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The Birth of the Catalan People

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  • Political Science


CLOISTER OF THE MONASTERY OF RIPOLL 1 D O S S I E R T H E BIRTH O F T H E C A T A L A N P E O P L E CATALONIA WAS BORN MORE THAN A THOUSAND YEARS AGO, WHEN SHE BROKE OFF FROM THE CAROLINGIAN TRUNK AND, GROWING OUT OF THE "SPANISH MARCH", SHE SHOOK OFF ALL SUBMISSION BEYOND THE PYRENEES AND SET OUT ON HER OWN PATH THROUGH HISTORY. O ations don't spring up at ran- dorn, like rnushroorns. In the ma- jority of cases, their birth, as in the case of Catalonia, has involved long and painful labour that has lasted for centuries. There are nations that in spite of having been born more or less as such survive in a perpetua1 adoles- cence until they die of exhaustion or are absorbed by another, stronger nation. What do we understand by Catalonia? This is where we have to start frorn. Strictly, or rather, politically speaking, Catalonia today is the north-eastern re- gion of Spain -recognized as a "nation- ality" by the Spanish constitution of 1978 and given substance as an Auto- nornous Community by the Statute of CLIMENT F O R N E R P o E T 1979-, rnade up of four provinces: Bar- celona, Tarragona, Lleida and Girona. It is also known as the Principality of Catalonia. But in a broad sense, true to history, it is more, rnuch more: it corn- prises everything known as the Paisos Catalans, or Catalan Lands, which, to use an emblernatic expression, stretch from Salses to Guardamar and frorn Fraga to Maó. The Paisos Catalans today are distri- buted over three states: Spain, France and Andorra. Although they were not given this name until the end of the nineteenth century, frorn at least the twelfth century they consisted of the group of lands whose language was Catalan, differentiated from Latin for centuries. Later on, in the thirteenth cen- tury, due to the growth of the Catalan population, the Balearic lslands and the País Valencia were incorporated. The Catalan regions belonging to the French state since the disastrous Treaty of the

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