circa 1500 - circa 1800. The Dark Centuries: The Silent Secret

Written Galician had disappeared before the middle of the 16th century through a combined process which displaced it in areas of public and formal communication, and through social marginalization. Until the middle of the 18th century, Galician was only written sporadically, and it rarely passed through the printing press: the first printed Galician text dates back to 1612 (Exequias da Raíña Margarida- The Funeral of Queen Margarida), there appeared a handful of ballads written in Galician (Fiestas Minervales, 1697) and published by the University of Santiago, towards the end of the 17th century. Both of the abovementioned cases are trilingual poetic collections (Latin, Spanish and Galician). In the middle of the 18th century, Martín Sarmiento (1696-1772) wrote a Colloquy in Galician stanzas (Coloquio en coplas galegas), compiled words and started a series of philological studies that turned him into the founder of Galician Philology and the forerunner of the demand for language rights.