Leonese people

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Leonese People
Total population
approx. more than 1 million people worldwide[citation needed]
Regions with significant populations
Spanish (majority), Leonese (minority), Mirandese (minority in Portugal).
Roman Catholicism, Atheism, Agnosticism
Related ethnic groups
Asturians, Castilians, other Spanish peoples, Portuguese

The Leonese (Leonese: Llïoneses; Spanish: Leoneses) are the inhabitants of León whose homeland is the former Kingdom of León.

The Leonese Kingdom was an independent kingdom in the Middle Ages, keeping its status as a kingdom under the Spanish rule[citation needed] until the 1833 territorial division of Spain. The languages of the Leonese people are Leonese and Spanish in Spain, and Mirandese (Leonese) and Portuguese in Portugal.

Geography and demographics

Political and administrative divisions

  • Spain

The former Kingdom of León was divided into three historical regions: Asturias, León, and Extremadura, with the eastern territories into Castile. The Spanish division of 1833[1] recognised as Leonese the provinces of León, Salamanca, and Zamora. They are now part of Castile and León.

  • Portugal

There are Leonese minorities in the District of Bragança that maintain Leonese culture and Leonese language, mainly in the northwest (Riodonor, Guadramil) and in the Land of Miranda, where a Leonese dialect known as Mirandês[2] was officially recognized by the Parliament of Portugal.

Leonese language

The Leonese language (Llingua Llïonesa in Leonese) developed from Vulgar Latin.

Leonese was the official language of the Leonese Kingdom in the Middle Ages.The first written text in Leonese was Nodicia de Kesos (959 or 974), and other old texts include Fueru de Llión, Fueru de Salamanca, Fueru Xulgu, Códice d'Alfonsu XI, Disputa d'Elena y María, and Llibru d'Alixandre[3]

Its precarious situation as a minority language has driven Leonese to near extinction; it is considered a seriously endangered language by UNESCO.[4]

Leonese cuisine


  • Cecina from León: from beef. In Leonese, cecina means "meat that has been salted and dried by means of air, sun or smoke". Cecina de León is made of the hind legs of beef, salted, smoked and air-dried in the province of León in Northwestern Spain, and has PGI status.
  • Botillo: from pig. Traditionally made in the western Leonese regions. Botiellu, in Leonese language, is a dish of meat-stuffed pork intestine. It is a culinary specialty of El Bierzo, a county in the Spanish province of León and the region of Trás-os-Montes in Portugal where it is known as Botelo. This type of Embutido (Spanish) ou Enchido (Portuguese) is a meat product made from different pieces left over from the butchering of a pig, including the ribs, tail, and bones with a little meat left on them. These are chopped; seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and other spices; stuffed in the cecum of the pig; and partly cured via smoking. It can also include the pig's tongue, shoulder blade, jaw, and backbone, but may never exceed 20% of the total volume. It is normally consumed cooked and covered with a sheet. Also has a PGI status.
  • Farinato


  • Bierzo: is in the west of the Province of León and covers about 3,000 km2 (1,200 sq mi). The area consists of numerous small valleys in the mountainous part (Alto Bierzo) and of a wide, flat plain (Bajo Bierzo). The DO covers 23 municipalities.
  • Tierras de León: is in the southeast of the Province of León.
  • Toro: is in the east of the Province of Zamora.
  • Arribes: is in the southeast of the Province of Zamora and the northwest of the Province of Salamanca. There are 750 ha of vineyards registered with the Consejo Regulador (Governing Body)


  • Mantecadas de Astorga
  • Hojaldres de Astorga
  • Lazos de San Guillermo
  • Nicanores de Boñar


The majority of Leonese are Roman Catholic.

TLD Campaign

PuntuLLI Association[5] fights for a Top Level Domain for the Leonese language and culture.

See also

External links


  1. Real Decreto de 30 de noviembre de 1833
  2. [1]
  3. Menéndez Pidal, R. "El Dialecto Leonés". Madrid. 1906
  4. UNESCO Red Book on Endangered Languages: Europe
  5. listed by cityTLD as a Top Level Domain initiative