Kingdom of Galicia: Wikis


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Arms of the Kingdom of Galicia, illustrated in L´armorial Le Blancq. Bibliothèque nationale de France. 1560.
Location of Galicia (orange) in Europe.

A Kingdom of Galicia (Galician: Reino de Galiza) existed in some form from the time the conquered Roman diocese of Hispania was divided between the Alans, Suebi and Vandals in 411 until the 1833 territorial division of Spain during the regency of María Cristina. The region of Gallaecia had been a Roman province since the administrative reforms of the Tetrarchy (293), and Galicia has been an administrative subdivision of Spain from 1833 to the present, and semi-autonomous since the Galician Statute of Autonomy of 1981.

The first Galician kingdom was the Suebic Kingdom with its capital at Braga. The early history of this kingdom is one of fluctuating boundaries, as the Suebi were not originally ruled by a single monarch and the territory of Roman Gallaecia was shared with the Hasdingi, a Vandalic tribe. The boundaries of the kingdom became more static only with the rise of the Visigothic Kingdom, which conquered the Suebi in 584–85. Galicia was thus absorbed into the Visigothic Kingdom, but it was regularly distinguished from the rest of Hispania and from the province of Septimania north of the Pyrenees. There is slim evidence that sub-kings may have been appointed in Galicia under the later Visigoths, and Galicia alone of all the regions securely controlled by the Visigoths evaded conquest during the Islamic invasion of 711. Subsequently, Galicia was incorporated, through a serious of military campaigns, into the Kingdom of Asturias.


Origin and foundation

Theodemir (or Ariamir), king of Galicia with the bishops: Lucrecio, Andrew and Martin. Codex Vigilanus (or Albeldensis), Escurial library.

The origin of the kingdom lies in the fifth century, when Suebi settled permanently in the former Roman province called Gallaecia. These, led by their king Hermeric (who had signed with the Roman Emperor Honorius a foedus(pact) which conceded them sovereignty in Galicia), have set their capital in the former Bracara Augusta creating the regnum suevorum (Suebi´s Kingdom) or Regnum Galliciense in 409. In 449, the first Suebic king who was born in Galicia, Rechiar (son of Rechila, grandson of Hermeric), decided to follow the religious beliefs of most of Galicians, Galicia was converted in the first Catholic kingdom in Europe.

A century later, the differences between Gallaeci and Suebi had disappeared, leading to the systematic use in contemporary terms like Galliciense Regnum[1] (Galician kingdom), and Regem Galliciae[2] (king of Galicia), Rege Suevorum (king of Suebi) or Galleciae totius provinciae rex (king of all Galician province)[3] the bishops as Martin of Braga will be recognized as episcopi Gallaecia[4] (bishop of Galicia). We can therefore speak from the sixth century, the existence of a kingdom of Galicia

Suebic Kingdom

The Suebic kingdom of Galicia lasted from 410 to 584 and seems to have enjoyed relatively stable government for most of that time. In the beginning, Gallaecia was divided between two kingdoms, the kingdom of the Vandals Hasdingi and the kingdom of the Suebi. Latter on, the kingdom of the Hasdingi was conquered by the Suebi when a war broke out between the Vandal Gunderic and the Suebi Hermeric. The Suebi were helped by the Romans and the Vandal army fled to the kingdom of the Silingi Vandals in Baetica. Historians like José Antonio López Silva, translator of Idatius' chronicles, the primary written source for the period, find that the essential temper of Galician culture was established in the blending of Ibero-Roman culture with that of the Suebi [4].

As with most Germanic invasions, the number of the original Suebi invaders is estimated at fewer than 100,000 (the number of the Vandals and Alans that passed into Africa were 50,000-80,000), settling mainly in the zones around modern Northern Portugal and Galicia, mainly in Braga (Bracara Augusta), Porto, Lugo (Lucus Augusta), and Astorga (Asturica Augusta). The valley of the Limia River is thought to have received the largest concentration of germanic settlers. Bracara Augusta, the modern city of Braga, became the capital of the Suebi, as it was previously the capital of the Gallaecian province. Suebic Gallaecia was larger than the modern region: it extended south to the Douro and to Ávila in the east. At its heyday, it extended as far as Mérida or Seville.

In 438, Hermeric ratified the peace with the Galaicos, the native Hispano-Roman people, and abdicated in favor of his son Rechila. In 448, Rechila died, leaving a state in expansion to his son Rechiar, who imposed his Roman Catholic faith on the pagan Suebi and Priscillianist Galaico population, after himself being converted in 447. In 456, Rechiar died and Suebi glory began to fade. Multiple candidates for the throne appeared, grouped in two factions. A division marked by the river Minius (modern Minho) is noticed, probably a consequence of the two tribes, Quadi and Marcomanni, who constituted the Suebi nation in the Iberian Peninsula. Together with the Suebi came another Germanic tribe, the Buri, that settled in the lands known as Terras de Bouro (Lands of the Buri) in what is now Portugal.

There were occasional clashes with the Visigoths, who arrived in the Iberian peninsula in 416, having been sent from Aquitaine by the Western Roman Emperor to battle the Vandals and Alans. They came to dominate most of it, but the Suebi maintained their independence until 584, when the Visigothic King Leovigild, on the pretext of conflict over the succession, invaded the Suebic kingdom and finally defeated it. Andeca, the last king of the Suebi, held out for a year before surrendering in 585. With his surrender, this branch of the Suebi was absorbed into the Visigothic kingdom.

Only after the Visigoths conquered the kingdom of the Suebi in 585, St Braulio of Zaragoza (590 - 651) depicted the region as "the extremity of the west in an illiterate country where nought is heard but the sound of gales". As with the Visigothic language, there are just some traces of the Suebi tongue as the barbarians quickly adopted the local vulgar Latin ( suev. *laiwarika: laverca, lark).

The historiography of the Suebi, and of Galicia in general, was long marginalised in Spanish culture; it was left to a German scholar to write the first connected history of the Suebi in Galicia, as writer-historian Xoán Bernárdez Vilar has pointed out [5].

Visigothic monarchy (585-711)

Political map of southwestern Europe around the year 600, which referred to three different areas under government Visigothic: Hispania Gallaecia and Septimania.

In 585, Liuvigild, Visigothic king of Hispania and Septimania, ended the political independence of Galicia since Suebi, beating the last Suebi-Galician king Andeca. The territory previously known as Gallaecia (Latin name for ancient Galicia) became a satellite of the power of Toledo, the capital of the Visigoths after their displacement from Gaul by the Franks. The government of the Visigoths in Galicia was a no abrupt change, and, contrary to what is observed in Lusitania, Galician dioceses (Braga, Porto, Tui, Iria, Britonia, Lugo, Ourense, Astorga, Coimbra, Lamego, Viseu and Idanha) continued to operate with normality.

"Finally, when the moment was propitious, Leovigild killed his son. After the death of Miro, King of Galicia, his son Eboric and his son-in-law Audeca from the kingdom with which was fighting, Leovigild subjugated Suebi and all people of Galicia under the power of the Goths."

Chronicle of Fredegar, cit., III. p 116. Years 658-660[5].

The territorial organization inherited from previous centuries did not change and the cultural, religious, and aristocratic elite accepted new monarchs. Thus, in the religious councils, such as that held in 589 in Toledo, were presented episcoporum totius Hispaniae, Galliae and Gallaetiae ("all bishops of Spain, Gaul, and Galicia").[6] This design was tripartite throughout Visigothic government since 585, a variety of differentiating the three entities following documents: fines Span, Gallie, Gallec[7] or Spaniae and Galliae vel Gallitiae[8], among others. In this context, the remarkable development Fructuosus of Braga´s activity, Galician-Visigothic Bishop[9], known for the many foundations that he established throughout the west of the Iberian peninsula, generally in places of difficult and austere access such as mountains or islands.

The Visigothic monarchy known in his later years a pronounced decline, due in large part to the decrease in trade and thus a sharp reduction in monetary circulation, direct control by the Muslims in the early 8th century on the south Mediterranean. The Gallaecia was also affected and Fructuosus of Braga, for his denunciation of general cultural decline and loss of the momentum of previous periods, causing some discontent in the Galician high clerity. At the tenth council of Toledo in 656, Fructuosus of Braga -close to circles of Visigothic power-, was led to assume the Metropolitan seat of Potamio after the renunciation of its owner, aware of the crisis of church life. At the same time the will is void left by the Bishop of Dume Recimiro (pt), in which he donated the wealth of the diocese convent to the poor.

There is a possibility that the regnum Suevorum (Kingdom of the Suevi) was recreated by the Visigothic king Egica as a subkingdom for his son Wittiza. The Chronicle of Alfonso III, of dubious accuracy but often vital, is the only primary source to record the event. Though usually dismissed as nonsense, it has received some support from scholars of the late Visigothic period.

In 701 an outbreak of plague spread westward from Greece to Spain, hitting Toledo, the Visigothic capital, in 701, so severe that the royal family, including Egica and Wittiza, fled. It has been suggested that this provided the occasion for sending Wittiza to Tui—which is recorded as his capital—to rule the "Suevic" (sub)kingdom.[10] The possibility has also been raised that the thirteenth-century chronicler Lucas of Tuy when he records that Wittiza relieved the oppression of the Jews—a fact unknown from his reign at Toledo after his father—may in fact refer to his reign at Tuy, Lucas' hometown, where an oral tradition may have been preserved of the events of his Galician "reign".[11]

The crisis at the end of the Visigoths dates to the reign of Egica. The monarch appoints his son as heir Wittiza and associated during his lifetime to the throne, while the Visigothic monarchy had been traditionally elected and therefore not hereditary. This participation has resulted in granting Wittiza of the Government of Galicia, it performed as a king from his capital from Tui, until the death of his father, leading to a new conflict in the latter period of the Visigothic monarchy, and highlighting the political activity that retained Galicia hundred years after the end of the Suebi monarchy. In 702, with the death of Egica, Witiza was also the Government of Hispania until 710, moving its capital to Toledo. After his death the same year, part of the Visigothic aristocracy prevent the accession to the throne of his son.Roderic imposed by force, triggering a civil war between supporters of both sides. In 711, the enemies of Roderic get a Muslim army crossed the Straits of Gibraltar and faced him at the Battle of Guadalete. The defeat was the end of Roderic government in Visigothic Spain, with profound consequences for the two historic political entities remaining: the Gallaecia and Septimania.

Asturian successor state

After the Visigothic collapse in 711, the remaining Gothic independents fled to the Asturias mountains and eventually set up a state of their own, electing as their leader Pelayo. The first leader who can assuredly be called king was Alfonso I, who was also the first to expand the kingdom of Asturias into Galicia. This kingdom continued to expand until the large "Desert of the Douro," a vast no-man's land created by Alfonso in the region between his kingdom and the Douro to keep out invaders, was repopulated (see Repoblación). On the death of Alfonso III (910), the kingdom was divided between the original Asturias (including Cantabria), Galicia, and the newest province of León (formed out of the Desert).

In 966 the Viking Gundered raided Galicia.


Asturian Kings of Galicia

The kingdom was hereafter united to León, with the exception of:

The Compostela´s Era

In 1111, Alfonso VII (son of Urraca and Raymond of Burgundy) was crowned as king of Galicia in Santiago de Compostela by highest Galician nobility, led by the Earl of Traba Pedro Froilaz and Diego Gelmirez[12].

The objective of this coronation was to preserve of the rights of the son of Raymond of Burgundy on the kingdom of Galicia, because the new marriage between Urraca and the king of Aragon and Navarra had questioned the rights of Alfonso VII on Galicia. In fact, the ceremony in Compostela was first time in a more symbolic than effectif and, indeed, until the majority of Alfonso VII of Castile and his mother's death, the north-west of the peninsula was experiencing a period of convulsions, with frequent and against alliances-alliances between mother and son - and even between it and her Aragonese husband and Diego Gelmirez always present.

In this climate of war and that advantage Gui of Burgundy, uncle of the king of Galicia, became pope under the name of Callistus II, Diego Gelmirez obtained in 1120 that Santiago de Compostela became the seat of Archiepiscopate. The ambition of the bishop was to recognize as a church Compostelle Metropolitan Galicia, in opposition to traditional rights of Braga since the days of Martin of Braga. Callistus III did not accept the request and decided to create a new court that induced an anomaly in the power of the clergy of the Iberian peninsula and which, moreover, exercised power not on the Galician territory on which it is located geographically, but the former jurisdiction of Mérida (Extremadura) and land south of the Douro river). This fact broke while fears of offspring of the new marriage of Urraque with Alphonse of Aragon could question its political project and the rights of the future "Emperor" as the legitimate successor of Alfonso VI.

Braga, surrounded by the court de Compostela, becomes, to the risk of challenge to its status, the center of the independence movement in the county of Portugal. In 1128, Ferdinand de Traba Pérez, leader of the Galician nobility and Teresa of Portugal, who was in complete autonomy over their Galician-Portuguese space, were defeated by the son of the latter, Afonso Henriques. This will be the germ of the future kingdom of Portugal separated from Galicia and Leon. On the death of Alfonso VII (1156), his kingdoms were divided, Galicia and León went back to Ferdinand II.

Ferdinand II developed a policy of territorial concessions, already initiated by his father, in the form of cards "Poboa" (letters of settlement to the royal birth of a new parish, where the propagation, at that time, "Vilanova"), and founded the cities of Padrón, Ribadavia, Noia and Pontevedra, and it also gives impetus to the construction of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. His son Alfonso IX continued this policy and based along the coast, the cities of Betanzos, A Coruña, Baiona, Ferrol and Neda[13]. The best cities are a real revolution in the social structure of the time, partly because they bring economic diversification that contrasts with autarky in force during the preceding centuries in facilitating the development of fishing activities and pre-processing of industrial raw materials - mainly salted fish - products to be marketed through the ports of the region, secondly because they give birth and consolidate a number of lineages or houses, from the gentry who shared the municipal and administrative (mayors, councilors, judges and "meirinhos", who exercised the functions of arbitrator and royal commissioner).

During the reign of these rulers, Compostela was logically the vital realms, where the court stands Galician. Its splendor was perpetuated by the Master "Mateo" in the granite of the cathedral, especially on the Portico of Glory and the Praterías Square. Also attest to the prosperity of the kingdom countless Romanesque style buildings that dot Galicia today. A less visible, Galician culture is reflected in the literature with works such as Compostela´s History and the Codex Calixtinus.

Alfonso IX (Alfonso VIII in the timeline Galician-Leonese) gave inherit the Kingdoms of Galicia and Leon daughters he had with Teresa of Portugal: Sancha and Aldonza[14].

Kingdom of Galicia and Portugal

The Kingdom of Galicia and Portugal was formed in 1065 after the County of Portugal declared independence following the death of Ferdinand I of León. In 1063, Ferdinand I had divided his kingdom among his sons. Galicia was allotted to García, who became García II of Galicia.

The Count of Portugal, Nuno II Mendes, took advantage of the internal tension caused by the civil war between Ferdinand's sons to finally break off and declare himself an independent ruler. However, in 1071, King García defeated and killed him at the Battle of Pedroso and annexed his territory, adding the title of King of Portugal to his previous ones.

Kingdom of the Crown of León

In 1072, García himself was defeated by his brother Sancho II of Castile and fled. In that same year, after Sancho's murder Alfonso VI became king of León and Castile; he imprisoned García for life, proclaiming himself King of Galicia and Portugal as well, thus reuniting his father's realm. From 1073, Galicia remained in personal union with the kingdom of León, except for Alfonso VII, who received in 1111 the title of King of Galicia from his mother Urraca, queen of the united kingdom of León-Castile-Galicia, who desired to assure her son's prospects and groom him for his eventual succession. After his death in 1157, the Kingdom of Galicia became a formal institution within the Crown of León.

Separation of the Kingdom of Portugal

Political Map of north-west of the Iberian peninsula at the end of the 12th century.

In 1091, Princess Urraca of Castile, daughter of King Alfonso VI of Castile, married a noble Burgundian important, Raymond, son of Count William I of Burgundy, who participated in the Crusades to combat the Almoravids. These are military victories as well as his lineage that justifies this union, for which Alfonso VI is a major dot the Galician government land, between Cape Ortegal and Coimbra, and the title comtal both Urraque for Raymond. Two years later, in 1093, another cross french, Henri de Bourgogne, grand son of Duke Robert I of Burgundy, is concede the hand of the second daughter of Alfonso VI, Teresa, and received the government of the County of Portugal and Coimbra - the county was founded in 868 by a noble Galician name Vimara Pérez and includes the land between the Douro and Miño. So is a complex network of feudal relations: King Alfonso of Castile, who ruled Galicia and the Toledo, receives homage of vassalage and Raymond Urraque that govern land Galician Cape Ortegal in Coimbra and in turn receive tribute Teresa and Henry of Burgundy.

The succession of defeats the face of the Almoravids and the growing dissatisfaction of the king as to the administrative policy of his son Raymond, Alphonse VI lead to remove it and Urraque feudal rights they hold on Portugal, and placing them on an equal footing with Henri and Theresa. Thus, the County of Portugal, remains an integral part of Galicia, continually observed by Raymond of Burgundy and Urraque to pay tribute directly to the king of Galicia, which does not fail to arouse some discontent among the nobility Galician North of the River Miño.

On the death of Henry in 1112, his widow Teresa succeeded him as head of the two counties, the Condado Portucalense and County of Coimbra, during the minority of his son, Afonso Henriques. Two trends emerge: one for a rapprochement with the general policy with the new Galician King Alfonso VII, the other for maintaining a strong comtal power with the ambition that the heir to the county is proclaimed king. The increasing importance of Santiago de Compostela and the rallying of Teresa Party supports the rule of northern Miño, which translates into his marriage with Fernando Pérez de Traba, pushing things in the County Portugal. The Archbishop of Braga - who suffered the confiscation of the relics of St Fructuous of Braga, Diego Gelmirez in 1102 - and the major Portuguese aristocrats - the pursuit of a larger territorial authority - are the main claims to royal Afonso Henriques. Given this situation, the king Alfonso VII marched on the besieged Portugal and Guimarães to obtain their oath of loyalty.

Several months later, in 1128 and given the shortcomings of Afonso Henriques, the troops of Teresa and Perez de Traba were entered in Portugal, but the Portuguese troops the Battle of São Mamede decidedvictorious troops. The death of Teresa and the Battle of Ourique confirmed the transformation of the county in the kingdom in 1139.

Thus was born a kingdom, whose territory is from the Roman Gallaecia and even includes its historic capital, Braga. Portugal had a personality all its own more differs from that of the monarchy Galaico-Leone, whose leaders live in León and Santiago de Compostela]][15].

End of Galician-leonese monarchy

Medieval miniatures of Ferdinand II of Leon (left) and Alfonso IX of Leon (right). Last Kings of Leon and Galicia. Monastery Toxosoutos (Galicia), 13th century.

Until the early 13th century, few medieval kingdoms in the Iberian Peninsula were united often through marriage or inheritance under the authority of a king. After the death or the testimony of that sovereign, these kingdoms were divided between the heirs to ensure their independence. In the case of Galician-Leonese monarchs, the inheritance law applied equally to men and women.

Alfonso IX married twice. From his first marriage to Teresa of Portugal he had two daughters, Sancha and Aldonza. From his second marriage with Berenguela of Castile, he had four descendants: Ferdinand III of Castile, Constance and Berenguela. To preserve the independence of the kingdoms of Galicia and Leon, Alfonso IX in his apply the law on Galician-leonese inheritance, leaving Aldonza as future Queen of Galicia, and Sancha as Queen of Leon. However, Ferdinand, eldest son of second marriage, already king of Castile by the withdrawal to the throne of his mother Berenguela, aimed to extend his royal authority not only in Castile, but also in Galicia and Leon. Mainly Sancha soft and had the support of the Galician nobility, with the exception of the bishops of Lugo and Mondoñedo.

The Kingdom of Leon, -closer geographically and culturally to Castile- however, choose political union with it. Berengela, mother of Ferdinand III of Castile, had the support of Sancho II of Portugal to prevent Galicia and Leon again became independent kingdoms, and both put pressure on Teresa of Portugal, first wife of Alfonso IX to force Doce and Sancha to abandon their legitimate rights. The infants eventually give up and Ferdinand III obtained the thrones of Galicia and Leon, which, while retaining their status as kingdoms, are now governed by a Castilian king.

John, king of Galicia, Leon and Seville

Pai Gómez Chariño´s Tomb - Convent of San Francisco Pontevedra, (Galicia).

Grandson of Ferdinand III and son of Alfonso X, John, with the help of King Denis I of Portugal, reclaimed the throne following the death of his father, he had sustained during the rebellion of his brother Sancho . The time seemed ripe for a new convergence between the Kingdoms of Galicia, Leon and Portugal.

John took the powerful head of the nobility who proclaimed king of Galicia and Leon in 1296, after a separation of realms, and access to the throne is confirmed with Sahagún, in addition, the inclusion of the Kingdom of Seville (traditional vassal of Galicia since the eleventh century. With this announcement appears for the first time in 66 years, the first occasion por la zone Galician-leonese form a political independent Castile. This project is the support of the highest aristocracy of Galicia until the end of the fourteenth century. The implication of this last in the draft political independence reached its peak with the support of the Adelantado Mayor of the kingdom, the poet and Admiral Pai Gómez Chariño , Lord of Rianxo whose murdered shortly after Rui Perez Tenorio, was an incalculable loss for the cause of John. Chariño Gómez was succesed, -Fernando Ruiz de Castro-, from the house of Traba wife also cause Jean and is the source of political activity of this family who is calling for a rapprochement with Portugal at every stage of the conflict of the 14th century.

This separatist adventure lasted 5 years between a great political instability and military because of opposition from many sectors of society, the party of Maria de Molina supported by the Castilian nobility, anxious not to lose control over territories of Galicia and Leon, and the high Galician clergy.

Faced with such resistance, John was forced abandon the cause sovereignist in 1301, thus confirming the reunification of the kingdoms of León and Galicia with those of Castile and Toledo.

Ferdinand of Portugal I and the Galician nobility

At the death of King Peter I of Castile in 1369, the high nobility in Castile triumphed[16], where Henry de Trastamara, their candidate, was crowned. However, despite the ambitions of the latter, the majority of Galician nobles did not recognize him as king and, with the cities of the kingdom required Ferdinand I of Portugal to be their king, assuring him that the Galician nobles: que levamtariam voz por elle (...) e que lhe daríam as villas e o reçeberíam por senhor, fazémdolhe dellas menagem( "raise their voices for him (...) and they hand him the cities and recognize as lord and will honor him ")[17]. There for a short time to realize the old and recurrent tendency among some social groups Galician rapprochement between Galicia and Portugal.

Ferdinand I of Portugal arrived to Galicia with many aristocrats supporters of the legitimate cause and a good number of representatives of the Galician nobility, including the Earl of Trastamara, Fernan Peres de Castro, the lord of Salvaterra Alvar Peres de Castro and the lord Nuno Freire de Andrade (master of the Portuguese Order of Christ). He made a triumphant entrance into the kingdom of Galicia and was acclaimed in the cities[18].

Ferdinand I decided to restore the strongholds, including those of Tui and Baiona, trade liberalization between Galicia and Portugal and the supply of grain and wine, by sea, local Galician weakened by the war[19]. It also made provisions for monetary policy to be issued in Tui and A Coruña of gold and silver, its weapons, as evidenced by the Cortes of Lisbon in 1371, which recognized the validity of such documents as in Galicia and Portugal[20]..

Despite all these measures, the presence of the Portuguese monarch in the kingdom was short. Henry II of Castile, with the support of White Companies Mercenaries, launched offensive against forcing Ferdinand I to return to Portugal, thus the control of Galicia until the arrival of the Duke of Lancaster.

John of Gaunt, king of Galicia

Two years after the cessation of Ferdinand I of Portugal to his claim on the throne of Galicia and one year after taking Tui by Diego Sarmento on behalf of the future Henry II of Castile, and as the A Coruña remains faithful to Portugal, John Fernandes de Andeiro completing discussions with England. On 10 July 1372, has signed a treaty in which Constance, daughter of King Peter I of Castile executed by Henry de Trastamara, claiming its legitimate right to succeed his father[21]..

Thus, the husband of Constance of Castile, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and son of King Edward III of England, adopted the royal rights of the latter (Galicia, Castile, Leon ...) for exercise . His first attempt fails when the shipment is to divert to the Poitou, opposite the town of Thouars to participate in the clashes of Hundred Years' War in France. In 1386, confirmed by a papal bull of Urban IV, who recognized the right to the Crown of Castile, he landed in the area of Peixeria ) A Coruña without fighting or attacking the city.[22]

Negotiations were held and it was agreed that the city would open its doors once the Duke received in Santiago de Compostela. Once this condition was fulfilled, John of Gaunt went master of the kingdom of Galicia without really fighting. Accompanied by his wife and their daughters, he established his court at Santiago de Compostela. He leads his troops on successively Pontevedra, Vigo, Baiona, Betanzos, Ribadavia, Ourense and Ferrol. In Ourense, his army attacked the city and gets retirement Trastamara´s troops[23] while Ferrol was taken by King John I of Portugal, his ally. In the case of Ribadavia, the city presented resistance but finally relented under the attack of Thomas Percy.

At the end of military actions, and specifically with the taking of Ferrol, the Duke controlled the whole of Galicia, as reported clearly chronicles of Jean Froissart: avoient mis en leur obeissance tout le roiaulme de Gallice[24] (gaining the loyalty of the kingdom of Galicia).

The current military action is still influenced by the emergence of an epidemic of plague which decimated the English army in the land of Galicia. John of Gaunt was obliged to negotiate with Henry de Trastamara. The conditions of peace, signed in 1388, provided for the renunciation of the Duke of Lancaster and Constance of Castile in exchange for compensation and a strong marriage of the son and heir of Henry II, the future Henry III of Castile, with the Duke´s daughter, Catherine of Lancaster.

Retirement English sounds the death knell for the attempt by the municipal councils and the Galician nobility for secession of Galicia and Crown of Castile turn the kingdom into Portugal and the Atlantic.

The Galician resistance to the Catholic Monarchs

"But what the archbishop did a great service for the kings was that against the will of whole kingdom (Galicia), when everybody was in resistence (against the Catholic kings), the archbishop received the kings in Santiago, and in one day, he named to the king and queen, lords of this kingdom, and the archbishop received their governors, after having gone these through the state of the Count de Lemos and all the others without have been received."

Annales de Aragón by Jerónimo Zurita, Book X)[25]

The kingdom entered into another phase, marked by the political elimination of the social sectors capable of conducting its own dynamics, Galician was converted into a peripheral territory of the Castilian monarchy firstly (and of the Spanish monarchy finally) in its imperial projection. Subjected by foreign institutions, were introduced new organisms imposed from outside (the Royal Aundiency, the Holy Brotherhood, governors, magistrates, Inquisition, monastic congregation of Valladolid, etc..), composed and governed predominantly by Castilian officials.

Eliminated all opposition in the kingdom, in 1486 the Catholic Monarchs visited Galicia, the symbol of the end of an era, the end of Middle Ages in Galicia. The complet domination of Galicia by the Crown of Castile, what the chronicler Jerónimo Zurita called "the taming of Galicia"[26].

The Kingdom´s Symbols

The purple lion, emblem of the kings

Romanesque Miniature representing Alfonso VIII King of Galicia and Leon. In The upper part appears his historic title "Rex Legionensium et Gallecie" while the lower part shows the purple lion, symbol of the Galician-Leonese´s monarchy.

The custom of painting symbols the heraldic shields of war, was forged in Europe in the battlefields, not before the middle decades of the twelfth century, due to a confluence of circumstances of nature very different, in one hand was the need to differentiate to allies and adversaries in the battlefield, (because nasal protection in the medieval helmets made occult partially the combatants´s faces), but also due to the high ornamental value of decorated shields with bright, crisp and alternate shapes, had in the context of the chivalrous society.

The first heraldic signs were used by kings as a personal mark with which he identified himself, short time after began to be shared by the upper social levels belonging to the royal dignity, and finally finished also representing the territory in which they exercised their jurisdiction, the kingdom.

One of the first kings in Europe who he made use of heraldic emblem, was the Galician king, Alphonse VII "the Emperor", who at the beginning of the twelfth century began timidly using purple lion in accordance with its ancient symbolism, the Leo Fortis (the strong lion symbolized power and primacy of the monarch), and which was developed with his son Ferdinand II and finally established by Alphonse VIII.

This new symbol that had been assumed by Alphonse VII´s heirs, kings of Galicia and Leon, did not represent only Kingdom of Galicia, but also to kingdom of Leon, because that kings exercised their government in both kingdoms as a unit, where Compostela was the religious and cultural head, while the city of Leon was the political and military.

The Chalice, symbol of the kingdom

Arms of King of Galicia according to the English armorial Segar´s Roll, 13th century.

Parallel to the process of development and consolidation of European royal emblems, born in the late thirteenth century the first collections of them, the "Armorials" where appeared a list of kingdoms and their royal symbols.

Parallel to the process of development and consolidation of European royal emblems, born in the late thirteenth century the first collections of them, the "Armorials" where appeared a list of kingdoms and their royal symbols.

In the case of Galicia, antiquity and great projection which the kingdom had had during centuries made unavoidable his presence in the early European Armorials, what did not happen with the kingdoms as Castile, Leon or Portugal, founded recently. However the abscense of a exclusive symbol for Galician kings (who were also kings of Leon since twelveth century) forced to the medieval heraldists to use a Canting arms, it means a symbol derivated from his phonetics.

A English Armorial named "Segar´s Roll", performed in the year 1282, was the first Armorial which it assigned the chalice as coat of arms for the king and kingdom of Galicia ("Roy de Galice"), due to that the anglo-norman word for Galicia ("Galyce") was very close to the word Calice (chalice).

Since then, different European armorials began to give the cup as the emblem of the kingdom of Galicia. In the mid-fifteenth century, this symbol came to Galicia, where it was easily and readily accepted.Therefore, the old purple lion lost the representative character of the former Galician-Leonese monarchy in favor of his best known character Canting arms, being adopted exclusively by the kingdom of Leon from the same century.

The Galician Kingdom in the Modern Era

Renaissance map of the kingdom of Galicia (16th century) by Ioannes Baptista Vrints.

The Kingdom of Galicia was represented to the central Spanish monarchy by the Xunta, first established in 1528. The Xunta was composed by representatives from the cities of Santiago de Compostela, Lugo, Betanzos, A Coruña, Mondoñedo, Ourense and Tui. The Xunta did not hold real power. It was only during the Peninsular War that it achieved some autonomy as the Spanish control weakened. During that war of independence against France the Xunta proclaimed its sovereignty (1808-1813). Ferdinand VII of Spain would eventually take over Galicia again in 1813.

The Kingdom of Galicia continued to formally exist until 1833. This was the time of the provincial division under the regency of María Cristina. Galicia regained its territorial unity following an armed uprising in 1846, but never regained its condition of Kingdom.


  • Lopez Carreira, A. (1998): O Reino de Galiza. A Nosa Terra, Vigo
  • Nogueira, C. (2001): A Memoria da nación: o reino da Gallaecia. Xerais, Vigo
  • Lopez Carreira, A. (2005): O Reino medieval de Galicia. A Nosa Terra, Vigo


  1. ^ Historia Francorum. Grégoire de Tours.
  2. ^ De scriptoribus ecclesiasticis. Sigebertus Gembalensis.
  3. ^ RISCO, M., España Sagrada 40- 41.
  4. ^ Martini Episcopi Bracarensis Opera Omnia pp. 288-304.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Chronicon Iohannis Biclarensis 590.1 = vv 330-341.
  7. ^ Wamba Lex.
  8. ^ Synodus Toletana tertia.
  9. ^ San Fructuoso de Braga: vida y novena, Juan Llorens, Vicente Rafael. 2007. p 21. Tamén [2].
  10. ^ Roger Collins (2004), Visigothic Spain, 409–711. (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.), 110. ISBN 0 631 18185 7.
  11. ^ Bernard S. Bachrach (1973), "A Reassessment of Visigothic Jewish Policy, 589-711." The American Historical Review, 78:1 (Feb.), pp 31–32. Lucas' account has a large number of both detractors (Graetz, Katz, and Dahn) and supporters (Scherer, Ziegler, and Altamira) and even if true it is possible that Lucas' story is based on the minutes of XVIII Toledo, which still survived in his time.
  12. ^ Historia Compostellana, Lib. I, cap. 66
  13. ^ Recuero Astray, 2008, p 99
  14. ^ Recuero Astray, 2008 p.100
  15. ^ López Carreira, 2005, p.380.
  16. ^ López Carreira, 2005, p.406.
  17. ^ Fernão Lopes, Crónica, ed. 1966, p. 75.
  18. ^ Fernão Lopes, Crónica, ed. 1966, p.86 "os da villa o sairom todos a reçeber".
  19. ^ Fernão Lopes, Crónica, ed. 966, p. 87. "Carregar em Lisboa navios e cevada e vinhos, que levassem todo a aquelle logar para seer bastecido".
  20. ^ Oliveira/Pizarro, 1990, I, p. 31.
  21. ^ Russell, 1942, p. 361.
  22. ^ "The grand master Davis had news few days ago of how the Duke of Lancaster had arrived with ships and militarymen at the town of La Coruña, which is in Galice, the day of St. James, and how he took some ships of the king of Castile, and the militarymen were 1500 lances and a like number of archers and all of them were good. And he brought with him his wife Constance, who was the daughter of king Peter and a daughter who had been born of her, who was called Catherine, and he brought other two daughters who the Duke had of another woman he married before, who was dauther of another Duke of lancaster and Earl of Derby, the elder was called Philippa, who married the grand master of Davis, who was called king of Portugal, as further on we tell, and the other daughter was called Elisabeth, who married then a knight who come with the Duke, who was called John of Holand, who was son of the princess and Thomas of Holland, because the Duke of Lancaster made him his military chief." Ayala's Chronicles (J. L. Martín ed. 1991: 607).
  23. ^ Imaxe das Chroniques, de Jean Froissart, Biblioteca Nacional Francesa.
  24. ^ Froissart Chronique, t. 12, p.214.
  25. ^ [3].
  26. ^ Annales de Aragón by Jerónimo Zurita


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