Galicia’s role in history and its Celtic connections
The history of the region and people of Galicia is well chronicled and is quite different to most of Spains other regions.
The Galicians are one of Europes original Celtic tribes and have strong connections with Frances Gauls and a similar Celtic nation that once existed in Germany. Many historic links to this time have been discovered by archaeologists including ancient burial grounds constructed with large stones in a distinct and constant pattern. It is thought that these tombs were those of the elders or important citizens of the time.
Another relic of Galician pre-history is the Castro (the remains of Celtic villages) that are constantly been discovered across Galicia. Some of these Castros demonstrate advanced levels of civilisation and many also see the unearthing of pottery, jewellery and other artefacts that suggest advanced skills and levels of social interaction. These Castro’s bare similarities with town ruins of many other Celtic nations of this period.
What shaped Galicia
Galicias economy, culture and lifestyle owe much to its location and geography. Fishing and agriculture have long been the regions main industries and most of the towns and cities have evolved on, or close to, the sea. These factors have led to Galicia having a unique cuisine with all forms of seafood as is staple ingredient and a seafaring heritage that has also seen it become a centre for ship building and Spains navy.
Because of Galicias proximity to the sea and its historic enemies of France and Portugal, it has seen no shortage of invasions, battles and launches of imperial fleets. The region has been invaded by France, fought against the British and Portuguese and acted as the base from which Spains massive Armada was dispatched during the attempted invasion of Queen Elizabeths England. Most of these excursions have departed from la Coruna (or the city of Ferrol) and numerous seaside forts still stand as a reminder of the violence that once existed in Galicia.
Religion and History
Galicia had an important role in the evolution of European Christianity when Saint James, a disciple of Jesus, arrived on the regions shores and started preaching. He was later murdered on a trip to his home land, but his remains were returned to Galicia and the city of Santiago de Compostela was built around his tomb. The significance of this story has increased over time and has led to an important pilgrimage through Galicia and, perhaps, the elevation of this region of Spain to a level beyond its true value.