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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.
The name Galicia derives from the Latin toponym Callaecia, later Gallaecia, related to the name of an ancient Celtic tribe that resided north of the Douro river, the Gallaeci or Callaeci in Latin, or These Callaeci were the first tribe in the area to help the Lusitanians against the invading Romans.
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.
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.