For GallopingCamel, since the “other” posting is a bit depressing and this is a Friday…
By an odd quirk of the US law / bureaucratic ruling, and a close reading of history, it looks like I’m legally Hispanic. Who knew?
Here, all these years, I thought I was a mix of Celtic, German, and Viking (with a tiny bit of French – but they are largely Celts and Germans too, with a bit of Roman cultural overlay).
So how does this all work?
Let’s start with what the USA says it takes to be Hispanic.
The U.S. Office of Management and Budget currently defines “Hispanic or Latino” as “a person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race“. The 2010 Census asked if the person was “Spanish/Hispanic/Latino”.
“The terms “Hispanic” or “Latino” refer to persons who trace their origin or descent to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Spanish speaking Central and South America countries, and other Spanish cultures. Origin can be considered as the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of the person or the person’s parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States. People who identify their origin as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.”
So my “ancestors” need to have come from the area of Spain today. OK…
The U.S. Department of Transportation defines Hispanic as, “persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central or South American, or others Spanish or Portuguese culture or origin, regardless of race.” This definition has been adopted by the Small Business Administration as well as by many federal, state, and municipal agencies for the purposes of awarding government contracts to minority owned businesses. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Conference include representatives of Spanish and Portuguese descent. The Hispanic Society of America is dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of Spain, Portugal, and Latin America. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, proclaimed champions of Hispanic success in higher education, is committed to Hispanic educational success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain, and Portugal.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission encourages any individual who believes that he or she is Hispanic to self-identify as Hispanic. The United States Department of Labor – Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs encourages the same self-identification. As a result, any individual who traces his or her origins to part of the Spanish Empire or Portuguese Empire may self-identify as Hispanic, because an employer may not override an individual’s self-identification.
How about where “Spanish” and “Hispanic” as a word comes from?
Hispania was the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula. Under the Republic, Hispania was divided into two provinces: Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior.
So again, we come back to the Iberian Peninsula. Some definitions of Hispanic include Portuguese in them. The whole of the Iberian Peninsula. Note that “Iberia” and “Hibernia” have a certain similarity…
Further down, among other suggested origins, we have:
…it is of Iberian derivation and that it is to be found in the pre-Roman name for Seville, Hispalis, which strongly hints at an ancient name for the country of *Hispa, an Iberian or Celtic root whose meaning is now lost.
Well… Hard to argue that a Celt can’t be “Hispanic” when the word itself may trace back to Celts in Iberia…
From Diocletian’s Tetrarchy (AD 284) onwards, the south of remaining Tarraconensis was again split off as Carthaginensis, and probably then too the Balearic Islands and all the resulting provinces formed one civil diocese under the vicarius for the Hispaniae (that is, the Celtic provinces). The name, Hispania, was also used in the period of Visigothic rule. The modern name Spain derives from Hispania.
And, in particular, for the Celtic provinces.
I’d also note that Spanish has a fair number of words left over from the Celtic, prior to Roman domination.
But that migration of Iberian, Hispanic, Celts to Ireland was a bit early wasn’t it? Any indications that Ireland was still thought of as ‘kin’ a bit later?
Relations between Ireland and the Iberian Peninsula have their roots deep in the mists of myth and history. According to the Irish Leabhar Gabhála (book of invasions), the last wave of settlers to arrive in Ireland came from the Iberian Peninsula. During the middle ages, trade and fishing created strong links between Ireland and the Peninsula. Foreign fishing vessels working in the fishing grounds of Grand Sol docked in Spanish ports for some months every year. For example, in 1571 around eighteen chalupas (fishing boats) from Gijón, Ribadesella and Llanos worked in Irish fishing grounds (Gomez-Centurión 1988).
That’s 5th to 15th Century. 400 to 1499 A.D. This wiki puts the formation of Spain, and the arrival of Kings (so Spanish Kingdoms) as about that same time.
The breakup of Al-Andalus into the competing taifa kingdoms helped the long embattled Iberian Christian kingdoms gain the initiative. The capture of the strategically central city of Toledo in 1085 marked a significant shift in the balance of power in favour of the Christian kingdoms. Following a great Muslim resurgence in the 12th century, the great Moorish strongholds in the south fell to Christian Spain in the 13th century—Córdoba in 1236 and Seville in 1248—leaving only the Muslim enclave of Granada as a tributary state in the south.
In the 13th and 14th centuries, the Marinids Muslim sect based in North Africa invaded and established some enclaves on the southern coast but failed in their attempt to re-establish Muslim rule in Iberia and were soon driven out. The 13th century also witnessed the Crown of Aragon, centred in Spain’s north east, expand its reach across islands in the Mediterranean, to Sicily and even Athens. Around this time the universities of Palencia (1212/1263) and Salamanca (1218/1254) were established. The Black Death of 1348 and 1349 devastated Spain.
In 1469, the crowns of the Christian kingdoms of Castile and Aragon were united by the marriage of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. 1478 commenced the completion of the conquest of the Canary Islands and in 1492, the combined forces of Castile and Aragon captured the Emirate of Granada, ending the last remnant of a 781-year presence of Islamic rule in Iberia. The Treaty of Granada guaranteed religious tolerance toward Muslims. The year 1492 also marked the arrival in the New World of Christopher Columbus, during a voyage funded by Isabel.
So, while all that was going on, some Iberians / Hispanics were booking it out over to Ireland. My Ancestors. ( I didn’t see any ‘time limit’ on that “ancestor” reverence in the US requirements…)
Back at that “Irish” link:
During the sixteenth century, Irish-Iberian connections took on a religious and political dimension. The first diplomatic contacts and treaties between the Irish nobility and the empire of Charles V date back to 1529. Iberian political involvement in Ireland increased progressively from the 1520s to the 1640s. The myth of the Iberian origin of the inhabitants of Ireland (the ‘Milesian myth’), a sense of solidarity based on Catholicism and the services rendered by the Irish in the armies of Spain, together with a strong campaign of cultural reinvention and projection carried on by the Irish with the Spanish Monarchy, convinced the kings of their duty to protect and defend the Irish.
OK, despite them calling the Milesian history a “myth”, it IS the history of the Irish. Also note that here we have the Irish fighting in the Kings Army and we have the Kings of Spain “defending” the Irish. Looks to me like if you are fighting in the armys of the Spanish Kings and being defended by them, and derived from them, well, that sure looks like it makes you are part of the Spanish Empire…
But just a bit later, the English overrun the place. Still, some Irish manage an independent living under the continued protection of the Kings:
Parallel to the profound transformation that the English state wrought in Ireland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a strong Irish community flourished in the territories of the Spanish Monarchy, mainly Castile, Portugal and the so-called Spanish Netherlands.
These folks are well aware that they’re “kin”.
Although the Spanish political role in Ireland was overshadowed by France’s influence and the stronger English and Scottish authority on the island from the 1650s onwards, the eighteenth century might be considered the golden age of the Irish presence on the Iberian Peninsula. Starting with Daniel O’Daly (1592-1662) as one of the diplomatic cornerstones of the Portuguese Crown during its war of independence from Spain (1640-1668) until the era of Leopoldo O’Donnell (1809-1867), military commander, political leader and prime minister, both Portugal and Spain boasted high-ranking diplomats, military men and politicians of Irish origin at their service.
On the other hand, Irish merchants benefited from the full rights of Spanish citizenship, confirmed by the new Bourbon dynasty in 1701, in order to boost their trade. The most famous son of this trading aristocracy was the writer, poet and theologian José Blanco White (1775-1841) who in his writings refers to Lower Andalusia, the hub of Spanish intercontinental trade where he grew up. On this issue, Manuel Fernández Chaves and Mercedes Gamero present the unknown business and social context of the Irish community in eighteenth-century Seville.
So these two “people” have been sharing and mixing for a very long time, and up to fairly recently…
Here’s a Spanish piper from Galicia, a province of Spain just north of Portugal. Galicia echoing the Gael history.
Susana Seivana is a Galician playing the local pipes.
It is worth noting that the language of Galicia is closely related to Portuguese, implying a fair Celtic thread in Portugal too.
Back at the Origins
So that “origin myth”, it has some interesting early statements (that have odd ‘echoes’ in the structure of the language), but then much more recently has what is pretty clearly ‘history’ in it.
The Lebor Gabála (Book of Invasions — probably first written in the second half of the 11th century AD) describes the origin of the Gaelic people. They descended from Goídel Glas, a Scythian who was present at the fall of the Tower of Babel, and Scota, a daughter of a pharaoh of Egypt. Two branches of their descendants left Egypt and Scythia at the time of the Exodus of Moses, and after a period of wandering the shores of the Mediterranean (including sustained settlements at Miletus and Zancle) arrived in the Iberian Peninsula, where they settled after several battles.
Miletus is also known as Greek Ionia (now in Turkey) while Zancle is now known as Messina, in Sicily.
We’ve already seen that the Celts look to have originated over in the area of Turkey / Scythia / North Italy (eventually moving up into the Austria area). We also know that the language has some odd ‘Semitic / Hamitic’ echos in it. (Things like starting with the verb. VSO is not a common IndoEuropean structure.) We’ve also seen that Celts were known to have been hanging out in Egypt and fighting as a mercenary army for Pharaoh. I don’t see a whole lot of reason to call that “myth” as there are no ‘facts on the ground’ to deny it, and several that support it. Embellished? Sure! But who doesn’t have a bit of ‘sellers puff’ in their history? ;-)
Yet all that is prior the the arrival in Iberia. It’s a known fact that Celts were in Iberia. It’s also pretty well attested that they came to Ireland from there. (Earlier archeological levels indicate a different genetics and material culture from Celts).
So what’s the story of arriving in Ireland from Iberia?
One of them, Breogán, built a tower at a place called Brigantia (probably in the coast of Galicia, near A Coruña (Corunna), which was then “Brigantia” (today Betanzos) and where a Celtic tribe called “Brigantes” is attested in ancient times — see Tower of Hercules) from the top of which he, or his son Íth, first saw Ireland.
Íth made the first expedition to Ireland, but was killed by the three kings of Ireland, Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht, and Mac Gréine of the Tuatha Dé Danann. In revenge the eight sons of Íth’s brother Míl Espáine (the “Soldier of Hispania”, whose given name was Golam), led an invasion force to defeat the Tuatha Dé and conquer Ireland. The sons of Míl landed in County Kerry and fought their way to Tara. On the way, the wives of the three kings, Ériu, Banba, and Fodla requested that the island be named after them: Ériu is the earlier form of the modern name Éire, and Banba and Fodla were often used as poetic names for Ireland, much as Albion is for Great Britain.
Seems pretty clear to me that the Irish know they came from Iberia. But that’s a myth, right? What do the folks calling it myth say is the origin?
In the historical scheme proposed by T. F. O’Rahilly the descent of the kings of Ireland from the sons of Míl is a fiction intended to provide legitimacy for the Goidels, who invaded Ireland in the 1st or 2nd century BC, giving them the same ancient origin as the indigenous peoples they dominated. However, it has been argued that the story is a much later invention of mediæval Irish historians, inspired by their knowledge of the Seven Books of History Against the Pagans, written by the early 5th century Gallaecian cleric, Paulus Orosius. See also Early history of Ireland.
Goidels is the same as Gaels.
The Gaels or Goidels are speakers of one of the Goidelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx. Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to western and northern Scotland and the Isle of Man.
The Gaels, during the beginning of the Christian era, believed themselves to be descendants of the Milesians – the sons of Míl Espáine. Much of this is covered in the Lebor Gabála Érenn, which catalogues the Milesian invasion of Ireland from the Iberian Peninsula. While this account is mostly mythical, it may be an embellished version of actual historical events. Recent genetic studies by Brian Sykes of Oxford University suggest that these myths are based on historical facts since the people of northwestern Iberia, especially those from Galicia and Asturias are genetically closely related to the Gaels.
So either it is accurate, or it is embellished and pushed back in time a bit; but the folks (MY folks) still originated in Iberia. Genetics pretty much proves it.
And it is still going on today
The general mixing and acceptance of Spanish and Irish for each other has been going on ‘forever’, as we’re from the same roots. It continues to today. In an earlier posting about the missions, we saw that one of the noted trends was that Spanish in California often intermarried with Irish; having a lot in common in culture and religion. How about even more recently?
Quinn was born Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca in Chihuahua, Mexico, during the Mexican Revolution. His mother, Manuela “Nellie” Oaxaca, was of Aztec ancestry. His father, Francisco (Frank) Quinn, was also born in Mexico, to an Irish immigrant father from County Cork and a Mexican mother. Frank Quinn rode with Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, then later moved to Los Angeles and became an assistant cameraman at a movie studio.
So looks to me like it’s pretty cut and dried.
The Irish originated in Hispania. They served Spanish Kings, were protected by Spanish Kings, have a long tradition of being part of Spain, Hispania, and Iberia, and have a long history of “mingling” with folks from there. MY Ancestors came from Iberia (via a short oppression by English) via Ireland. Some got to Ireland early, some much later, at least into the 1700s, but in all cases Iberia and Ireland are ‘mixing’. The “rules” set out state that is all it takes, and I can ‘self identify’.
I am Hispanic.
I’d also suggest that all the other folks in America of Irish decent can also check the “Hispanic” check box on those “preference” forms. After all, history is on your side…
Besides, I really like carnitas burritos and tequila con cerveza “chaser”.. ;-)