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During the Middle Ages, the kingdom of Galicia was occasionally ruled by its own kings, but most of the time it was leagued to the kingdom of Leon and later to that of Castile, while maintaining its own legal and customary practices and culture.
From the 13th century on, the kings of Castile, as kings of Galicia, appointed an Adiantado-mór, whose attributions passed to the Governor and Captain General of the Kingdom of Galiza from the last years of the 15th century.
Located in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, it comprises the provinces of A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense and Pontevedra, being bordered by Portugal to the south, the Spanish autonomous communities of Castile and León and Asturias to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Cantabrian Sea to the north.
It had a population of 2,718,525 in 2016 including its offshore islands and islets, among them Cíes Islands, Ons, Sálvora, Cortegada, and—the largest and most populated—A Illa de Arousa.
In 711, the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate invaded the Iberian Peninsula conquering the Visigoth kingdom of Hispania by 718, but soon Galicia was incorporated into the Christian kingdom of Asturias by 740.
This resulted in the Statute of Autonomy of 1936, soon frustrated by Franco's coup d'etat and subsequent long dictatorship.
After democracy was restored the legislature passed the Statute of Autonomy of 1981, approved in referendum and currently in force, providing Galicia with self-government.
The area now called Galicia was first inhabited by humans during the Middle Paleolithic period, and it takes its name from the Gallaeci, the Celtic people living north of the Douro River during the last millennium BC, in a region largely coincidental with that of the Iron Age local Castro culture.
Galicia was incorporated into the Roman Empire at the end of the Cantabrian Wars in 19 BC, and was made a Roman province in the 3rd century AD.