The Celts were spread throughout a vast territory, and it is of particular interest to a lot of people which countries they hailed from. It is of historical significance but also useful information to have when it comes to learning about the Celts, whether as a language or a culture. That said, do note that Celtic was not an empire, but rather a culture. Keep that in mind as you read through more about the Celts. The name is said to have come from the Greek word ‘Keltoi’ that was referencing the people who lived in Northern Europe and who were considered barbaric. That was in 7th century BC.
Before we get into the various Celtic countries, it helps to understand what we mean when we say the Celts. The Celts are Indo-European people know for their use of Celtic languages and also having similar cultures. When we talk about Celtic languages, we are referring to a group of languages related to each other. They are historically known to be from the Proto-Celtic group who is a branch of the Indo-European family of languages.
The world “Celtic” first came into existence in 1707, but the Celtic languages got spoken as far back as 1000BC. Currently, from the group of languages, there are four living languages, that is Scottish Gaelic, Irish, Breton, and Welsh. Previously, the Celts were spread around Europe and also the Asian Minor. Those areas are now Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Chubut Province, Nova Scotia, Brittany, and the Isle of Man.
Let’s now into all the eight Celtic countries.
The Celtic came into Ireland at the end of the Bronze Age, which is about 500BCE. It started in the Alps in central Europe, with the culture spreading to modern-day France and Germany. It is said to have gone as far as the Balkans and even into Turkey. Within several hundred years, the Celts had taken over and succeeded in the Bronze Age. The Celts were not only in Ireland but also in modern-day Britain. They referred to the areas as the Pretanic Islands.
It is worth noting that the Irish settled in Ireland during the Stone Age, which was about 10,000 ago. There has been evidence of the same found. Therefore, the Celtic culture found the Irish people already settled in the area. That is to say that Irish were Irish before the influence of the Celtic culture came around, and there is evidence that shows there is a distinction between the two cultures. In total, there were two waves of settlers in Ireland, one in the Stone Age and others in the Bronze Age. However, those who currently live in Ireland are genetically related to those who came about 500BCE. By the coming of Christianity in 5th century AD, the Celtic language was spoken all over Ireland.
The Scottish people are an ethnic group native to Scotland. They are said to have, historically, emerged from a marriage between two Celtic-speaking groups. These are the Gaels and the Picts, and together, they founded the Kingdom of Scotland in the 9th century. It was not only the Celts who were part of the Scottish nation. There were also Cumbrians (who were Celtic speakers), Anglo- Saxons and the Norse. “Scoti” is the Latin origin of the Scottish people, though the name was initially used to refer to the Celtic-Gaels.
Isle of Man
The other place where Celtic culture existed. They were located in the north Irish Sea that is off northwestern Europe. The land was also referred to as Mannin with was surrounded, with Scotland to the north, Ireland to the left, England to the right, and Wales to the south. The name of the people that come from this island is known as the Manx. It is said that the Vikings arrived at the Isle of Man during 800AD. The language spoken by the Celts at that time was the Gaelic language.
The Celts came to Wales about 1,000BC, having first settled in England before moving northwards and all around then as the centuries passed. By about 500 and 100 BC, they were fully settled. It is worth noting that even now, in Wales, the Welsh language is part of the core curriculum. That means that the Welsh language, which was part of the Celtic languages, is still alive and being used.
Cornish people are native to the Celtic native group. They are currently recognized as a national minority in the UK. There is an awakening of the Celtic culture in the area, with more recognition coming from the government to the extent that the culture has been accorded protection. The name Cornwall and Cornish come from the Celtic tribe of Cornovii. Overall, the Cornish are more related to the Welsh than the English. Another interesting fact is that data shows that the Cornish have the most distinct genetic group in Britain compared to other Celtic cultures.
Britany is also one of the Celtic groups in terms of ethnicity. They are called the Bretons, and they are said to have migrated from southeastern Great Britain, that is, from Cornwall and Devon. It is for that reason that the language is closely related to Cornish than Welsh. It is worth noting that currently, a majority of the Bretons are members of the Catholic Church. Both believers and non-believers have great respect for Christianity as it is viewed as part of the Breton culture and heritage.
Galicia has strong roots in the north-western region of Spain, and in some cases, it is said their roots go as far back as the Neolithic era into the Bronze Age. Even now, they modern-day Galicia has strong links to the Celtic roots. In the area of Galicia, there are tons of evidence of the exitance of Celtic culture over the centuries, from what has been excavated and the monuments that still stand.
This last nation hailed from northern Spain, and there has been a revival in the past almost 40 years to relearn the language. There are also more people embracing aspects of the culture, including the music as well. The Asturias people have been in the area since the Stone Age, and the culture known to have actively developed during the Mesolithic period. There is still a lot of history and culture in the area, so it would be worth visiting to learn more as well.
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