Catalonia has been part of Spain since its genesis in the 15th century, when King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile married and united their realms.

The area first emerged as a distinct entity with the rise of the County of Barcelona to pre-eminence in the 11th century. In the 12th century, the county was brought under the same royal rule as the neighbouring kingdom of Aragon, going on to become a major medieval sea power.

Initially retaining its own institutions, the region was ever more tightly integrated into the Spanish state, until the 19th century ushered in a renewed sense of Catalan identity, which flowed into a campaign for political autonomy and even separatism. The period also saw an effort to revive Catalan, long in decline by then, as a language of literature.

The Catalan region has long been the industrial heartland of Spain – first for its maritime power and trade in goods such as textiles, but recently for finance, services and hi-tech companies.

It is one of the wealthiest regions of Spain - it accounts for 19 per cent of Spain’s GDP, equal with the Madrid region. Madrid, however, has a higher per capita GDP, as do the Basque Country and Navarre regions.

Learn more about Catalonia by reading the following articles dedicated to the region:

BBC - Catalonia region profile

The Telegraph - Why does Catalonia want independence from Spain?

Tags: cataloniaspain 
Wednesday, October 11 2017

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