Published May 31, 2020
Galician is spoken by as many as 2.4 million people, primarily in Galicia (natively, Galiza), a cultural region and Autonomous Community in Spain; as well as in pockets of the neighboring Spanish regions of Asturias and Castile y León, and in parts of northern Portugal. Like most Romance languages, Galician emerged circa the 9th century as a form of Vulgar Latin. First attested in 870 A.D., Galician originally formed a single language with Portuguese, which is contemporarily referred to as Old Portuguese, Medieval Galician, or simply Galician-Portuguese; the language developed as a creolization of Latin and Lusitanian, an Indigenous Iberian language, and Gallaecian, a Celtiberian language spoken by Celtic settlers in Iberian. By the 15th century, Galician and Portuguese had diverged into the two closely related, but separate, languages known today. By the 19th century, Galician speakers had developed a rich, literary tradition; but with the rise of the Franco dictatorship in 1939, the language was banned from public use and in the arts until Spain's transition to democracy in 1980. Since then, a lively media culture has emerged, which includes music, television, and online content like the Galician Wikipedia. In Galicia, the language is co-official with Spanish and a language of instruction in public schools.