Galicia (Spain)

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Galicia[1] (Galician pronunciation: [ɡaˈliθja]) is an autonomous community and historic region, in northwest Spain, with the status of a historic nationality, and descends from one of the first tribes of Celtic heritage in Europe,[2] the Kingdom of Galicia. It is constituted under the Galician Statute of Autonomy of 1981. Its component provinces are A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense and Pontevedra. It is bordered by Portugal to the south, the Spanish regions of Castile and León and Asturias to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Bay of Biscay to the north.

Besides its continental territory, Galicia includes the archipelagos of Cíes, Ons, Sálvora, as well as Cortegada Island, the Malveiras Islands, Sisargas Islands, and Arousa Island.

Galicia has roughly 2.78 million inhabitants as of 2008, with the largest concentration in two coastal areas, from Ferrol to A Coruña in the north-west and from Vilagarcía to Vigo in the south-west. The capital is Santiago de Compostela, in the province of A Coruña. Vigo, in the province of Pontevedra, is the most populous city, with 297,332 inhabitants (INE 2009).

Galicia has its own historic language, Galician, which is related to Portuguese since the Middle Ages. Although essentially derived from Latin, Galician has significant Celtic and Germanic content. Particular features are the extended use of the "solidarity pronoun", inexistence of perfect tenses, and the "verb answer" instead of "yes/no answer". There is similarity with Gaeilge (Irish) and Irish English on these facts.

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