/geuh lish"ee euh, -lish"euh/; for 2 also Sp. /gah lee"thyah/, n.
1. a region in E central Europe: a former crown land of Austria, included in S Poland after World War I, and now partly in Ukraine. ab. 30,500 sq. mi. (79,000 sq. km).
2. a maritime region in NW Spain: a former kingdom, and later a province. 11,256 sq. mi. (29,153 sq. km).

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Polish Galicja Russian Galytsiya

Historical region, eastern Europe.

It included the northern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains and the valleys of the upper Vistula, Dniester, Bug, and Seret rivers. In 1199 eastern Galicia, situated near the principalities of Kiev and Volhynia, was taken by Prince Roman of Volhynia, who united Volhynia and Galicia. In 1349 the Polish king Casimir III annexed Galicia. When Poland was partitioned, beginning in 1772, the territory passed to Austria. Restored to Poland after World War I, eastern Galicia was taken by the Soviet Union in World War II and united to the Ukrainian S.S.R. After the war, eastern Galicia remained a part of the U.S.S.R. (after 1991, part of Ukraine), and western Galicia was attached to Poland.
ancient Gallaecia

Autonomous community (pop., 2001: 2,695,880) and ancient kingdom, northwestern Spain.

Covering 11,419 sq mi (29,575 sq km), Galicia is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal, and its capital is Santiago de Compostela. Its name is derived from the Celtic Gallaeci, who lived there when the region was conquered by the Romans с 137 BC. Taken by the Visigoths in AD 585, it next passed to the Moors and became part of the kingdom of Asturias in the 8th and 9th centuries. It lost much of its political autonomy after the unification of Castile and Aragon in 1479. The region was made an autonomous community in 1981. Agriculture, forestry, and fishing are economically important.

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▪ historical region, Eastern Europe
Polish  Galicja , German  Galizien , Russian  Galytsiya 

      historic region of eastern Europe that was a part of Poland before Austria annexed it in 1772; in the 20th century it was restored to Poland but was later divided between Poland and the Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).

      During the Middle Ages, eastern Galicia, situated between Hungary, Poland, and the western principalities of Kiev and Volhynia, was coveted by its neighbours for its fertile soil and its important commercial connections. Incorporated into Kievan Rus by Vladimir I (Grand Prince Vladimir) in 981, eastern Galicia (also called Red Ruthenia, or Red Rus), being the country around Halicz (Galich, or Galych) on the upper Dniester, east of the Zbruch confluent and west of the headwaters of the San River, became an independent principality in 1087; during the next century it developed into a rich and powerful principality. In 1199 Prince Roman of Volhynia, invited by the Galician boyars (noblemen), ascended the throne in Halicz and united under his power both Volhynia (or Lodomeria) and Galicia in 1200. Under his rule and that of his son Daniel (Daniel Romanovich) (reigned 1238–64), the united principality defeated both Polish and Hungarian attempts at conquest and asserted itself as a major state in eastern Europe. The principality was weakened, however, by internal struggles between the princes and boyars, who often held the real power in the principality, and, though Daniel was crowned king of Galicia by a papal legate in 1253, he was also compelled to recognize the suzerainty of the Mongol khan, who had conquered the former Kievan territory in 1237–41.

      Galicia, however, did not become an integral part of the Mongol empire as did other lands of Rus, and in 1323, when Roman's dynasty died out, a Polish prince, Bolesław Jerzy of Mazovia, was elected by the boyars to rule Galicia. After his death (1340), the Polish king Casimir III the Great annexed Galicia to his lands (1349). Under Polish rule Galicia was settled by Polish gentry, who became the dominant social class, and Galician boyars soon were compelled to accept the Polish language as well as Polish legal and social institutions and Roman Catholicism.

      When Poland was first partitioned in 1772, eastern Galicia, together with the territory to the west, between the San and the Vistula, was attached to Austria; and in 1795 further lands, both west and east of the Vistula, passed also to Austria. From 1786 to 1849 Austria administered the territory of Bukovina as part of Galicia. After the adjustments of 1815 (Congress of Vienna), Austria's Polish possessions were called the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria; and the 1815 Republic of Cracow was added to them in 1846. In 1848–49 Austria abolished serfdom in Galicia and after 1867 allowed the region a large degree of administrative autonomy. During the late 19th century, however, the Ukrainian population, which constituted the majority of the inhabitants of eastern Galicia, objected to the increasing domination of the Polish population and developed a strong Ukrainian nationalist movement.

      All Galicia became a part of Poland after World War I and postwar controversy. When World War II began, the Soviet Union united eastern Galicia to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Following the war, eastern Galicia remained a part of the U.S.S.R. (after 1991, part of Ukraine), while western, Polish-settled Galicia was attached to Poland.

 comunidad autónoma (autonomous community) and historic region of Spain encompassing the northwestern provincias (provinces) of Lugo, A Coruña (Coruña, A), Pontevedra, and Ourense. It is roughly coextensive with the former kingdom of Galicia. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and north, the autonomous communities of Asturias and Castile-León to the east, and Portugal to the south. The autonomous community of Galicia was established by the statute of autonomy of April 6, 1981. It has a parliament, headed by a president, and a unicameral assembly. The capital is Santiago de Compostela. Area 11,419 square miles (29,574 square km). Pop. (2007 est.) 2,772,533.

      The terrain of Galicia is hilly and relatively uniform in elevation, with more than half its area lying between elevations of 1,300 and 2,000 feet (400 and 600 metres) and less than one-fifth at elevations lower than 650 feet (200 metres). Mountains ring the interior, isolating the region from the Spanish provinces of Asturias, León, and Zamora to the east and from Portugal to the south. The interior is dominated by strongly dissected mountains, which gradually give way to the coastal plains of the Atlantic and Bay of Biscay littorals. Numerous rivers and their tributaries drain seaward through Galicia, permitting the region to export hydroelectric power to the rest of Spain. Annual precipitation is moderately high, exceeding 40 inches (1,000 mm) in most places, but it is of only limited benefit, because the badly eroded soil retains little moisture.

      Villages are ordinarily small and isolated, the parish being the common denominator among the widely dispersed villages of a locality. The terrain favours animal husbandry over cultivation, and the former is the premier agricultural activity; nonetheless, the farm population is large and fairly evenly dispersed, resulting in the subdivision of the countryside into small landholdings, or minifundios. Families generally own and cultivate the minifundios, and the inability of those farms to support a growing population has resulted in a higher-than-average emigration from Galicia since the 18th century. Overseas emigration was particularly high between 1920 and 1935. Emigration since World War II has been not only to the industrialized countries of Europe but also to the Spanish provinces of Madrid, Vizcaya, and Barcelona. Emigration has been especially high among men, resulting in serious demographic and economic imbalances, among them an aging population and declining economic productivity.

      Primary production (agriculture, forestry, and fishing) dominates the region's economy. Subsistence farming prevails among the minifundios, with potatoes and corn (maize) among the leading crops and cattle among the leading livestock. Underemployment plagues the agricultural sector, and large numbers of migrant labourers periodically leave Galicia in search of seasonal work elsewhere in Spain. The mountains of the region produce considerable quantities of timber (pine). The port of Vigo is one of Spain's leading fishing ports.

      Galicia's manufacturing sector is not well developed, and much of it centres on the processing of primary commodities. Fish processing is of particular importance, and sawmills are widespread. The installation of a petroleum refinery in A Coruña has stimulated industrial development in that province, while Ferrol and Vigo have major shipbuilding works. Galicia's economy remains underdeveloped, however, accounting for a disproportionately small percentage of Spain's gross domestic product. Lignite deposits are used to produce thermoelectric power.

      Galicia's culture and language have developed in relative isolation, showing greater affinity for the Portuguese culture and language than for the culture and language of Spain until the final separation of the two countries in 1668. The literary use of Galician (Galician language) reached a high point in the 13th and 14th centuries, when its metre, drawing on that of Provençal, showed greater refinement and versatility than the then relatively underdeveloped Castilian metre. Other noteworthy literary periods include the Rexurdimento (“Resurgence” or “Revival”) of the late 19th century, as well as the 1920s and '30s, when Xeración Nós (“The Generation Nós”; a journal dedicated to consolidating Galician culture) had a wide influence. The cultural and political predominance of Castile long submerged the literary uses of Galician, and most of the region's writers of the 20th century wrote in Castilian. Since the end of the 20th century, however, there has been a gradual and continuing growth in the publication of Galician texts, as well as in the production of Galician-language films. Among the preeminent Galician scholars of the 20th century were Ramón Menéndez Pidal (Menéndez Pidal, Ramón) (1869–1968), whose works centred on Spanish philology and culture, and Ramón Otero Pedrayo (1888–1976), who published much about Galician culture and wrote almost exclusively in Galician.The cultural revival of Galician as a literary language in the mid-19th century pointed to a growing regional consciousness. The plebiscite of 1936 registered overwhelming support for Galician autonomy but was nullified by the dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco.

      Galicia's name is derived from the Celtic Gallaeci, who lived there when the region was conquered by the Roman legions about 137 BC. In Roman and Visigothic times Galicia stretched south to the Duero River and eastward to beyond the city of León and formed part of the archdiocese of Bracara Augusta (Braga). From c. 410 it was an independent kingdom under the Suebi, who were finally destroyed by the Visigoths in 585. Galicia lost much of its political autonomy after the unification of Castile and Aragon in 1479 and fell under the administration of the royal Junta del Reino de Galicia in 1495.

Vicente Rodriguez

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Universalium. 2010.

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