Intellectually, Catalan nationalism can be said to have commenced as a political philosophy in the unsuccessful attempts to establish a federal state in Spain in the context of the First Republic. Valentí Almirall i Llozer and other intellectuals that participated in this process set up a new political ideology in the 19th century, to restore self-government, as well as to obtain recognition for the Catalan language. These demands were summarized in the so-called Bases de Manresa in 1892.
It met very little support at first. But after the Spanish–American War in which the United States invaded and annexed the last of the Spanish colonies, these early stages of Catalanism grew in support, mostly because of the weakened Spanish international position after the war and the loss of the two main destinations for Catalan exports (Cuba and Puerto Rico).
Being a broad movement, it can be found in several manifestations in the current political scene. Most of the main Catalan political parties—Catalan European Democratic Party (PDECAT), Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), Socialists' Party of Catalonia (PSC), En Comú Podem (ECP) and Popular Unity Candidature (CUP)—adhere to Catalanism to varying degrees.
The scope of their national objectives diverges. While some restrict them to Catalonia-proper alone, others seek the acknowledgment of the political personality of the so-called Catalan Countries, the Catalan-speaking territories as a whole. Such claims, which can be seen as a form of Pan-nationalism, can be read in official documents of CiU, ERC  and Popular Unity Candidates (CUP). Besides Catalonia, the main Catalan-speaking regions have their own nationalist parties and coalitions which support, to varying degrees, the demands for the building of a national identity for the Catalan Countries: Valencian Nationalist Bloc (BNV) in the Valencian Community, Bloc Nacional i d'Esquerres, PSM and Majorcan Union (UM) in the Balearic Islands. Other nationalist parties have existed with additional affiliations such as PSC - Reagrupament whose leader Josep Pallach i Carolà died in 1977.
The two main Catalan nationalist parties have shown their commitment to the idea of the Catalan Countries in different ways and with different intensities. For CiU, this issue is not among the main items in their agenda. Nevertheless, the CiU has enjoyed a long term collaboration with the Valencian party BNV and with the Majorcan parties UM and the Socialist Party of Majorca (PSM). In contrast, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) has taken more substantial steps in that direction by expanding the party to Roussillon, Balearic Islands and—as Republican Left of the Valencian Country (ERPV)—the Valencian Community.
During the first centuries of the Reconquista, the Franks drove the Muslims south of the Pyrenees. To prevent future incursions, Charlemagne created the Marca Hispanica in 790 CE, which consisted of a series of petty kingdoms serving as buffer states between the Frankish kingdom and Al-Andalus.
Between 878 and 988 CE, the area became a hotbed of Frankish-Muslim conflict. However, as the Frankish monarchy and the Caliphate of Córdoba both weakened during the 11th century, the resulting impasse allowed for a process of consolidation throughout the region's many earldoms, resulting in their combination into the County of Barcelona, which became the embryo of today's Catalonia. By 1070, Ramon Berenguer I, Count of Barcelona, had subordinated other Catalan Counts and intransigent nobles as vassals. His action brought peace to a turbulent feudal system and sowed the seeds of Catalan identity.
According to several scholars, the term "Catalan" and "Catalonia" emerged near the end of the 11th century and appeared in the Usatges of 1150. Two factors fostered this identity: stable institutions and cultural prosperity. While the temporary lack of foreign invasions contributed to Catalonia's stability, it was not a major cause. Rather, it provided a zone for sociopolitical development. For example, after the County of Barcelona signed an agreement with the Kingdom of Aragon, to create the Crown of Aragon in 1137 through a dynastic union, the system was designed to mutually check both the king's and the nobility's powers, while the small but growing numbers of free citizens and bourgeoisie would tactically take sides with the king in order to diminish typically feudal institutions.
By 1150, the king approved a series of pacts, called the Usatges, which "explicitly acknowledged legal equality between burghers … and nobility" (Woolard 17). In addition, the Aragonese gentry established the Corts, a representative body of nobles, bishops, and abbots that counterbalanced the King's authority. By the end of the 13th century, "the monarch needed the consent of the Corts to approve laws or collect revenue" (McRoberts 10). Soon after, the Corts elected a standing body called the Diputació del General or the Generalitat, which included the rising upper bourgeoisie. The first Catalan constitutions were promulgated by the Corts of Barcelona in 1283, following the Roman tradition of the Codex.
In the 13th century, King James I of Aragon conquered the Valencia and the Balearic Islands. Subsequent conquests expanded into the Mediterranean, reaching Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily, Naples and Greece, so by 1350 the Crown of Aragon "presided over one of the most extensive and powerful mercantile empires of the Mediterranean during this period" (Woolard 16). Catalonia's economic success formed a powerful merchant class, which wielded the Corts as its political weapon. It also produced a smaller middle class, or menestralia, that was "composed of artisans, shopkeepers and workshop owners" (McRoberts 11).
Over the 13th and 14th centuries, these merchants accrued so much wealth and political sway that they were able to place a significant check on the power of the Aragonese crown. By the 15th century the Aragonese monarch "was not considered legitimate until he had sworn to respect the basic law of the land in the presence of the Corts" (Balcells 9). This balance of power is a classic example of pactisme, or contractualism, which seems to be a defining feature of the Catalan political culture.
Along with political and economic success, Catalan culture flourished in the 13th and 14th centuries. During this period, the Catalan vernacular gradually replaced Latin as the language of culture and government. Scholars rewrote everything from ancient Visigothic law to religious sermons in Catalan (Woolard 14). Wealthy citizens bolstered Catalan's literary appeal through poetry contests and history pageants dubbed the Jocs Florals, or "Floral Games." As the kingdom expanded southeast into Valencia and the Mediterranean, the Catalan language followed.
The medieval heyday of Catalan culture would not last, however. After a bout of famine and plague hit Catalonia in the mid-14th century, the population dropped from 500,000 to 200,000 (McRoberts 13). This exacerbated feudal tensions, sparking serf revolts in rural areas and political impasses in Barcelona. Financial issues and the burden of multiple dependencies abroad further strained the region.
In 1410, the king died without leaving an heir to the throne. Finding no legitimate alternative, leaders of the realms composing the Crown of Aragon agreed by means of the Compromise of Caspe that the vacant throne should go to the Castilian Ferdinand I, as he was among the nearest relatives of the recently extinguished House of Barcelona through a maternal line. The new dynasty began to assert the authority of the Crown, leading to a perception among the nobility that their traditional privileges associated with their position in society were at risk. From 1458 to 1479, civil wars between King John II and local chieftains engulfed Catalonia.
During the conflict, John II, in the face of French aggression in the Pyrenees "had his heir Ferdinand married to Isabella I of Castile, the heiress to the Castilian throne, in a bid to find outside allies" (Balcells 11). Their dynastic union, which came to be known as the Catholic Monarchs, marked the de facto unification of the Kingdom of Spain. At that point, however, de jure both the Castile and the Crown of Aragon remained distinct territories, each keeping its own traditional institutions, parliaments and laws. This was a common practice at this time in Western Europe as the concept of sovereignty lay with the monarch.
With the dawn of the Age of Discovery, led by the Portuguese, the importance of the Aragonese possessions in the Mediterranean became drastically reduced and, alongside the rise of Barbary pirates predating commerce in the Mediterranean, the theatre of European power shifted from the Mediterranean basin to the Atlantic Ocean. These political and economic restrictions impacted all segments of society. Also, because of locally bred social conflicts, Catalonia squandered in one century most of what it had gained in political rights between 1070 and 1410.
Nevertheless, early political, economic and cultural advances gave Catalonia "a mode of organization and an awareness of its own identity which might in some ways be described as national, though the idea of popular or national sovereignty did not yet exist" (Balcells 9). Other scholars like Kenneth McRoberts and Katheryn Woolard hold similar views. Both support Pierre Vilar, who contends that in 13th and 14th centuries "the Catalan principality was perhaps the European country to which it would be the least inexact or risky to use such seemingly anachronistic terms as political and economic imperialism or ‘nation-state’" (McRoberts 13). In other words, an array of political and cultural forces laid the foundations of Catalan "national" identity.
Llobera agrees with this opinion, saying, "By the mid-thirteenth century, the first solid manifestations of national consciousness can be observed." Indeed, 13th- and 14th-century Catalonia did exhibit features of a nation-state. The role of Catalan Counts, the Corts, Mediterranean rule and economic prosperity support this thesis. But as Vilar points out, these analogies are only true if we acknowledge that a 14th-century nation-state is anachronistic. In other words, those living in Catalonia before latter day nationalism possessed something like a collective identity on which this was to be based, but this does not automatically equate to the modern concept of nation, neither in Catalonia nor elsewhere in similar circumstances during the Middle Ages.
The Corts and the rest of the autochthonous legal and political organization were finally terminated in 1716, as a result of the War of the Spanish Succession. The local population mostly took sides and provided troops and resources for Archduke Charles, the pretender, who was arguably expected to maintain the legal status quo. His utter defeat meant the legal and political termination of the autonomous parliaments in the Crown of Aragon, as the Nueva Planta decrees were passed and King Philip V of Spain of the new House of Bourbon sealed the transformation of Spain from a de facto unified realm into a de jure centralized state.
The Renaixença ("rebirth" or "renaissance") was a cultural, historical and literary movement that pursued, in the wake of European Romanticism, the recovery of the Catalans' own language and literature after a century of repression and radical political and economical changes. As time went by, and particularly immediately after the fiasco of the Revolution of 1868 (led by the Catalan general Juan Prim) and the subsequent fail of the First Spanish Republic (1873–1874), which many Catalans expected an instauration of a federal republic, the movement acquired a clear political character, directed to the attainment of self-government for Catalonia within the framework of the Spanish liberal state.
Like most Romantic currents, the Renaixença gave historical analysis a central role. History, in fact, was an integral part of Catalonia's "rebirth." Texts on Catalonia's history — inspired by the Romantic philosophy of history — laid the foundations of a Catalanist movement. Works like Valentí Almirall i Llozer's Lo Catalanisme, Victor Balaguer's Historia de Cataluña y de la Corona de Aragón and Prat de la Riba's La nacionalitat catalana used history as evidence for Catalonia's nationhood. According to Elie Kedourie, such claims were common in 19th century nationalist discourse because "the ‘past’ is used to explain the ‘present,’ to give it meaning and legitimacy. The ‘past’ reveals one's identity, and history determines one's role in the drama of human development and progress" (36). Publications of histories thus "explained" why the Catalans constituted a nation instead of a Spanish region or coastal province.
At the heart of many of the works of the Renaixença lay a powerful idea: the Volk. Indeed, the concept of Volk (pl. Völker) played a vital role in mainstream Catalan Romantic nationalism. It has its origins in the writings of German Romantics like Friedrich Carl von Savigny, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and, most notably, Johann Gottfried Herder.
The concept of Volk entered Catalan intellectual circles in the 1830s, stemming from the emphasis on the region's medieval history and philology. It first appeared in the writings of Juan Cortada (1805-1868), Marti d'Eixalà (1807-1857) and his discipline, Francesco Javier Llorens y Barba, intellectuals who reinvigorated the literature on the Catalan national character. Inspired by the ideas of Herder, Savigny and the entire Scottish School of Common Sense, they asked why the Catalans were different from other Spaniards — especially the Castilians (Conversi 1997: 15) For example, Cortada wanted to determine why, despite its poor natural environment, Catalonia was so much more successful economically than other parts of Spain. In a series of generalizations, he concluded that the "Catalans have succeeded in developing a strong sense of resolution and constancy over the centuries. Another feature of their character was the fact that they were hardworking people" (Llobera 1983: 342). D’Eixalà and Llorens held a similar understanding of the Catalan national character. They held that two characteristics particular to Catalans were common sense (seny) and industriousness. To them, "the traditional Catalan seny was a manifestation of the Volksgeist", one which made Catalans essentially different from Castilians (Llobera 2004: 75).
The early works on the Catalan Volk would remain on paper long before they entered politics. This is because the Catalan bourgeoisie had not yet abandoned the hope of spearheading the Spanish state (Conversi 1997: 14). Indeed, in the 1830s, the Renaixença was still embryonic and the industrial class still thought that it could at least control the Spanish economy. Notions of Catalonia's uniqueness mattered little to a group that believed it could integrate and lead the entire country. But this all changed around 1880. After decades of discrimination from Spanish elites, Catalan industrialists buried their dream of leading Spain. As Vilar observes: "It is only because, in its acquisition of the Spanish market, the Catalan industrial bourgeoisie did not succeed either in securing the state apparatus or identifying its interests with those of the whole of Spain, in influential opinion, that Catalonia, this little "fatherland", finally became the 'national' focal point", (1980: 551)
This switch of allegiance was particularly easy because the idea of a Catalan nation had already matured into a corpus of texts about the region's "uniqueness" and Volksgeist. Inspired by these works of Romantic nationalism, the Catalan economic elite became conscious of "the growing dissimilitude between the Catalonia's social structure and that of the rest of the nation" (Vilar 1963: 101). Consequently, Romantic nationalism expanded beyond its philosophical bounds into the political arena.
Nonetheless, this idea lost its importance, and even were abandoned by many sectors (specially from the left-wing Catalanism) during the last years of the 19th century and the first third of the 20th century, thanks to the contact with the ideas of Ernest Renan and its civic and republican concept of nation. Antoni Rovira i Virgili (1882–1949), Catalan nationalist and republican historian and politician, gave support to these ideas.
In the last third of the 19th century, Catalanism was formulating its own doctrinal foundations, not only among the progressive ranks but also amongst the conservatives. At the same time it started to establish its first political programmes (e.g. Bases de Manresa, 1892), and to generate a wide cultural and association movement of a clearly nationalistic character.
In 1898, Spain lost its last colonial possessions in Cuba and the Philippines, a fact that not only created an important crisis of national confidence, but also gave an impulse to political Catalanism. The first modern political party in Catalonia was the Lliga Regionalista. Founded in 1901, it formed a coalition in 1907 with other Catalanist forces (from Carlism to Federalists), grouped in the so-called Solidaritat Catalana, and won the elections with the regionalist programme that Enric Prat de la Riba had formulated in his manifesto La nacionalitat catalana (1906).
The 18th-century Spanish economy depended mostly on agriculture. The social structure stayed hierarchical, if not feudal, while the Catholic Church and Bourbon monarchs wrestled for internal supremacy. Into the 19th century, the Napoleonic invasion devastated the country and its early attempts in industrialization and led to chronic political instability, with Spain remaining politically and culturally isolated from the rest of Europe.
Unlike in the rest of Spain, the Industrial Revolution made some progress in Catalonia, whose pro-industry middle class strove to mechanize everything, from textiles and crafts to wineries. Industrialization and trade went hand in hand with the proto-nationalist Renaixença cultural movement, which, annoyed with the shortcomings of the Royal court in Madrid, began to fashion an alternative, and that was Catalan identity.
To finance their cultural project, a locally bred proto-nationalist intelligentsia sought patronage and protection from Barcelona's industrial barons. This relationship played a decisive role in the development of Catalanism. On the one hand, intellectuals sought to renew Catalan identity as a response to Spain's overall backwardness. They wanted to distance themselves from the Spanish problems by creating a new ontology rooted in Catalan culture, language and world view. On the other hand, those same intellectuals avoided demands for separation. They knew that their patrons would want Catalan nationalism to include Spain for two reasons:
As Woolard notes, the economic interests in Madrid and the budding Catalan industrialists converged during the 18th century, resulting in cooperation. For the nationalist literati, this meant that Catalanism could promote a national identity, but it had to function within Spain.
Furthermore, Barcelona's industrial elite wanted Catalonia to stay part of Spain since Catalonia's industrial markets relied on consumption from other Spanish regions which, little by little, started to join some sort of development. In fact, part of the industrialists’ desire to remain part of Spain was their desire for protectionism, hegemony in domestic markets and the push to "influence Madrid's political choices by intervening in central Spanish affairs" (Conversi 1997: 18-20), thus, it made no economic sense to promote any secession from Spain. On the contrary, Catalonia's prominent industrialists acted as the Spanish leading economic heads. As Stanley Payne observes: "The modern Catalan élite had played a major role in what there was of economic industrialization in the nineteenth century, and had tended to view Catalonia not as the antagonist but to some degree the leader of a freer, more prosperous Spain" (482). Barcelona's bourgeois industrialists even claimed that protectionism and leadership served the interests of the "‘national market’ or of ‘developing the national economy’ (national meaning Spanish here)" (Balcells 19). The inclusion of Spain was instrumental to Catalonia's success, meaning that industrialists would not tolerate any secessionist movement. Claiming that independence would have assured nothing but weak markets, an internal enemy and strengthened anarchist movements. And hence, though manufacturers funded the Renaixença—and Catalan nationalism—they demanded that Catalonia stayed part of Spain to ensure economic stability.
This federalist-like lobbying had not worked at first, nor did it succeed until the late 1880s. Finally, in 1889, the pro-industrialist Lliga Regionalista managed to save the particular Catalan Civil Code, after a liberal attempt to homogenize the Spanish legal structures (Conversi 1997: 20). Two years later, they coaxed Madrid into passing protectionist measures, which reinvigorated pro-Spanish attitudes among manufacturers. Then, they also took great profits from Spain's neutrality in World War I, which allowed them to export to both sides, and the Spanish expansion in Morocco, which Catalan industrialists encouraged, since it was to become a fast growing market for them. Also, by the early 20th century, Catalan businessmen had managed to gain control of the most profitable commerce between Spain and its American colonies and ex-colonies, namely Cuba and Puerto Rico.
This nationalist-industrialist accord is a classic example of inclusionary Catalanism. Nationalists might have hoped for an independent Catalonia but their patrons needed access to markets and protectionism. As a result, nationalists could propagate the Catalan identity provided that it coincided with the industrialists’ pro-Spanish stance. Because the Lliga Regionalista de Catalunya endorsed this compromise, it dominated Catalan politics after the start of the 20th century. Payne notes: "The main Catalanist party, the bourgeois Lliga, never sought separatism but rather a more discrete and distinctive place for a self-governing Catalonia within a more reformist and progressive Spain. The Lliga's leaders ran their 1916 electoral campaign under the slogan ‘Per l'Espanya Gran’ (For the Great Spain)" (482). The Lliga had tempered the nationalist position to one of inclusionary nationalism. It allowed Catalanism to flourish, but demanded that it promote federalism within Spain, and not separation from it. Any deviation from this delicate balance would have enraged those pro-Catalan and Spanish-identifying industrialists. Ultimately, this prevented any moves towards separation while strengthening Catalonia's "federal" rights after the Commonwealth of Catalonia took power in 1914.
During the first part of the 20th century, the main nationalist party was the conservative Lliga Regionalista, headed by Francesc Cambó. For the nationalists, the main achievement in this period was the Commonwealth of Catalonia, a grouping of the four Catalan provinces with limited administrative power. The Commonwealth developed an important infrastructure (like roads and phones) and promoted the culture (professional education, libraries, regulation of Catalan language, study of sciences) in order to modernize Catalonia. The failure in being granted an Estatute of autonomy in 1919 within the Restoration regime, led to radicalisation of the moderate nationalist parties in Catalonia, leading in turn to the creation of Acció Catalana (Catalan Action) and also Estat Català (Catalan State), drifting apart from the Lliga. Among the leaders of Acció Catalana founded in 1922 and chiefly supportive of liberal-democratic catalanism and a catalanisation process were Jaume Bofill, Antoni Rovira i Virgili and Lluís Nicolau d'Olwer. It also featured an internal elitist faction, moved by the thinking of Charles Maurras and Action française of which Josep Vicenç Foix and Josep Carbonell were representatives, while Jaume Bofill was ambivalent to the extreme right French thinker. Estat Català, somewhat more attached to the idea of downright independence, was founded right after the creation of Acció Catalana by Francesc Macià.
The Mancomunitat of Catalonia was dissolved during the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera in 1925. The anti-Catalan measures taken by dictator Primo de Rivera led to further disappointment among Catalan conservatives, who initially trusted in him because of an earlier support of regionalism prior to his pronunciamiento in September 1923, and also further exacerbation of insurrectionary nationalists. In November 1926 Macià helmed an attempt of military invasion of Catalonia from France which would purposely lead to a civil uprising and the proclamation of the Catalan Republic; he was not able even to get past through the border.
In 1931, the left-wing Catalan nationalist Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (Republican Left of Catalonia, ERC) party, born as a result of the fusion of Catalan Republican Party and Estat Català, won the elections in Catalonia, advocating a Catalan Republic federated with Spain the same day of the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic. Under pressure from the new Spanish government, the leader of ERC, Francesc Macià, accepted an autonomous Catalan government instead, which recovered the historical name of Generalitat de Catalunya.
The Catalan Government broke with the Republican legality in the events of October 1934, when Lluís Companys, under the influence of the JEREC, rebelled against the Spanish government. A dramatically short period of restoration of democratic and cultural normality was interrupted at its outset by the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. The autonomous government, which was loyal to the Republic during the 1936–1939 war period, was abolished in 1939, after the victory of the Francoist troops. During the last stages of the war, when the Republican side was on the verge of defeat, Catalan president of the Generalitat, Lluís Companys, rhetorically declared Catalan independence, even though it never materialized due to objections within Catalonia and, eventually, by the defeat of the Second Spanish Republic.
Right after the war, Companys, along with thousands of Spanish Republicans, sought cover in France exiled but because of the, by that time, mutual sympathy between Franco's government and Nazi Germany, he was captured after the Fall of France in 1940 and handed to Spanish authorities, who tortured him and which sentenced him to death for 'military rebellion'. He was executed at Montjuïc in Barcelona at 6.30 a.m. on October 15, 1940. Refusing to wear a blindfold, he was taken before a firing squad of Civil Guards and, as they fired, he cried 'Per Catalunya!'.
Several political or cultural Catalan movements operated underground during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, which lasted until 1975. A president of the Catalan government was still designated, and operated symbolically in exile.
Companys's successor in exile, Josep Tarradellas, kept away from Spain until Franco's death in 1975. When he came back in 1977, the government of Catalonia -the Generalitat- was restored again. Following the approval of the Spanish constitution in 1978, a Statute of Autonomy was promulgated and approved in referendum. Catalonia was organized as an Autonomous Community, and in 1980, Jordi Pujol, from the conservative nationalist party Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya, was elected president and ruled the autonomous government for 23 consecutive years.
In contrast, there is no significant political autonomy, nor recognition of the language in the historical Catalan territories belonging to France (Roussillon, in the French département of Pyrénées-Orientales).
Currently, the main political parties which define themselves as being Catalan nationalists are Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya, Unió Democràtica de Catalunya. The Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, although deriving from nationalism, refuses the term "nationalism" and prefers to describe itself as pro-independence; so does Soldaritat Catalana. These parties obtained 50.03% of the votes in the 2010 election. Within these parties, there is much divergence of opinion. More radical elements are only content with the establishment of a separate Catalan state. In contrast, more moderate elements do not necessarily identify with the belief that protection of Catalan identity is incompatible within Spain. Others vote for these parties simply as a protest and do not necessarily identify with the overall party platform (for example, some people may vote for ERC because they are simply tired of CiU, even though they do not actually desire a leftist Catalan republic). The other way around also occurs: some voters may vote for non-nationalist parties (especially the Initiative for Catalonia Greens, ICV, and the Socialists' Party of Catalonia, PSC) for reasons of policy, ideology or personal preference, although they share a nationalist viewpoint regarding Catalonia's status within Spain. Some polls, conducted in 2010, show that more than a third of PSC and more than half of ICV voters support Catalonia's independence (in the latter case, the percentage is even higher than among Convergence and Union voters); according to these polls, even 15% of the pro-Spanish Partido Popular voters in Catalonia support the region's independence.
In 2006, a referendum was held on amending the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia of 1979 to further expand the authority of the Catalan government. It was approved by 73.24% of the voters or 35.78% of the census, and became effective as of August 9, 2006. However, the turnout of 48.84% represented an unprecedented high abstention in Catalonia's democratic history. This has been cited both as a symptom of having large sectors in the average populace disengaged or at odds with the politics of identity in Catalonia, and, alternatively, as a symptom of fatigue among Catalan nationalists who would like to see bolder steps towards political autonomy or independence. In this regard, both Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (Catalan pro-independence left wing) and Partido Popular (Spanish right wing) campaigned against having the 2006 Statute of Autonomy passed: the former considered it too little, the latter too much.
On September 11, 2012 between 600,000 (according to Spanish Government delegation in Barcelona) and 2 million (according to the organisers) people gathered in central Barcelona calling for independence from Spain. In September and October, numerous Catalan municipalities declared themselves to be Free Catalan Territory.
Since the economic crisis of 2008, the government of Artur Mas has moved away from its former regionalist position and come to overtly support Catalan independence. The Catalan government held a non-binding popular consultation on the subject in 2014. Catalan nationalists polled well in the 2015 election to the Catalan parliament, which Artur Mas declared to be a referendum-election.
The 2010 Catalan autonomy protest was a demonstration in central Barcelona on 10 July 2010 against limitations of the autonomy of Catalonia, and particularly against a recent decision of the Spanish Constitutional Court to annul or reinterpret several articles of the 2006 Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia. The number of people taking part in the demonstration was estimated at between 1.1 million (according to the local police) and 1.5 million (according to the organisers), while Madrid-based newspaper El País estimated the number of demonstrators at 425,000. The mobilisation was described as "unprecedented" by the mayor of Barcelona. The Barcelona daily newspaper El Periódico de Catalunya described it as "without a doubt one of the biggest protest marches that has ever occurred in Catalonia, possibly the biggest". It is thought that the 2012 Catalan independence demonstration involved more people, but this protest brought the dispute to light in the world.
The demonstration was led by a banner with the slogan in Catalan Som una nació. Nosaltres decidim. (in English, "We are a nation. We decide.").Acció Catalana
Accio Catalana (Catalan Action, AC) was a Catalanist political movement in the first third of the 20th century.Anti-Catalanism
Anti-Catalanism (Catalan: anticatalanisme, IPA: [ˌantikətələˈnizmə]) is the collective name given to various alleged historical trends in Spain that have been hostile to Catalan culture and traditions.
In more recent times it is a term used to criticize political stances contrary to Catalan nationalism or Catalan independentism, both inside and outside Catalonia.Boixos Nois
The Boixos Nois (English: Crazy Boys, from the Catalan word "Bojos" meaning crazy) is an ultras supporter group organised around the football club FC Barcelona, based in Catalonia. Founded in 1981 it was composed of left-leaning Catalan nationalists, until a surge of skinheads joining in the mid-1980s saw the political orientation turn from Catalan nationalism and socialism to far-right Catalan separatism and far-right Spanish nationalism. For many years the Boixos Nois enjoyed a close relationship with FC Barcelona until former president Joan Laporta banned their presence at games in 2003.
They are notorious in Spain for their violent behaviour and frequent clashes with authorities, with some members being convicted for death threats, murder, illegal firearms possession, extortion and drug trafficking.Catalan Countries
Catalan Countries (Catalan: Països Catalans, Eastern Catalan: [pəˈizus kətəˈlans]) refers to those territories where the Catalan language, or a variant of it, is spoken. They include the Spanish regions of Catalonia, Valencia, the Balearic Islands and parts of Aragon and Murcia, as well as Roussillon in France, the Principality of Andorra, and the city of Alghero in Sardinia (Italy). In the context of Catalan nationalism, the term is sometimes used in a more restricted way to refer to just Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. The Catalan Countries do not correspond to any present or past political or administrative unit, though most of the area belonged to the Crown of Aragon in the Middle Ages. Parts of Valencia (Spanish) and Catalonia (Occitan) are not Catalan-speaking.
The "Catalan Countries" have been at the centre of both cultural and political projects since the late 19th century. Its mainly cultural dimension became increasingly politically charged by the late 1960s and early 1970s, as Francoism began to die out in Spain, and what had been a cultural term restricted to connoisseurs of Catalan philology became a divisive issue during the Spanish Transition period, most acrimoniously in Valencia during the 1980s. Modern linguistic and cultural projects include the Institut Ramon Llull and the Fundació Ramon Llull, which are run by the governments of the Balearic Islands, Catalonia and Andorra, the General Council of the Pyrénées-Orientales, the city council of Alghero and the Network of Valencian Cities. Politically, it involves a pan-nationalist project to unite the Catalan-speaking territories of Spain and France, often in the context of Catalan independence. The political project does not enjoy wide support, particularly outside Catalonia, where it is viewed as an expression of Catalan expansionism. The term "Catalan Countries" is itself controversial, and Valencian nationalists avoid using it.Catalan Red Liberation Army
The Catalan Red Liberation Army (Catalan: Exèrcit Roig Català d'Alliberament, ERCA) was a militant group seeking greater autonomy for the Catalan region of Spain.Catalan independence movement
The Catalan independence movement (Catalan: independentisme català; Spanish: independentismo catalán) is a social and political movement with roots in Catalan nationalism, which seeks the independence of Catalonia from Spain.
The Catalan independence movement began in 1922, when Francesc Macià founded the political party Estat Català (Catalan State). In 1931, Estat Català and other parties formed Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (Republican Left of Catalonia; ERC). Macià proclaimed a Catalan Republic in 1931, subsequently accepting autonomy within the Spanish state after negotiations with the leaders of the Second Spanish Republic. During the Spanish Civil War, General Francisco Franco abolished Catalan autonomy in 1938. Following Franco's death in 1975, Catalan political parties concentrated on autonomy rather than independence.
The modern independence movement began in 2010 when the Constitutional Court of Spain ruled that some of the articles of the 2006 Statute of Autonomy—which had been agreed with the Spanish government and passed by a referendum in Catalonia—were unconstitutional, and others were to be interpreted restrictively. Popular protest against the decision quickly turned into demands for independence. Starting with the town of Arenys de Munt, over 550 municipalities in Catalonia held symbolic referendums on independence between 2009 and 2011. All of the towns returned a high "yes" vote, with a turnout of around 30% of those eligible to vote. A 2010 protest demonstration against the court's decision, organised by the cultural organisation Òmnium Cultural, was attended by over a million people. The popular movement fed upwards to the politicians; a second mass protest on 11 September 2012 (the National Day of Catalonia) explicitly called on the Catalan government to begin the process towards independence. Catalan president Artur Mas called a snap general election, which resulted in a pro-independence majority for the first time in the region's history. The new parliament adopted the Catalan Sovereignty Declaration in early 2013, asserting that the Catalan people had the right to decide their own political future.
The Government of Catalonia announced a referendum on the question of statehood, to be held in November 2014. The referendum asked two questions: "Do you want Catalonia to become a state?" and if so, "Do you want this state to be independent?" The Government of Spain referred the proposed referendum to the Constitutional Court, which ruled it unconstitutional. The Government of Catalonia then changed it from a binding referendum to a non-binding "consultation". Despite the Spanish court also banning the non-binding vote, the Catalan self-determination referendum went ahead on 9 November 2014. The result was an 81% vote for "yes-yes", with a turnout of 42%. Mas called another election for September 2015, which he said would be a plebiscite on independence. Although winning the majority of the seats, Pro-independence parties fell just short of a majority of votes (they got 47%) in the September election.The new parliament passed a resolution declaring the start of the independence process in November 2015. The following year, new president Carles Puigdemont, announced a binding referendum on independence. Although deemed illegal by the Spanish government and Constitutional Court, the referendum was held on 1 October 2017. In a vote where the anti-independence parties called for non-participation, results showed a 90% vote in favour of independence, with a turnout of 43%. Based on this result, on 27 October 2017 the Parliament of Catalonia approved a resolution creating an independent Republic unilaterally, by a vote considered illegal by the lawyers of the Parliament of Catalonia for violating the decisions of the Constitutional Court of Spain.In the Parliament of Catalonia, parties explicitly supporting independence are Partit Demòcrata Europeu Català (PDeCAT), formerly named Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC); Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), and Candidatura d'Unitat Popular (CUP). Parties opposed to the regional independence are Ciutadans (Citizens), the PP Català (People's Party), the Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya (PSC), and Podemos, the third largest party in the Spanish parliament. The latter supports a legal and agreed referendum.
Its main symbol is the Estelada flag, which has blue and red versions. The Senyera Estelada is a combination of the traditional Catalan Senyera with the Cuban and Puerto Rican revolutionary flags of the early 20th century. Since then, the Estelada has taken many forms, with the Estelada Vermella associated with left-wing Republicanism, the Estelada Blava representing a more conservative mainstream movement, and even the Estelada Blaugrana a flag for Pro-Independence supporters of FC Barcelona.Democratic Convergence of Catalonia
The Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (Catalan: Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya; IPA: [kumbəɾˈʒɛnsi.ə ðəmuˈkɾatikə ðə kətəˈluɲə], CDC) was a Catalan nationalist and liberal political party in Catalonia (Spain).
It was the largest political organization in the Autonomous Community of Catalonia, with more than 60,000 members. The last president of Democratic Convergence of Catalonia before its refoundation as the Catalan European Democratic Party was Artur Mas, and its General Secretary were Josep Rull i Andreu and Jordi Turull i Negre.Rather than using its full acronym (CDC) the party was frequently referred to just as Convergència, and its members convergents in Catalan or convergentes in Spanish.Democratic Union of Catalonia
The Democratic Union of Catalonia (Catalan: Unió Democràtica de Catalunya; IPA: [uniˈo ðəmuˈkɾatikə ðə kətəˈluɲə], UDC) was a regionalist and Christian democratic political party in the Catalonia region of Spain. Together with the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia, until 2015 it was part of the Convergence and Union (CiU) coalition. They ruled the Generalitat de Catalunya until its breakup.
It described itself as Catalan nationalist and Christian democrat, and was a member of the European People's Party (EPP), and a full member of The Union of the Robert Schuman Institute for Developing Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe located in Budapest, Hungary.Enric Prat de la Riba
Enric Prat de la Riba i Sarrà (Catalan pronunciation: [ənˈrik ˈpɾad də lə ˈriβə]; 29 November 1870 – 1 August 1917) was a Catalan politician, lawyer and writer. He was a member of the Centre Escolar Catalanista, where one of the earliest definitions of Catalan nationalism was formulated. He became the first President of the Commonwealth of Catalonia on 6 April 1914 and retained this office until his death. He wrote the book and political manifesto La nacionalitat catalana in which greater autonomy to Catalonia was advocated. He died in 1917 and is interred in the Montjuïc Cemetery in Barcelona.Initiative for Catalonia Greens
Initiative for Catalonia Greens (Catalan: Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds, ICV; IPA: [inisi.əˈtiβə pəɾ kətəˈluɲə ˈβɛɾts]) is an eco-socialist political party in Catalonia. It was formed as a merger of Iniciativa per Catalunya and Els Verds. IC had been an alliance led by Partit Socialista Unificat de Catalunya and was the equivalent of Izquierda Unida in Catalonia. IC later developed into a political party, and PSUC was dissolved.
The youth of ICV is called Joves d'Esquerra Verda (Green Left Youth). It used to be called JambI, Joves amb Iniciativa (Youth with Initiative).
In the elections to the European Parliament in 2004 ICV ran on the Izquierda Unida list. One MEP, Raül Romeva, was elected from ICV which joined the Green Group.
The ICV formed part of the past ruling tripartite coalition (along with the Socialist Party of Catalonia and the Republican Left of Catalonia, a left-wing Catalan Nationalist Party) in the Generalitat of Catalonia. The coalition governed Catalonia from 2004-2010. ICV was given responsibility for the Ministry of the Environment in the share-out of power in the new government.
Initiative for Catalonia Greens has an agreement of mutual association with Equo.La nacionalitat catalana
La nacionalitat catalana (Catalan pronunciation: [lə nəsi.unəliˈtat kətəˈlanə], in English "The Catalan nationality") is a book and political manifesto written by the Conservative politician Enric Prat de la Riba in 1906. The book, focusing on the will for the restoration of self-government in the region, is one of the foundational text of Noucentisme and modern political catalanism and a philosophical justification of catalan nationalism.
The author portrays the years spannings between the abolition of the privileges and traditional institutions of Catalonia as part of the introduction of French centralism by the first Bourbon king of Spain, Philip V, and the present moment, as a period of cultural renaissance among those who struggled against the unification and centralisation of Spain (as exemplified by the Romanticist movement La Renaixença) and were aware of its nationality.National symbols of Catalonia
The national symbols of Catalonia are flags, icons or cultural expressions that are emblematic, representative or otherwise characteristic of Catalonia or Catalan culture.
The oldest Catalan symbol is the coat of arms of Catalonia, based on the royal arms of the Crown of Aragon, though a number of theories trace its origin to even older times. It is one of the oldest coats of arms in Europe. A legend, considered non-historical, says that the four red bars (Quatre Pals or Quatre Barres) are the result of Charles the Bald, known also as Charles II, king of West Francia, smearing four bloodied fingers over Wilfred the Hairy's golden shield, after the latter had fought bravely against the Normans.
Catalonia's national symbols as defined in the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia are the flag, Catalonia's day, and the anthem. These symbols have often a political and revindicative significance. Other symbols may not have official status, for different reasons, but are likewise recognised at a national or international level.
One of the highest civil distinctions awarded in Catalonia is the St George's Cross (Creu de Sant Jordi).Nationalist Youth of Catalonia
Nationalist Youth of Catalonia (Joventut Nacionalista de Catalunya, JNC) is the youth organisation of the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT), founded in 1980 as the youth group of Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC). Sergi Miquel (also a PDeCAT member of Congress for Girona is the general secretary since 2015.Republican Left of the Valencian Country
Republican Left of the Valencian Country (Catalan: Esquerra Republicana del País Valencià, ERPV) is a Valencian left nationalist and republican party.
The original ERPV was founded in 1933, then disbanded in 1935. In 2000 the vacant ERPV name was taken by the party resulting from the merge of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya's (ERC) Valencian section and the Front pel País Valencià (Front for the Valencian Country).
ERPV is currently the main explicit sponsor of the Països Catalans idea in the Valencian Country, where poor electoral results so far limit its participation to a marginal role.Socialist Convergence of Catalonia
Socialist Convergence of Catalonia (in Catalan: Convèrgencia Socialista de Catalunya, CSC) was a political party in Catalonia, Spain. CSC was founded in 1974 as from a split of the Socialist Movement of Catalonia (MSC).
Its secretary general was Joan Reventós. The party participated in the unitary organizations of the antifascist opposition in Catalonia, expecting to join forces with other social-democratic and socialist parties.
In 1976 CSC merged with other groups and parties to form the Socialist Party of Catalonia-Congress.Socialist Party of the Islands
Socialist Party of the Islands (Catalan: Partit Socialista de les Illes, PSI) was a political party in the Balearic Islands, Spain.Valentí Almirall i Llozer
Valentí Almirall i Llozer (Catalan pronunciation: [bələnˈti əlmiˈɾaʎ]; Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, 8 March 1841 – 1904) was a Spanish politician, considered one of the fathers of modern Catalan nationalism, and more specifically, of the left-wing nationalism.Òmnium Cultural
Òmnium Cultural (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈɔmni.um kultuˈɾal]) is a Catalan association based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It was originally created in the 1960s to promote the Catalan language and spread Catalan culture.
Over the years it has increased its involvement in broader social issues; in 2012 it committed itself to Catalan independence, specifically demanding the right of self-determination for Catalonia.