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This institution was forcibly discontinued in 1833 when the kingdom was divided into four administrative provinces with no legal mutual links.During the 19th and 20th centuries, demand grew for self-government and for the recognition of the culture of Galicia.

There are smaller populations around the interior cities of Lugo and Ourense.

The political capital is Santiago de Compostela, in the province of A Coruña.

The Romans applied their name to all the other tribes in the northwest who spoke the same language and lived the same life.

The etymology of the name has been studied since the 7th century by authors such as Isidore of Seville, who wrote that "Galicians are called so, because of their fair skin, as the Gauls", relating the name to the Greek word for milk.

Vigo, in the province of Pontevedra, is the most populous municipality, with 292,817 (2016), while A Coruña is the most populous city, with 215,227 (2014).

Two languages are official and widely used today in Galicia: the native Galician, a Romance language closely related to Portuguese, with which it shares Galician-Portuguese medieval literature, and the Spanish language, usually known locally as Castilian.

The oldest attestation of human presence in Galicia has been found in the Eirós Cave, in the municipality of Triacastela, which has preserved animal remains and Neanderthal stone objects from the Middle Paleolithic.

The earliest culture to have left significant architectural traces is the Megalithic culture, which expanded along the western European coasts during the Neolithic and Calcolithic eras.

The interior of Galicia is characterized by a hilly landscape; mountain ranges rise to 2,000 m (6,600 ft) in the east and south.

The coastal areas are mostly an alternate series of rías and cliffs.

The climate of Galicia is usually temperate and rainy, with markedly drier summers; it is usually classified as Oceanic.