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[a] and cliffs. The climate of Galicia is usually temperate and rainy, with markedly drier summers; it is usually classified as Oceanic. Its topographic and climatic conditions have made animal husbandry and farming the primary source of Galicia's wealth for most of its history, allowing for a relative high density of population. With the exception of shipbuilding and food processing, Galicia was based on a farming and fishing economy until after the mid-20th century, when it began to industrialize. In 2012, the gross domestic product at purchasing power parity was €56,000 million, with a nominal GDP per capita of €20,700. The population is largely concentrated in two main areas: from Ferrol to A Coruña in the northern coast, and in the Rías Baixas region in the southwest, including the cities of Vigo, Pontevedra, and the interior city of Santiago de Compostela. 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. 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. 56% of the Galician population speak Galician as their first language, while 43% speak more in Castilian.
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 Καλλαϊκoί (Kallaïkoí) in Greek. These Callaeci were the first tribe in the area to help the Lusitanians against the invading Romans. 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. In the 21st century, some scholars have derived the name of the ancient Callaeci either from Proto-Indo-European *kal-n-eH2 'hill', through a local relational suffix -aik-, so meaning 'the hill (people)'; or either from Proto-Celtic *kallī- 'forest', so meaning 'the forest (people)'. In any case, Galicia, being per se a derivation of the ethnic name Kallaikói, means 'the land of the Galicians'.
The most recent proposal comes from linguist Francesco Benozzo after identifying the root gall- / kall- in a number of Celtic words with the meaning "stone" or "rock", as follows: gall (old Irish), gal (Middle Welsh), gailleichan (Scottish Gaelic), kailhoù (Breton), galagh (Manx) and gall (Gaulish). Hence, Benozzo explains the ethnonym Callaeci as being "the stone people" or "the people of the stone" ("those who work with stones"), in reference to the builders of the ancient megaliths and stone formations so common in Galicia.
The name evolved during the Middle Ages from Gallaecia, sometimes written Galletia, to Gallicia. In the 13th century, with the written emergence of the Galician language, Galiza became the most usual written form of the name of the country, being replaced during the 15th and 16th centuries by the current form, Galicia. This coincides with the spelling of the Castilian Spanish name. The historical denomination Galiza became popular again during the end of the 19th and the first three-quarters of the 20th century, and is still used with some frequency today. The Xunta de Galicia, the local devolved government, uses Galicia. The Royal Galician Academy, the institution responsible for regulating the Galician language, whilst recognizing Galiza as a legitimate current denomination, has stated that the only official name of the country is Galicia.