The Asturians chose him as their king in 718, and although Galicia was lost in 734, the Moors proved unable to penetrate into the remoter fastnesses held by the levies of Pelayo.
After his death in 737,the Asturians continued to offer the same heroic resistance, and ultimately enabled the people of Galicia, Leon and Castile to recover their liberty.
Owing to their almost entire immunity from any alien domination except that of the Romans and Goths, the Asturians may perhaps be regarded as the purest representatives of the Iberian race; while their dialect (linguaje bable) is sometimes held to be closely akin to the parent speech from which modern Castilian is derived.
In physique, the Asturians are like the Galicians, a people of hardy mountaineers and fishermen, finely built, but rarely handsome, and with none of the grace of the Castilian or Andalusian.
Despite the harsh land-laws and grinding taxation which prevent them, with all their industry and thrift, from securing the freehold of the patch of ground cultivated by each peasant family, the Asturians regard themselves as the aristocracy of Spain.
One class of the Asturians deserving special mention is that of the nomad cattle-drovers known as Baqueros or Vaqueros, who tend their herds on the mountains of Leitariegos in summer, and along the coast in winter; forming a separate caste, with distinctive customs, and rarely or never intermarrying with their neighbours.
The Centro Asturiano, a club with a membership of some ten or fifteen thousand (not limited to Asturians), 1 Renamed Paseo de Marti by the republic, but the name is never used.
The peasantry, especially in the north, are closely akin to the Galician and Asturian Spaniards in character, physique and dialect; and these three ethnical groups - Portuguese of the north, Galicians, Asturians - may perhaps be regarded as the purest representatives of the Spanish stock.