The Galicians

November 8, 2007

Galicia is the region of Spain that sits on top of Portugal and is the least “Spanish” off all of its nation.  I say that because Galicia has a heavy Celtic influence and hardly any Moorish influence like central and southern Spain.  The first thing you would notice are the gaita, or bagpipes.  Unlike Cataluña, which is buzzing with economic success, Galicia has had the most stagnant economy in the nation.  Gallego, it’s own native language, is littered with Castilianisms and is spoken by about 63% of the population, according to a study in 1990.  But Galician is the language of the people in the sense that it is spoken by the masses.  The upper working class speaks prominently Castilian, and so there is a pressure put on lower class families to teach their children Castilian.  As a result, Gallego may disappear.

Because the people in Galicia can’t spread out (with Portugal below them and the ocean around them), they have had to continually divide the land among themselves, creating very very small farming plots.  This caused inefficient farming because there wasn’t enough land to use machinery to farm, and time was wasted travelling between plots.  what you may see in Galicia today is not very different from strip-farming in the Middle Ages.

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