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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 (where some of them defend reintegrationism). 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 en Galiza (lit. "Always in Galicia"), published in 1944.

Political nationalism in society

Nationalism in Galicia received the support of 19% of the population (Galician General Elections, 2005) and 16% in 2009. From 2005 to 2009 Galicia was ruled by a coalition government between the socialist PSdeG-PSOE and the nationalist BNG. Unlike in other Spanish autonomous communities the conservative and pro-Spanish Partido Popular 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. 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, none of which endorse independence, although some individual members and parallel organizations within it might support that idea[5]. At present, BNG claims for further devolution, federalization and promotion of Galician culture. Other nationalist parties stand for outright independence, but they only have representatives in local councils and not in the Galician Parliament.

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

  • Bloque Nacionalista Galego (BNG) - "Galician Nationalist Bloc" (coalition of parties ranging from centrist to socialism and communism; federalist)
    • Unión do Povo Galego (UPG) "The Galician People's Union" (communist; federalist), currently integrated in BNG
    • Movemento Pola Base "Movement for the Grassroots" (socialist; independentist), critical current inside BNG formed by - mainly - grassroot members
    • Partido Nacionalista Galego - Partido Galeguista (PNG-PG) - "Galician Nationalist Party" (centre to centre-left; federalist)
  • Terra Galega (TeGa) - "Galician Land" (centre to centre-right; federalist)
    • Coalición Galega (CG) - "Galician Coalition" (centre to centre-right; federalist), currently integrated in TeGa
    • Partido Galeguista (PG) - "Galician Party" (centre-right to centre-left; federalist)
  • Frente Popular Galega (FPG) - "Galician Popular Front" (socialist; independentist)
  • Nós-Unidade Popular (Nós-UP) - "Us-People United" (socialist; independentist)
    • Primeira Linha - "Front Line" (communist; independentist), associated with Nós-UP
  • Assembleia da Mocidade Independentista (AMI) - "Assembly of the Independentist Youth" (communist; independentist)


  • Beramendi, J. and Núñez Seixas, X.M. (1996): O nacionalismo galego, A Nosa Terra, Vigo.
  • 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.


See also

External links



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