With major demonstrations taking place in 2010 and 2012 the people of Catalonia have gained worldwide attention as their quest for independence continues. For many people not from Spain there is much confusion on this topic. Catalonia and the rest of Spain were joined in the matrimonial union almost 700 years ago and became a single state, losing its independent institutions and governance at the end of the War of Spanish Succession in 1714. Yet the demand for independence has never entirely abated. As a visitor to the region of Barcelona and Catalonia and understanding of this topic will help you avoid heated debates, especially when looking for short term flat rentals in Barcelona.
During the most recent global recession economics have played their part in raising the fervor of Catalan independence. Although Catalonia enjoys autonomous government within their region, they are still subject to the overall Federation of Spain, its laws and governance. Part of that includes richer portions of the country providing economic stimulus to poor areas of the country. As a net provider, Catalonia has given 8% of its GDP to the rest of Spain for almost 2 decades. As an independent state Catalonia could recover this 8% and put it to use within its own region for further economic development. Most Catalans can see themselves as a Denmark or Netherlands of the south of Europe having a strong economy with ties around the world as a separate state.
Another of the largest arguments includes the simple fact that Catalonia was a nation-state before Spain and should be so again. The area of Catalonia was part of the pre-Iberian Roman Empire under Visigoth rule, was briefly controlled by the Moors during the Muslim invasion of Hispania, but was quickly reconquered by the Frankish Empire between 760 and 801. The counties of Catalonia became an independent principality under the Count of Barcelona and under feudal obligation to the Crown of Aragon in 1137. During the Middle Ages the Crown of Aragon and the Catalonian culture dominated the Mediterranean trading empire, increasing its cultural influence and dominance in the region. In 1469 the crowns of Castile and Aragon were united in marriage and in 1516 the monarchies were formerly made into the Kingdom of Spain. This long-standing political history is used as a backdrop for the current independence push.
Another major issue pushing the envelope for independence is the ability to control and enhance Catalonian culture without Spanish oversight. Catalans pride themselves on their differences from Spanish culture including astronomy, language and other cultural or festival events such as bullfighting versus castellan towers. Although some of these differences are slight others are large and glaring and become issues of contention between Spaniards and Catalans. In order to foster and grow the Catalan culture they feel independence is needed.
Catalonia as a region within Spain is increasingly trying to develop its own state of economy including increasing language usage of Catalan, enhance and grow cultural differences and advocate for economic independence. In the 21st century it is hard to argue with the People’s right to self-determination, and most Catalans want the process done peacefully. Understanding these issues will help you avoid delicate situations or conversations as you search for short-term flat rentals in Barcelona.
If you have other reasons why Catalonia wants independence feel free to comment below.