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Galician nationalism

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Galician nationalism

Galicia in Europe
Map of Galician Comarcas (regions)
Socialist Nationalist Galician flag, also called Bandeira da Pátria or Estreleira
Roadsign at the Galician-Portuguese border where Espanha - não é Galiza ("Spain - is not Galicia") can be read

Galician nationalism is a political movement arguing for the recognition of Galicia as a nation. The political movement referred to as modern Galician nationalism was born at the beginning of the twentieth century from the idea of Galicianism.


Historians, geographers and ethnologists recognize the existence of a Galician ethnic group, forming a singular unit in a specific territory.[1] However, this is a wide conceptualization that in political terms allows many possible variants. Inside Galician nationalism two main ideological currents can be found:

  • Autonomist: claims for an extended autonomy of Galicia, further devolution and (in occasions) the transformation of Spain into a federal state where Galicia would eventually achieve self determination.
  • Pro-independence: campaigns for immediate and total independence from Spain. This is however supported by a minority of the population.

Both autonomists and independentists have points in common such as the defence and promotion of Galician culture and language, with some defending reintegrationism with Portuguese language and culture. Both also argue for the official and unequivocal recognition of Galicia as a nation and the defence of Galician speakers outside administrative Galician territory, namely in Galician speaking areas of the Spanish regions of Asturias and Castile and León.

It is often considered that the ideological framework of contemporary Galician nationalism was set in Castelao's key work Sempre em Galiza (lit. "Always in Galicia"), published in 1944.

Political nationalism in society

Galician nationalist candidates received 19% of the vote in the Galician General Elections of 2005 and 16% in 2009.

From 2005 to 2009 Galicia was ruled by a coalition government between the Socialist Party of Galicia (PSdeG-PSOE) and the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG). Unlike in other Spanish autonomous communities the conservative and pro-Spanish People's Party of Galicia (PPdeG) includes galicianism as one of its ideological principles.[2] Even the Spanish Socialist Party has a quite strong regional flavour in Galicia.[3][4] This issue somehow explains electoral behaviour in Galicia and why nationalist parties have a reduced representation when compared to Catalonia or the Basque Country, as voters in Galicia may choose to go for Spanish parties promoting Galicianism depending on the circumstances. Spanish parties in Catalonia and Basque Country, namely the Partido Popular, do not have such a strong regional identity, although the Socialist Party in Catalonia has recently incorporated nationalist elements in its political discourse. A possible explanation for this political behaviour in pro-Spanish parties is that Galician identity is so embedded in Galicians that any political party willing to participate in elections must at least show some degree of interest in the promotion of Galicianism, although how exactly this is done may vary greatly.

The Bloque Nacionalista Galego is itself a coalition of parties, which endorse independence, but not all individual members and parallel organizations within it support that idea.[5] At present, BNG claims for sovereignty and independence, both political and economic. Other nationalist parties stand for outright independence, and until recently they only had representatives in local councils and not in the Galician Parliament. In the 2012 election the newly formed Galician Left Alternative, which includes independentist groups, overtook the BNG in Parliament, winning 9 seats.

The present Galician Statute of Autonomy (1981) defines Galicia as a nationality. The Galician Government is currently drafting a new Statute of Autonomy where Galicia will most probably be defined as a nation (with declaratory, but not legal value).[6]

Nationalist political parties and nationalist organizations

See also


  • Beramendi, J. and Núñez Seixas, X.M. (1996): O nacionalismo galego, A Nosa Terra, Vigo.
  • Beswicj, J.E. (2007): Regional Nationalism in Spain: Language use and ethnic identity in Galicia, Multilingual Matters
  • García-Álvarez, J. (1998): "Substate nation-building and geographical representations of 'The Other' in Galicia, Spain (1860-1936)", in Finisterra, no. 33, issue 65, p. 117-128.
  • Fernández Baz, M.A., (2003): A formación do nacionalismo galego contemporáneo (1963-1984), Laiovento.
  • Núñez Seixas, X.M.(1993): Historiographical approaches to nationalism in Spain, Saarbrücken, Breitenbach.
  • Núñez Seixas, X.M.(1999): "Autonomist regionalism within the spanish state of the Autonomous Communities: an interpretation", in Nationalism & ethnic politics, vol. 5, no. 3-4, p. 121-141. Frank Cass, Ilford.
  • Rios Bergantinhos, N. (2002): A esquerda independentista galega (1977-1995), Abrente Editora, Compostela.
  • Rodríguez Polo, X.R. (2009): O triunfo do galeguismo. Opinión pública, partidos políticos e comportamento electoral na transición autonómica, Xerais, Vigo.


  1. ^ depicting European national minoritiesEurominorityMap from
  2. ^ ("Galicianness"), by Frans SchrijvergaleguidadeFacsimile discussing PP's
  3. ^ A Nosa TerraGalician President Pérez Touriño commenting Galicianism, from newspaper
  4. ^ Xornal.comGalician President Pérez Touriño (PSdG) discussing Galicianism, from online newspaper
  5. ^ displaying a banner where "Independence and Socialism" can be readMovemento Pola BaseMembers of BNG's internal organization
  6. ^ Discussion on the reform of the Statute. Official site hosted by the Parliament of Galicia

External links

  • Causa Galiza, organization which seeks to co-ordinate all independentist political parties and organizations in a single front (Galician)
  • Galiza Livre, independentist news portal (Galician)
  • History of Galician nationalism (web Galicia espallada) (Galician)
  • Galician nationalism (Spanish)
  • Eurominority (main site, in English and French)
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