The Fascinating History of Catalonia

Catalonia, located in Northeast Spain, was an independent region from Spain and Portugal back in 1150 with separate laws and a separate language. It strived for political independence from Spain.

In 1150, Petronilia, queen of Aragon, and Roman Berenguer, count of Barcelona, married, and later passed their dynasty to their son. The dynasty existed until King Philip V was defeated in the war of Spanish succession. First, Valencia was defeated, then Catalonia and other islands. Thanks to the defeat of Valencia, modern-day Spain was formed. The succeeding kings tried to keep the Spanish language and laws of the region because of Catalonia's separatism. Catalan general Francisco Franco took control of the region in 1938 killing 3,500 people and exiling many more. In 1977, Catalonia regained autonomy with a new democracy. In July 2010, the Constitutional Court in Madrid ruled that there were no laws showing Catalonia had to be under Spanish control. Since Barcelona supported the wealthiest part of Catalonia, the Spanish economic crisis increased Catalan desire for independence.

Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, leads the fifth-largest party in Catalonia, which strongly disagrees on independence from Spain. In September 2017, this party voted for independence for Catalonia, but Spain's constitutional court delayed efforts to gain Catalan’s independence. Spanish authorities tried to shut down the vote, and they created anger and danger for voters. Over a million votes were counted, with 90% agreeing on independence from Spain. Mr. Carlos Puigdemont president of Spain, says the votes show that Catalans want independence for Catalonia. He says he would like to work with the government in Madrid to plan the rules for breaking away from Spain.

Catalonia has a strong trade system and is known for its financial services, maritime, textile trade, and hi-tech companies. Catalonia is a wealthy region. The economy makes up 19% of Spain's gross domestic product (GDP). If it accomplishes independence Catalonia would have to pay back 52.5 billion euros of debt to Spain.

Not only are the Catalan politics, economics, and language unique from Spain but they also have one-of-a-kind chef’s cuisine and soccer rivalry existing between Barcelona and Real Madrid. This rivalry has the cities compete every year.

Even though Catalans voted for independence from Spain they are still a part of Spain, but Catalonia will still have its own language, laws, and customs.

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