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FIRST SETTLEMENTS

The first people settled in Galicia were the Celts. They used to live in small villages mainly placed on hills and near the rivers or by the seaside. They were surrounded by walls. The houses were oval or round. The streets were built with small stones to prevent from humidity. These villages were built during the Bronze Age and lasted to the Roman Age and are called "castro" (fort).
Their economy was based on farming and livestoke though they practised hunting and fishing. As they were fighting people they knew weapons such as swords, lances, shields, etc.
The Celts believed in several gods and the most important one was the "god of war".
Nowadays, we can see some remains of the Celts' art:
* Monuments related with deaths like the
"dolmen" (similar to the British "Stonehenge").
* Written remains like "Petroglifos", which were pictures engraved on stone.
In relation to costumes they wore jewells made of gold such as earrings and necklaces.



THE ROMANS

Rome, one of the ancient civilizations in Europe, was determined to conquer all the different nations situated in Spain.
After the Roman arrival in Spain, the "forts culture" (cultura castreña) is a part of the Roman Republic. Cities like Lugo (in Galicia) and Braga (in Portugal), had been well communicated to Rome by road.
The economy in the forts was based on farming, handicraft activities and mines, in Galicia. The miners were either slaves or free men who lived in the Galician "forts" (castros).The Romans made Galician people cultivate wider pieces of land. Galician people did not know the plough until the Romans brought it.
In relation with trade, the Mediterranean trading had been important for years before the Romans came. Other Mediterranean nations had brought pottery many years before.
In the Roman society, men had the most important role. On the other hand, many Roman people arrived in the Northwest of Spain bringing their culture and costums.
¿What about language?
Latin is the base of the Galician language which is spoken and learnt at schools nowadays. The Romans were always in contact with other nations and they had the power.
This situation made people adopt the Roman citizenship and learn Latin.
With the arrival of Christianism schools were promoted and pupils had to use Latin. Christians used Latin as a symbol of unity. It was the only written language by that time.
The Romans were very good architects and, so, some monuments built by them can still be seen.



THE MEDIEVAL AGE

The lower class (Irmandiños)
During the Middle Age it was usual that peasants farmed the lands either ecclesiastic or secular owners under a rental agreement for a long time. So, there was only lower class and upper class. Obviously, peasants were the lower class and the landowners were the upper class. Consequently, repression on peasants was very common to the point of killing some peasants and destroying their belongings.
Due to these facts, mainly, the lower class developped the ideology of "justice restoration and compensation" for the affronts suffered. This situation was increasing little by little to the point of revolution and war.
The popular movement (Irmandiño movement) was the top of a process developped throughout the Medieval period. It included demographic, social, economic, ecclesiastic and cultural aspects.
The first popular war ( "First Irmandiña war") took place in the province of A Coruña against a feudal owner named Andrade". But this war was unsuccessful.
Further wars took place in the whole Galicia and most feudal owners were beaten.
Soutomaior castle (province of Pontevedra).
It belonged to the feudal owner named Pedro Madruga



SANTIAGO'S ROUTE:

Apart from these social events, one of the most important elements in our History was Santiago's route.
It was the first international connection between Galicia and other European cultures.
In the year 813 Apostle Santiago's tomb was found here. There is a legend that says "a lot of bright stars appeared in the sky to mean that Santiago's tomb was there". That is the reason it is called Santiago de Compostela (which comes from Latin "campus stellae", in English "stars field"). As a consequence of this, a Cathedral was built though it several phases.
Portico of Glory: original front entrance to the Cathedral.
Later a new front was built in front of it that still stands
Pilgrims along the French route

Since that moment, Santiago de Compostela became the third important place of pilgrimage for Christians, preceded by Jerusalem and Rome. The tradition is that when the 25th July is Sunday, that year is declared "Holy Year" and a lot of pilgrims come here from different parts of the world.
The route started in different parts of France, then, they joined in Navarra (Spain) and a single road across the North of Spain led to Santiago.
Along this route a lot of churches and Cathedrals were built in different styles: Romanesque, Gothic and Plateresque. Further routes appeared throughout the centuries: from Portugal, South of Spain (Silver route), Great Britain ("British route") though this one started either in A Coruña or Ferrol as pilgrims arrived by ship to the harbours.
Apart from Art, other cultural aspects came in Spain through Santiago's route like literature (trovas) and music (minstrels).



DARK CENTURIES

Historical circumstamces led Galicia to a dependence on Castilla in relation to culture and politics . This process is called centralism .
In the XVIII century the first texts in Galician language arises. Feixoo and, mainly father Martin Sarmiento, made the first complaints on the linguistical problems .

Father Sarmiento : (1695-1772)

He was born occasionally in Villafranca del Bierzo . He took care of several fields: scientiphic, literary and linguistics. He criticized the language and suggested to teach Galician language in the schools .



RESURGENCE

During the "Dark Centuries", Galician language was not used as a written language (16th-18th centuries) The "Resurgence" was a political, cultural and historical moment that claimed a Galician identity in the 19th century considering Galician language as a means of cultured communication.
The most important and representative writers were:
Rosalia de Castro: A woman who was our great internacional writer.
Her most famous books were: "Galician Songs" (1863) "New Leaves" (1880) "By the river Sar" (1884) "Ruins" (1864) "The gentleman in the blue boots" (1867) "The first crazy" (1881)
Eduardo Pondal : born in Ponteceso (A Coruña). His most famous book was "Sighs of pines" (1886)
Curros Enrríquez with his famous book "Airs from my home" (1880)



MODERNISM

During the first third of the 20th century "Modernism" was the movement of the middle class.
The most important material used in buildings was marble.
The main characteristics of this kind or "art" are:
* the representation of daily life objects.
* The fronts of buildings had curved elements that were also used for decorating plates and chairs.
* Exoctic objects such as black men, swans, or any kind of animals were also represented.
Some buildings in our town belong to this style. For example: Kiosko Alfonso -a hall of exhibitions, La Terraza -home of a radio broadcast, some houses and storey-building. Kiosko Alfonso, Molina's house, Molina's chalet were designed by the architect Rafael González Villar, born in A Coruña (1887-1941).



BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR

Following the idea of finding the Galician identity born in the 19th century, during the 20th century this idea was increasing and the Galician Nationalism concept appeared.
Vilar Ponte got that a group of Galician intellectual men joined in the so called "Language Friends Association", on May 18th 1916 in A Coruña. The aim of this association was to claim the use of Galician language in all the social stages and fields. Vilar Ponte and his followers founded the weekly magazine "A NOSA TERRA" (OUR COUNTRY) and a publishing company to spread our culture.
Apart from this magazine, in 1920 a group of famous writers founded another magazine written in Galician language and which was called "NÓS" ( "US"). Vicente Risco, Otero Pedrrayo, Castelao and Cuevillas were the ones who cooperated in the publication of this magazine. They tried to modernize the Galician culture and spread it abroad. And it was like that, in the end.
Therefore, the "Galician Party" was also founded in 1931. It was a political party which the intellectual Galician men and women belonged to. By this time Galician language was recognised as Official Language in our region. This people went on working for our identity till they got the approval of the "Statute of autonomy" for Galicia by the Parliament in Madrid, in 1936. It was presented by Castelao there.
But, unfortunately, it didn't last any longer since Franco reached the power. Then, the Civil War happened and all these famous writers had to migrate to South American countries, especially to Argentina.



AFTER THE CIVIL WAR

During the Civil War, Galician language was not allowed to be used as official one and the famous writers lived in Buenos Aires as well as many people who emigrate because their ideology was in favour of Galician nationalism.
In 1950, Galaxia publising company was founded and the intellectual movement defended the use of our language.
Castelao had an important role in our culture while living in Argentina as he published many theatre plays, short stories and political essays, thus, Buenos Aires has always been considered the fifth province of Galicia.
The book written by Antonio Pérez, entitled "The Galician people in Buenos Aires" describes our influence on the life of Buenos Aires which is the city with the highest number of Galician population in the world.
Meanwhile in Spain, in 1964, two political parties were founded "Union of Galician people" and "Galician Socialist Party". Their political activity was developped in the University of Santiago.

After Franco's death, being Spain a democratic country, the new Constitution was approve in 1978. In this document Autonomy for the different Spanish nationalities and regions is recognised.
In 1981, the Galician Statute of Autonomy -based on the previous one- was approved, In this document our History and identity are recognized.
Statute of Autonomy of Galicia
Those political parties born during Franco's Government joined in a new nationalist party : BNG (Galician Nationalist Block) and, at present, it has political representatives in our Regional Parliament and also in The Spanish Parliament, in Madrid.



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