Diego Antonio Cernadas y Castro

Pseudonym: O Cura de Fruíme
Category: Poet
Birth Date: 18th March 1702 (†in 1777)
Birth Place: Santiago de Compostela

The Club of Galician Journalists in Madrid will ask the Galician Academy to dedicate the Day of the Galician Letters in 2002 to Diego Antonio Cernadas y Castro, who was born three hundred years ago. The first official request to honour Cernadas in his third centenary was presented by the City Council of Lousame, since his remains rest in Fruíme. At that time he was also known as 'Cura de Fruíme'. To support this request, it is emphasized that Cernadas was a defender of the Galician language, Galicia and the Galician people, as well as a journalist. According to all the authors, Cernadas was the most outstanding literary figure in Galicia in the 17th century. It was then that the Galician emigration started and also the ridiculous image of the Galician people. Cernadas stayed in Galicia until his death in 1777 and always protested against all those jokes and scorns, which made him a very popular poet. When he died, his friends published seven volumes of 400 pages each with his works.

 Work & Activities

In his works, he also shows a great erudition answering against historical errors about Galicia in books of that time. Cernadas published every year 150 petition with the most outstanding events to collect money for his faithful. That's why his biographer, the journalist José Manuel Rivas Troitiño, considers him to be not only the precursor of the doctrine of Galician autonomy but also the first Galician journalist of the 17th century. Although most of his work is written in Castilian, Cernadas also wrote in Galician and justified its literary use in the famous ten-line stanzas for the Marchioness of Camarasa: "Co desexo de acordarvos / que en Galicia o seu funduxe / ten a vosa nobre fruxe / vou en Galego a falarvos. De esto non hay que estrañarvos. Antes ben, facendo gala / de esta Nación, estimala". Cernadas's work cannot be forgotten for his passionate defence of Galicia. Castelao includes him among the 'great sons' of Galicia and Otero Pedrayo called him 'o noso bardo nacional' ('Our national bard'). When Feijoó died, Cernadas wrote a memento in his memory devoted to his beloved Galician Nation ("a súa moi Nobre, Moi Respetable e Moi Amada Nai a Nación Galega").