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(gəlĭ`shə, –shēə, –ə), Pol. Galicja, Ukr. Halychyna, Rus. Galitsiya, historic region (32,332 sq mi/83,740 sq km), SE Poland and W Ukraine, covering the slopes of the N Carpathians and plains to the north and bordering on Slovakia in the south. It is drained by the upper Dniester, the upper Vistula, and the San, which divides Galicia into the western (Polish) and the eastern (Ukrainian) parts. The Polish section (area 13,226 sq mi/34,255 sq km) covers Rzeszów and the larger part of Kraków provinces; the Ukrainian section (area 19,106 sq mi/49,485 sq km) includes Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Tarnopol oblasts. Mainly agricultural, Galicia also has mineral resources, notably oil wells around Drohobych and Boryslav, in Ukraine, and in Rzeszów prov., in Poland.

Originally the duchy of Halych (Galich), it was united with the duchy of Volodymyr (see Volodymyr-VolynskyyVolodymyr-Volynskyy
, Pol. Włodzimierz, Rus. Vladimir-Volynski, city (1989 pop. 38,000), NW Ukraine. It was founded in the 9th cent. and supposedly refounded in 988 by the Grand Duke Vladimir I (Volodymyr I) of Kievan Rus.
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) in 1188 and annexed by Casimir III of Poland in the 14th cent. With the first partition of Poland (1772) most of the region passed to Austria, which made it a crownland with the capital at Lviv (Lemberg) and named it Galicia. Austria enlarged its holdings with the third Polish partition (1795) and again in 1815. In 1846 an abortive Polish insurrection in Galicia served Austria as a pretext for annexing Kraków, an independent republic since 1815.

In 1848 Kraków and Lviv were centers of revolution against Austria, and in 1861 Galicia won limited autonomy, including representation in the Austrian parliament, where Galician deputies formed a powerful bloc. Polish, spoken in W Galicia, and Ukrainian, spoken in E Galicia, became official languages along with German; the Jews, a substantial minority, were refused recognition by the Austrian government. Galicia was the center of the branch of Orthodox Judaism known as HasidismHasidism
or Chassidism
[Heb.,=the pious], Jewish religious movement founded in Poland in the 18th cent. by Baal-Shem-Tov. Its name derives from Hasidim. Hasidism, which stressed the mercy of God and encouraged joyous religious expression through music and dance, spread
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. The Austrians maintained an uncertain peace by playing off the three major ethnic groups. However, the growing Ukrainian nationalist movement resulted in demands for increased political and cultural rights, or even for independence, in E Galicia. The Polish independence movement also gained ground, but in World War I the Polish legions, organized in Galicia by Marshal Piłsudski, fought under Austrian command until 1917.

In 1918 the Poles, having proclaimed national independence, wrested W Galicia from Austria and fought the troops of the newly established Ukraine republic in E Galicia, forcing them to withdraw. The Paris Peace Conference (1919) assigned E Galicia to Poland pending a plebiscite scheduled for 1944. However, in a treaty (1920) with the Ukrainians, upheld by the Polish-Soviet Treaty of Riga (1921), Poland obtained full title to E Galicia. In 1939 most of E Galicia was incorporated into Ukraine, an act upheld by the Polish-Soviet Treaty of 1945. Nearly all the Jews in Galicia perished during World War II.


(gəlē`shə, –shēə; Span., gälē`thēä), autonomous community (2011 pop. 2,772,928), 11,419 sq mi (29,575 sq km), NW Spain, on the Atlantic Ocean, S of the Bay of Biscay and N of Portugal. Comprised of the provinces of A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense, and Pontevedra, the region gained autonomy in 1981, when it elected its first parliament. Galician (Galego), closely related to Portuguese, is the official language of the region; most inhabitants understand it, but only about half use it primarily.

The area is mostly mountainous, with several swift rivers, of which the Miño is the most important. Fishing, cattle and hog raising, and food processing are the main industries. An important naval base is at FerrolFerrol
, city (1990 pop. 86,272), A Coruña prov., NW Spain, in Galicia. The naval base on the Atlantic was built in the 18th cent. and is one of the most important in Spain. Shipbuilding and ironworks are the main industries.
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 and a petroleum refinery is at A CoruñaA Coruña
, formerly La Coruña
, city (1990 pop. 256,579), capital of A Coruña prov., NW Spain, in Galicia. It is a busy Atlantic port, a distribution center for the surrounding farm area, and a summer resort spot.
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. The region's mineral resources, chiefly iron and tin, were known to the Romans but are now little exploited. Much of the region's electricity is produced by wind farms.

Galicia was (5th–6th cent. A.D.) the center of the kingdom of the German Suevi. It was liberated (8th–9th cent.) from the Moors by the king of AsturiasAsturias
, autonomous community and coextensive prov. (2011 pop. 1,075,183), 4,093 sq mi (10,602 sq km), and former kingdom, NW Spain, S of the Bay of Biscay and E of Galicia. It was established as an autonomous community in 1981.
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. Its people's strong spirit of independence was shown in the Middle Ages by the frequent rebellions of the feudal lords against the crown and again in the 19th cent. by the popular resistance to Napoleon I. The shrine of Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de Compostela
or Santiago,
city (1990 pop. 91,419), capital of Galicia, in A Coruña prov., NW Spain, on the Sar River. The city is one of the chief shrines of Christendom. There in the early 9th cent. the supposed tomb of the apostle St.
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, a center of culture in medieval times, remains a great place of pilgrimage. In the 19th cent., Galicia was the scene of a remarkable cultural and literary revival.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a historic region in northwestern Spain, on the coast of the Atlantic. The territory of Galicia is divided into the provinces of La Coruña, Pontevedra, Lugo, and Orense. Area, 29,000 sq km; population, 2,692,000 (1967), primarily Galicians. The major city is La Coruña.

Galicia occupies the ancient crystalline Galician massif, the maximum height of which is 1,778 m; the massif is dissected by an extensive network of rivers. The coastline is greatly indented, with many fine natural harbors. The climate is temperate and oceanic. Broad-leaved mountain trees (oak, hornbeam, beech and ash) and shrubs are characteristic.

Galicia is primarily an agricultural region. The extremely small size of land plots and land hunger have made Galicia one of the major regions of emigration for many years.

In Galicia are found more than one-fourth of Spain’s long-horn cattle (1,095,000 head in 1967) and about one-sixth of its pigs. The region produces more than one-fourth of the milk and about one-third of the beef. Corn, rye, and potatoes are harvested. Fishing (about 44 percent of the Spanish motorized fishing fleet in 1963) and forest industries (annual logging of about 1 million cu m) play an important role. Electrical energy production is 4.5 billion kilowatt-hours (1967), including 4.4 billion kilowatt-hours by hydroelectric power plants. The most important hydroelectric stations are San Esteban (300,000 kilowatts [kW]), Los Peares (200,000 kW), El Belesar (225,000 kW), and Punte Bibei (286,000 kW).

About half of Spain’s shipbuilding (in El Ferrol and Vigo), woodworking, and food industries are concentrated in Galicia, including half of Spain’s fish canning, primarily sardines. There are truck factories (one-fourth of the country’s production) and oil-refining and aluminum plants (at La Coruña). The major ports and bunker bases are La Coruña and Vigo and the military naval base of El Ferrol.


In antiquity Galicia was inhabited by the Galician tribes (Latin, Gallaeci or Callaeci), from which the name Galicia was later taken. The territory of Galicia, conquered by the Romans in the first century B.C., made up the diocese of Callaecia under the emperor Augustus, and then, together with Asturia, the diocese of Asturia and Gallaecia. Under Diocletian, the province of Gallaecia was formed. The modern name “Galicia” is found in historical sources beginning in the sixth century (it is given as Gallicia by Jordanes and Gregory of Tours). The territory of Galicia was conquered in the early fifth century by the Suebi and was the nucleus of their state. After a victory over the Arabs in 718, the Asturian monarchs subdued Galicia. From 1065 to 1072, Galicia was an independent kingdom. In 1072 it was united with Castile. From 1110 to 1130 there were major peasant uprisings (especially in the episcopate of Santiago de Compostela). In the 15th century, many popular movements flared up in Galicia. In united Spain, Galicia preserved a number of autonomous rights until the 19th century.

After the proclamation of the Spanish Republic (1931), the republicans of Galicia worked out a plan for Galician autonomy, which was approved by a referendum held in Galicia on June 28, 1936. However, the creation of an autonomous Galician region was prevented by the fascist revolt that began on July 17-18, 1936.



(Galizien), a province of the Hapsburg empire from 1772 to 1918. The official name of Galicia was the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria with the Grand Duchy of Kraców. Galicia was formed as a result of the First Partition of Poland in 1772 from a part of southern Poland and the western Ukraine. Prom 1786 to 1849, Galicia included Bucovina and from 1795 to 1809, the territory between the Pilica and the Western Bug rivers (the so-called New, or West, Galicia). The territory of Ternopol’ and its environs was separated from Galicia from 1809 to 1815, as was the Kraców area (which had constituted the Free City of Kraców from 1815 to 1846) in 1846. In 1918 the territory of Galicia became part of Poland.



or Galichina, the historical name of a territory in the Western Ukraine, covering what is now L’vov, Ivano-Frankovsk, and Ternopol’ oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR; from the late 18th to the early 20th century it was considered to be Polish.

From the ninth to the 11th century Galicia was part of Kievan Rus’ and then of the Galician-Volynian Principality. In 1349 it was seized by Poland; according to a treaty concluded between Poland and Lithuania in 1352, it was incorporated into the Polish state. The Galician people stood alongside the entire Ukrainian people in the fight against foreign and domestic oppressors; they actively participated in the war of liberation of 1648-54. After the reunification of the Ukraine with Russia, Galicia remained a part of the Rzecz Pospolita (the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania). In 1658 a peasant rebellion broke out in the Dolina district; in 1670, in the Drogobych District; and in 1672, in the Zhidachov and Stryi districts. The “brigands’ “ (oprishky) movement, which had begun in the 16th century and had reached large proportions in the first half of the 18th century, continued to grow; among its leaders was Oleksa Dovbush. In 1772, after the first partition of Poland, Galicia came under Austrian rule. A province of Galicia, including Polish as well as Ukrainian territory, was created within the Austrian empire. Polish and Ukrainian peasants led a struggle against the oppression of the pomeshchiks (landlords); for example, there were peasant uprisings in 1819, 1824, and 1882, as well as the Galician rebellion of 1846. Several democratic writers and champions of unity among the Slavic peoples, M. Shashkevich, I. Vagilevich, and la. Golovatskii, attacked serfdom and national oppression. After the Revolution of 1848, the Austrian government abolished serfdom in Galicia. Galicia remained essentially a colony of Austria-Hungary. In 1890 the Ukrainian Radical Party was formed in Galicia. Initially this party played a progressive role in the social movement.

Industry was only weakly developed in Galicia. During World War I (1914-18), Galicia became the arena of military action between the Austro-German bloc and Russia. Galician industry was destroyed, and social and national oppression was intensified still more. In October 1918, after the collapse of Austria-Hungary, Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists created in L’vov a counterrevolutionary provisional government, the National Rada. In November 1918 the so-called People’s Republic of the Western Ukraine was proclaimed. Workers and peasants, led by the Communist Party of Eastern Galicia (formed in February 1919), carried on a struggle against the counterrevolutionary, nationalistic government of the People’s Republic of the Western Ukraine. In July 1919 landlord-dominated Poland occupied Eastern Galicia. In 1939 the Soviet Army liberated the entire Western Ukraine, which was then reunited with the Ukrainian SSR.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. a region of E central Europe on the N side of the Carpathians, now in SE Poland and Ukraine
2. an autonomous region and former kingdom of NW Spain, on the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic. Pop.: 1 969 000 (2003 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005