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About Galicia

Galicia

Although the word Celtic is very problematic, at least from the linguistic point of view, the so-called "seven Celtic nations" would be: Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man (where Gaelic is spoken), Wales, Cornwall and Brittany (where Breton is spoken). But of course there is one missing, which one? The seventh would be ... Galicia. Clearly, if we took the language as a unifying criterion, Galicia has never belonged to this "club" because the Celtic language that was spoken in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula disappeared with .. I bet that you're thinking of the Romans, but the truth is that it was the Swabians, a very Romanized barbaric people who spoke a "contaminated Latin", that imposed the language from which the Galician evolved.

We must also take into account that considering only the linguistic aspect, neither Cornwall nor the Isle of Man would be Celtic nowadays because both languages ​​are now gone, the first about a century ago and the second a bit before. For this reason, we tend to consider the Celtic element on the basis of other criteria such as the Celtic customs, traditions, landscapes, etc.. This "Celtic" aspect invaded the Galician history of Romanticism (19th  century), and so the expression “fillos de Breogán” (sons of Breogan) is repeated several times in the anthem of Galicia. But who is this Breogan, whose sculpture also appears at the "Tower of Hercules" in A Coruña? Breogan was a legendary hero who founded the city of Brigantium (at present, Coruña ...or maybe Betanzos). The name Breogan has a clear Celtic root which would mean "head of a hill or mountain”.

The myth of Breogan already appears in the Book of Invasions of Ireland. This text dates back to the 12th century, but it also collects oral legends from the 6th century. According to the story, Breogan was the king of a large territory of the Iberian Peninsula who, after founding Brigantium, ordered to build the "Tower of Hercules". One of the sons of Breogan, Ith, went up the tower one morning and saw the green colors of a distant land beyond the sea: he had discovered Ireland.

Ith tried to invade Ireland, but when they arrived in there, they were murdered by Tuatha Dé Dannan. After this, Ith’s brother, Mil, with the help of the magician Aimirgin, invaded the island and made Tuatha disappear. As we can see, the history of the race of Breogan is a really exciting legend in which some researchers see some historical reality, according to which there has been a migration from Galicia to Celtic Ireland. We can see that Galicians had, even then, the vocation (or rather the need) to emigrate.

                                                                                                               Antonio Domínguez Bemposta