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Celt, Galicia, History

Galicia & Surrounding Areas: A Brief, Celtic-Focused History

rgeGalacia (Galiza) is in northwest Spain, and descends from one of the first tribes of Celtic heritage in Europe. Beyond the sun and surf of the Spanish coast lie the same mysterious menhirs that dot the Irish countryside, and the region has its own collection of Celtic traditions that continue today – from ancient “pallozas” (stone huts believed to be Celtic) to pagan festivals and rituals. Its people are considered ‘Iberians Celts,’ as they live within the Iberian Peninsula.

More than a millennium ago, a Celtic tribe known as the Gallaeci settled in an area north of the Douro River. Other Celtic tribes recorded in these regions by the Romans were the Bracari, the Astures, the Cantabri, the Celtici, and the Celtiberi. The Old Kingdom of Gallaecie was created by the German’s arrival in 409 CE. In two years they removed the Roman Empire and unified the different Celtic tribes, creating the first (and oldest) kingdom of Europe, under Hermerico, marking the beginning of the fall of the Roman Empire.

Celts were pastoral by nature and as a result, there is little construction left that reveals their presence here (and even less art). What does remain is found in the extreme northwest of the peninsula. Of course there is other evidence of Celts in Spain, starting with the Galician language- which contains a significant amount of words of Celtic origin and is spoken by more than three million people. Lugo, the name of a capital city, is derived from the Celtic warrior King Lugh. There are also ancient altars built for worshipping the goddess of wells and springs, Coventina. Modern-day Galicians, Asturians, Cantabrians and Northern Portuguese often claim a Celtic heritage or identity, and for good reason: it’s a heritage to truly be proud of.

About niagaraceltic

Since 2001, Niagara Celtic has hosted an annual Celtic Festival in Western New York to honor the history and heritage of everyone with Irish, Scottish and Welsh history, along with the other Celtic Nations. Our presence has expanded online to become a year-round way to connect with the worldwide Celtic Community.


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