañeza have promoted the teaching of Leonese.[citation needed]

Leonese cuisine[edit]


  • Cecina from León: from beef. In Leonese, cecina means "meat that has been salted and dried by means of air, sun or smoke". Cecina de León is made of the hind legs of beef, salted, smoked and air-dried in the province of León in Northwestern Spain, and has PGI status.
  • Botillo: from pig. Traditionally made in the western Leonese regions. Botiellu, in Leonese language, is a dish of meat-stuffed pork intestine. It is a culinary specialty of El Bierzo, a county in the Spanish province of León and the region of Trás-os-Montes in Portugal where it is known as Botelo. This type of Embutido (Spanish) ou Enchido (Portuguese) is a meat product made from different pieces left over from the butchering of a pig, including the ribs, tail, and bones with a little meat left on them. These are chopped; seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and other spices; stuffed in the cecum of the pig; and partly cured via smoking. It can also include the pig's tongue, shoulder blade, jaw, and backbone, but may never exceed 20% of the total volume. It is normally consumed cooked and covered with a sheet. Also has a PGI status.
  • Farinato


  • Bierzo: is in the west of the Province of León and covers about 3,000 km2 (1,200 sq mi). The area consists of numerous small valleys in the mountainous part (Alto Bierzo) and of a wide, flat plain (Bajo Bierzo). The DO covers 23 municipalities.


  • Mantecadas de Astorga
  • Hojaldres de Astorga
  • Lazos de San Guillermo
  • Nicanores de Boñar


The majority of Leonese are Roman Catholics with a non-religious minority.[citation needed]

Nationalism and history[edit]

There are Leonese political parties who fight to give independent autonomous community status for the Leonese provinces.[who?]

TLD Campaign[edit]

PuntuLLI Association [5] fights for a Top Level Domain for the Leonese language and culture. There are more than 700 signers and 44 organisations added.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Real Decreto de 30 de noviembre de 1833
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Menéndez Pidal, R. "El Dialecto Leonés". Madrid. 1906
  4. ^ UNESCO Red Book on Endangered Languages: Europe
  5. ^ listed by cityTLD as a Top Level Domain initiative