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For complex reasons pertaining to the course of Spanish historiography throughout the twentieth century, the region of Galicia has been seen as politically peripheral to the initial stages of the Reconquista. In this article I argue that Galicia was a key marcher region in the ninth and tenth centuries, and that its magnate class, far from being marginal, was closely implicated in the rudimentary political structures of the kingdom. I propose that documents which seem to disclose little more than idealized abstractions of the political relationships between Astur-Leonese kings and Galician magnates reveal aspects of elite political practice in action.