Catalan History

Catalan History

Violeta Roca, Staff writer

I am sure some of you know about Barcelona, but do you really know about the big city of Catalonia? This is where I am from. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, and Catalonia is part of Spain, but it hasn’t always been like this. Catalonia has a very unstable history and catalans continuous fighting for the independence.

Catalonia is a millennial country, inhabited since the prehistoric era, where Greeks, Iberians, Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths, and Muslim peoples have left their mark on our culture and way of being. In the Middle Ages, it was a great power in the Mediterranean and dominated the commerce and politics of the entire area (it was part of France, Italy, Greece and Spain). It was a country with its own government, institutions, and laws. It also had a great cultural wealth until 1714 when King Philip V defeated Barcelona on September 11 in the War of Succession and Catalonia lost everything. All political institutions were abolished, and the use of the Catalan language was prohibited. Since then, Catalonia had become part of Spain. However, Catalonia managed to reconstruct economically, politically, and culturally, and reached the beginning of the 20th century as a very rich region, but the Civil War of 1936 and the victory of General Franco led to a dictatorship in which all signs of Catalan identity, institutions, and language were prohibited again.

A new persecution against the Catalan culture began. Thousands of Catalans had to exile, and for 40 years the Catalan people suffered the worst persecution that is remembered. In spite of everything the Catalan culture subsisted. With the arrival of democracy in 1975, after the death of General Franco, the institution of the Generalitat (government of Catalonia) and its Parliament were restored and a slow recovery process began, full of difficulties due to centralism of the Spanish State and its economic downturn. Today, Catalonia fights for its independence.

One of the different features of the Catalans is their language. In Catalonia we speak Catalan; however, all the people know Catalan and Spanish. In the school, the language used in all the classes is Catalan, and then there is a Spanish class and an English class. You can choose if you want to study French.