Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Tonight I will be in Spain.  Well sort of.  It depends on whom you ask.  I'm headed to Barcelona, but Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia.

Catalonia is an autonomous region in the north-east part of the Iberian Peninsula.  It was once part of the Roman Empire.  Officially it is part of Spain.
The flag of Catalonia

Many Catalans see themselves as a nation without a country.  Under Franco's dictatorship, the region was oppressed from 1939 - 1975.  During this time the people were forbidden to speak Catalan because the government wanted to promote Castilian Spanish.

Since 1979, the region as obtained more autonomy from Madrid but many people want full independence.  Catalonia contains about 16% of Spain's population, contributes around 20% to Spanish GDP and accounts for 25% of Spain's total tax revenue.  However, in relation to what it contributes it receives little from Madrid for public investment.

Catalan Separatist Flag
Catalonia is roughly the same size as Switzerland (about twice the size of New Jersey).  Switzerland has 8 million people and Catalonia has around 7.5 million people.  So the argument goes that if Switzerland is able to function then Catalonia is viable as an independent country.

Given Spain's current economic problems I'm sure that the loss of Catalonia would be devastating.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, fascinating post. I didn't realize that this was another place that wanted to get smaller, rather than larger. This week my book club is discussing "Homage to Catalonia" though, so I hope to learn more. I've heard great things about the book, but then, I consider everything Orwell wrote as brilliant.