Lately, one of the hottest topics in the news is a northeast region of Spain fighting for its independence. This area, known as Catalonia, home of Barcelona, is Spain’s wealthiest, most productive, and possibly most important region. But instead of hearing the sounds of harmony and unification in the streets, civilians are hearing something much more rogue – a revolution.
To those who are taking or have taken AP European History, the story of Catalonia may be familiar; in 1150 AD, Catalonia was indeed independent. But after the marriage of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile, Catalonia became a part of Spain. From them on, however, Catalonia kept a multitude of its power by demonstrating separatism. While most kings sought to appoint Spanish laws and language on the region, most withdrew once they realized the power of the Catalan separatism. Francisco Franco, however, had other plans. Ruling as a military dictator up to 1975, Franco had no tolerance for the rebelling Catalans. He took complete control over the region in 1938, near the beginning of his dictatorship.
In 1978, with democracy established once more in Spain, Catalonia was able to practice their own laws, language, and start their track to freedom again. It was not until recently when the call to freedom blew out of proportion.
On September 6th, the Catalan parliament enacted its own law set in a vote of whether or not they wanted Catalonia to become its own republic; the law passed with astounding results. The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont himself signed the referendum bill almost immediately due to the strong beliefs on how the region should be its own body.
Without much surprise, this settles badly with the rest of Spain. Since Catalonia is in fact the economic powerhouse of Spain, if the region became its own Nation, it could have the power to significantly cripple Spain’s government. Prime Minister Rajoy simply refused the referendum as a whole, and condemned the vote as illegal. Many Catalan officials were arrested due to the uprising, and any information spread about the referendum and election were abandoned promptly. Rajoy deeming the election illegal has caused around 1,000 Catalan people to be wounded or injured by the Spanish police.
Although many are fearful of the threats, even more are designing strikes, rebels, and protests to promote Catalonia and the concept of independence.