Place names

The Linguistic Normalization Law 3/1983 of 15 July indicates that the only official name for the place names of Galicia is expressed in Galician language.

The determination of place names of municipalities, territories, villages and other place names is the responsibility of the Commission on Toponymy, which was created in 1984, by Decree 43/1984 of 23 March, and it is currently governed by Decree 174/1998 of 5 June.

Catalogue of place names

Published in 2003, Tthe Catalogue of Galician Place Names(Toponimia official das provincias, concellos, parroquias e lugares) set the official place names of Galicia.

Once concluded the phase of setting, the Commission on Toponymy created the Project on Galician Toponymy (PTG) to recover all the local place names (names of fields, lands, springs, stones, cruceiros (stone crosses), beaches, streams…) and to locate them on a cartographic map.

The PTG seeks to keep the great cultural heritage under serious threat.

Textos legais

The Linguistic Normalization Law of 15 July sets the framework for the official use of language in different fields. It contains the legal foundations for the recovery and setting of Galician place names.

Article 10; It establishes that the only form of place names will be Galician and it will be used officially for all purposes.

This point of the Linguistic Normalization Law has a further development:

  • The Commission on Toponymy created as an advisory body of the Galician Government by Decree 43/1984 of 23 March, modified by Decree 174/1998 of 5 June.
  •  The procedure for setting and recovering Galician place names by Decree 132/198, of 6 September.

The General Plan for the Normalization of Galician also protects the place names heritage and sets measures in this field, and establishes that all survey and cartographic works of public administrations will take into account the local place names, following the guidelines of the Commission on Toponymy. It also establishes that all the place names obtained will be sent to SITGA for on-line publication (Guideline 1.2.6. Sector 1. Administration. Area 2. Local Administration)

On the other hand, it cannot be forgotten the international guidance of the United Nations Organization for the Place Names Normalization and of the Minority Group Names of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names and some other state rules.

Intangible heritage

The Act 10/2015 of 26 May for the preservation of the intangible cultural heritage, at the request of Galician Government and Royal Galician Academy, included the recognition and protection of “traditional place names as a tool for the establishment of the geographical designation of territories”.