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- For the Galicia in Ukraine see Galicia.
The Republic of Galicia (occasionally Galiza) is a country in northwest Spain. It controls the former Spanish provinces of Lugo, La Coruña and part of the provinces of Pontevedra, Orense, Leon and Asturias. It borders the former country of Portugal to the south, the Republica de Asturias and Republica Unida de Castilla y Leon to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Bay of Biscay to the north.
Following the transition to democracy upon the death of Gen. Franco in 1975, Galicia regained its status as an autonomous region within Spain with the Statute of Autonomy of 1981. In 1981 Xerardo Fernandez Albor became the first president of the Xunta de Galicia, supported by Xosé Luís Barreiro, strong man of the conservative party in the region.
Except for the electromagnetic pulses, Galicia was not seriously affected on 26 September. The closest targets were Porto in Portugal and Bilbao in the Basque Country, and both were distant enough. Moreover, the north winds and the mountain barriers prevented the radioactive contamination from the explosions from affecting the country - at least the first days.
Guerra das Xuntas 1983-1985
After September 26, two separate governments were formed in Galicia: one civilian in the regional government, la Xunta, with its center in Santiago de Compostela, and another military with its center in El Ferrol. Because of the urgency of the situation, the Xunta ceased all political activity and did not proclaim independence. Despite this, the suspicions of the military junta in Ferrol were risen.
After a urban riot in La Coruña, Socialist Mayor Francisco Vazquez, along with the civil governor of the province, persuade the commander of the military garrison to work with the Xunta.
Some skirmishes happened between the two sides, but within weeks both were defeated by the chaos, radiation and disease. Within months, military forces in Spain either left the country quickly or were run over. In early 1985, the remains of the Spanish army left Ferrol, Viveiro and Ribadeo, its last enclaves. The Xunta, also in chaos, lost ground to the riots, and was forced to move to La Coruña.
Silent years 1985-1989
Though it was little known, the Xunta de Galicia still existed, though reduced to La Coruña and its surrounding region. Ruled by a triumvirate of Albor, Barreiro and Francisco Vazquez, the government maintained operational the factory of arms of Santa Barbara. Vazquez improvised defenses in La Coruña in lieu of walls.
Lugo instead retreated behind its ancient Roman walls, ruling the Diputacion, the remains of the provincial government.
The Liga Galega 1987-1989
The governments of La Coruña and Lugo and other municipalities as Monforte and Viveiro agreed to eradicate banditry.
In 1987, the intrigues of Galician politics caused Barreiro's fall from grace. Albor appointed Mariano Raxoy as vice president. Albor was forced to call elections in 1988 (only in territories under control of the Xunta): Barreiro founded the Partido Popular Galego (PPG), while Raxoy, Vazquez and Albor founded the Partido Institucional (PI). A third party in the lefties trends, the Unidade Popular Galega (UPG), was founded by Xosé Manuel Beiras.
Meanwhile, the League conquered El Ferrol, held since 1985 by various factions. Disagreements about the future status of the city and its surroundings were the need to re-establish the league. A Constitutional Congress was convened in Lugo for March 1989.
In 1988, Albor lost the election and was replaced by Barreiro, supported by Beiras.
First Bierzo´s War 1985-1990
Bierzo Valley is a fertile basin, rich in coal mines, located between Galicia and Leon. The surrounding mountain barriers preserved the region from radiation.
After Doomsday, a local Junta ruled the valley, under the authority of the JSC, but following the withdrawal of the Spanish army in 1985, this Board proclaimed the independence of the Republic of Bierzo. The Junta of Leon did not recognize the independence of Bierzo, because this valley was part of the former province, and sent an improvised army formed by policemen, civil guards, volunteer militias, former soldiers - who refused the evacuation order at 1985 - and conscripts. This army had conquered most of the valley, and in spring of 1987 had surrounded the independent movement in Villafranca, when the Liga Galega decided to intervene to defend El Bierzo´s independence supporters.
The armies of the Liga and Bierzo initially progressed quickly and within weeks regained Ponferrada, capital of Bierzo, but since then the war came to a standstill in a trench warfare, with high costs for all sides. In January 1990, a ceasefire was agreed upon by all sides.
The Galician Confederacy 1989-1999
Lugo's Congress was attended by representatives of various communities of Galicia, which previously formed the Liga Galega, and others were added. The signatories of the statement were: The Xunta de Galicia (the residuary autonomous government of the region), the Diputación de Lugo (Deputation of Lugo), the Concello de Monforte de Lemos (Municipality of Monforte), the Concello de Becerreá (Municipality of Becerreá), the Concello de Viveiro (Municipality of Viveiro), the Comunidad de Ribadeo (Community of Ribadeo), the Comuna de Carballo (Commune of Carballo) and the Goberno Provisional de El Ferrol (Ferrol´s interim government).
Together, they proclaimed the independence of the Galician Nation (until now this matter had been obviated, but inasmuch as the Spanish government and others still existed, this statement was not delayed any longer). Barreiro was proclaimed interim president of the Confederacy, but lost the elections held in March 1992 (the first since 1983) that were won by Beiras, who also won the next election in 96.
At the end of 1985, the province of Asturias had proclaimed its independence, but after being invaded by a vast majority of refugees and collapsed by numerous rebellions, it had no authority beyond Oviedo. In 1989, a diplomatic mission sent to the Congress of Lugo made a desperate appeal for military aid. The request received a favorable response from Congress, and military forces were sent to the aid of Oviedo. In return, the reconstructed territories formed the Asturian State and recognized territories that the municipality of Ribadeo had acquired in the former border between Galicia and Asturias in the chaotic 80´s.
Expansion in Galician Mainland
While military forces occupied eastern Galicia, the recovery of Galicia in the west and the south was slow. The greatest success was the reconquest of Santiago de Compostela in 1992, even if after many years of turmoil the city was ruined and too far from the nucleus of the Galician State, so A Coruña continued to function as capital.
However, all other existing communities in this region put up a strong resistance to the reconquest. Especially difficult were the operations against the "Liga das Rias Baixas" a confederation of municipalities that made up most of the Galician western coast of northern Portugal and that engaged in piracy, which put in serious difficulties the navigation on these coasts.
The renew of war in Bierzo, with unfavorable results for the Confederacy, the growing hostility of Asturians to the Galician occupation, the stagnation in the reconquest of southern Galicia, the high human and economic costs of maintaining a war on three fronts, the fears of Portugal to the southern Galician expansion, the resulting scarcity of isolation, the anger of the rural population to the policy of collectivization, the reluctance of the immigrant population with language policy and cultural assimilation and the opposition of much of the politics to the growing personality of Beira´s government, exposed the shortcomings of the Confederacy.
In May 1997, the failure to attempt to regain Ponferrada - occupied last year by Leonese forces - caused a new crisis in government. MAG members, so far Beiras' government's partners, abandoned him and joined the parliamentary opposition led by Francisco Vazquez - who, in 1994 had founded along with Mariano Raxoy and Xosé Manuel Romay, the Unidade Democratica Galega (UDG) - to promote a motion of censure, and Beiras was forced to call elections.
Francisco Vazquez won the elections in August 1997 with a comfortable majority that encouraged him to call a new Constituent Assembly.
Second Bierzo´s War 1996-2000
In 1996, pressed by Beiras, the puppet government of the Republic of Bierzo proclaims union with the Confederacy. The Junta of Leon considered this a violation of the armistice of 1990, and launched an attack, taking Ponferrada. The following year, a Galician counteroffensive failed in an attempt to regain the city. The war would stall again for a few more years without earnings for any contender.
The Constituent Assembly convened in La Coruña in 1998 and adopted a series of reforms, reinforcing the role of central government without altering the confederal structure. The new Constitution was approved by referendum in 1999.
Development of the Republic 1999-2011With the new millennium, a new era of openness and economic development started in Galicia. In March 2000 the Navia Treaty with the Republic of Asturias was agreed, creating a new border demarcation and asserting the gradual withdrawal of Galician military forces. In 2002, the division of Bierzo Valley was agreed with the Junta of Leon. Decades of war in the east ended.
In 2000, legislative elections were held, which were won by the UPG, and Vazquez was re-elected President. But because of internal pressure from his party and an unfavourable course of the war against the Leage of Rias Baixas, he lost the 2004 election and Beiras returned to presidency. His second term had, however, very little activity and was marred by political scandals. The recognition in that year of Galicia by Pais de Oro unlocked diplomatic recognition of other countries, especially Portugal, and even facilitating the development of a new trade zone between the Azores, the Celtic Alliance and the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula.
From October 5 to 14 of 2010, in a combined operation with Portugal known as Operación Centolla (Spider Crab operation), the cities of the southwest and also the mouth of Minho River were conquered, thus ending the existence of the federation of Rias Baixas, that since its formation around 1987 had been a dangerous rival to the claims of the Coruña government.
PoliticsGalicia is a parliamentary democracy, multi-partist, and its territorial organization of a federal nature. Observers of the LoN qualify the Republic as an imperfect democracy, because of widespread corruption and irregularities in the electoral process. Political patronage tends to predominate over parties discipline. Galician politicians tend to migrate from one party to another at their convenience.
Although the 1999 Constitution strengthened the federal government´s weight, the 25 local governments (since 1999 called Xuntas locais) still have a high degree of autonomy among certain matters, significantly over the management of all taxes, as agreed between these governments and central. With the recent expansión in the southwest is expected to create three or four new xuntas as well as changes in the legislature.
The legislative, called Parlamento Galego, is bicameral, formed by a lower chamber called Camara do Pobo of 130 deputies, and a high chamber called Camara das Autoridades of 80 deputies elected or designed by the States (at least two from each territory). The legislative powers are, however, limited: the election of the President by the vote of both chambers is its most important assignment.
But, despite its faults, the system has allowed the development of the State orderly and peacefully. Since the establishment of the Confederation has not serious incidents. There have been no attempts at rebellion or civil war or autocracies, and individual freedoms have been restoring for a time now.
The main political party, but now in opposition, is Unión Popular Galega or UPG (Galician People's Union), formed from the ranks of the unity government formed by the regional government in September 1983. It is a socialist-leaning nationalist party, led at the time by Beiras and today by Anxo Quintana. This party advocates the secularism of the state, the collectivization of land and industries, and monolingual in Galician.
The second party in number of votes but actually in government is the Unidade Democratica Galega (UDG, Galician Democratic Unity), a conservative party led currently by Mariano Raxoy: this party defends Galician-Castilian bilingualism, the protection of the Catholic Church and economic liberalism. It is supported by theMovemento Agrario Galego (MAG, Galician Agrarian Movement), in theory an agrarian party which fought against the forced collectivizations of the 90´s.
Other parties are the Partido Socialista Galego (PSG, socialist) and the Movemento Agrario Galego Independente (MAGI), an ecologist division of MAG.
Until the end of the decade of the 90's, Galicia had an attitude that could be called imperialist with neighboring countries. This attitude changed after 1999 to a diplomatic standards whilst maintaining a preponderance economically.
The first formal diplomatic contact was in 1987 when a mission was sent to Punta Delgada to establish relations with the Portuguese interim government. This first attempt failed because of the threat of Pais del Oro to break relations with Portugal.
In the following two years, Galicia was forced to isolation, with the exception of Asturias and the Bierzo (but both must be considered puppet states).
In 1989, there was a first encounter with Euskadi (Pays-Libres des Basques), the following year the two countries established diplomatic relations.
In 1994 was sent an ambassador to the Celtic Alliance.
Since then, Galicia has normalized relations with other countries, especially with the nations of South America.
Pais del Oro claimed the entire territory of the former Spanish state until 2004, the year in which Pais del Oro officially recognized Galicia's independence (and that of other Spanish mainland States).
The Republic associates freely with other nations, and with no real complications due to the claims of PdO. International relations are especially good with the Celtic Alliance, due to the shared Celtic ancestry of the two nations. Relations are also good with Portugal, although this good will was delayed due to initial suspicion over Galicia's motives. This quickly gave way to an active collaboration to restore the respective territories in southern Galicia and northern Portugal to law-abiding rule.
In many South American countries where live many descendants of Galicians -to the extent that is often called Gallegos (Galicians) to the Spanish although not from Galicia -the public opinion is very favorable to the recognition of Galicia.
Galicia was a founding member of the League of Nations when the organization was formed in 2008.
The Galician army was improvised in the early years with troops from various sources: volunteer militiamen, deserters from the Spanish army, former policemen and others. Since the time of Liga Galega the divisions in that is organized are called by his communities of origin.
Insignificant once, the Galician Navy has developed greatly due to the possession of the shipyards of El Ferrol. Recently they had launched the frigate Santiago (based on the non built Spanish Santa Maria-class frigates, based in turn on the American Oliver Hazard Perry Class) and the corvettes Finisterre and Rianxeira.
Galician population figures are largely based upon the census conducted by the Galician Government in 2005. For the purposes of the League of Nations, however, these figures are not felt to be entirely accurate as the census only reflected the registered population in the territories under control. Not all districts in the south, even under the control of pirates, bandits and other small communities were considered in this census. The population is estimated at more than 900,000 inhabitants, of which a large number are immigrants, numbering an estimated 200,000, mainly from Portugal and other parts of Spain but also from former France, Germany and the British Islands.
Before 1983 the official languages of the Autonomous Community of Galicia were Spanish and Galician. After 1983, the massive immigration of Portuguese and Spanish people in other parts of the Peninsula introduced the use of Portuguese and strengthened Spanish. The Galician language itself changed due to the influence of these two languages. French, English and Basque are also spoken by refugee communities of these nations.
Catholicism is the dominant religion and almost exclusively in the Galician nation, with the exception of some refugee communities. The Galician Church - integrated into the Hispano-Portuguese Episcopal Conference - is formed by the Archdiocese of Santiago de Compostela and Bishop Suffragan of Lugo, Mondoñedo, Orense and Tuy.
Galicia retains an active power plant, "Pontes de Garcia Rodriguez" (maintained with imported coal from Asturias and Bierzo) and some other hydro-power which supplies the electrical network. Some mines of copper, iron and tungsten remain open. There is also the shipyards and metalurgic industries in El Ferrol and the ceramics and glass industries in Sargadelos. The oil refinery of La Coruña has been partially converted into various chemical industries. Because of the depletion of fishing grounds, former fishermen have launched numerous fish farms on the coast. Agriculture (potatoes, turnips, corn, grapes) is the main economic activity. In May 2010, the rail line between La Coruña and Santiago was reopened, and now runs in parallel to the railway line between Ferrol and Gijon (that can claim to be the only transnational rail currently in operation on the European continent).
Art and Literature
Literature include the novelists Manuel Rivas and Suso de Toro: the former is known for Lembranzas (Remembers), a set of poems that express the longing for lost nature, while the latter is known by De Regnum Dei, a fiction novel inspired by the biography of the Bishop of Tuy, and in which a bishop tries to build a society according to Christian ideals after 1983, and faced his finding of the failure of his mission at the time of his death. Both novels, recently translated into Spanish and English, have achieved remarkable editorial success in South America and ANZC.
About music, since 2005 a folk festival began to be held each August in the grove of Pardiñas, a festival that attracts visitors from all over Galicia.
In 2008, after 25 years without being held, the International Celtic Festival was reopened in Ortigueira.