The 19th century

The 19th century marked the recovery of the literary use of Galician but, at the same time, it began a progressive loss of speakers due to the specific political and economic changes.

  • Rosalía de Castro

    Rosalía de Castro

At the start of the 20th century, Galician was still the oral language of the main part of the population but, since the second half of the 19th century, Castilian was gaining prestige among urban bourgeoisie at the expense of Galician.

But the 19th century is also the time of the recovery of Galician as a language of culture. Rexurdimento (Resurgence) is the name of the cultural renovation movement, which took place in Galicia throughout that century. It contributed to literary development and to the strengthening of the Galician. Cantares Gallegos -Galician Songs-, the first work entirely written in Galician in 1863, by Rosalía de Castro, inaugurated the height of the Rexurdimento.

In the late 19th century, the literary use of Galician began to extend to other genres, as the narrative or the dramatic one, but with certain limitations because the language was used to develop a literary trend that concentrated on regional traditions and customs, and folkloric and tendencies as well as historical issues.

The first Galician grammar books and dictionaries, crucial for its standardization, also appeared in the 19th century.