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Catalan Nationalism Essay

2098 words - 9 pages

Every year on September 11 the people of Catalonia celebrate a daylong festival called the National Day of Catalonia. This day is meant for Catalans to remember September 11, 1714, when the French Bourbons won the War of Spanish Succession and started to suppress Catalonia’s self government. Today, Catalans from all over the region gather on September 11 and have huge demonstration that calls for Catalan Independence. People from all over Catalonia gather and hold hands creating a human chain that stretches across the region. Very rarely do you see a group of people celebrate the loss of a war, usually people celebrate if they when win. The people celebrate this day to remember the ...view middle of the document...

It has been around for centuries and stems back to the unification of the crowns of Aragon and Castile. When Ferdinand and Isabella of got married in 1492, they unified their territories and created what today is modern day Spain. We can trace back the consolidation of Catalan and Spanish identity to as early as the thirteenth century. Throughout all of Europe there have been nationalists movements, but most do not trace back as far into history like the Catalan movement. In John Macinnes’s article about Catalan nationalism he writes, “Catalan nationalism is not an invented identity. For at least over 1,000 years, a given human community…has identified itself as a nation…organized around language and a shared history. Catalonia is not an imagined entity, but a constantly renewed historical product” (Macinnes 680). It is clear there is a lot of history and reason behind this movement of nationalism. The Catalans are suffering an identity crisis that stretches back hundreds of years. In the fourteenth century the Catalans had a lot of political and economic success and their culture started to thrive. The Catalan language came from Latin in the Middle Ages around the year 900. For almost five centuries the language and culture was dominant until the Kingdoms of Aragon and Castile combined. Over time their language and culture began to decline, which has in a sense unified the people of Catalonia. It is clear that Catalan nationalism is something that has been brewing for centuries and only continues to grow stronger as time goes on.
Throughout history we have seen the Catalan culture repressed by different people. Francisco Franco was one of the most notable people to suppress the Catalans. In 1932, during the Second Spanish Republic Catalonia obtained their fist Statute of Autonomy. This allowed Catalonia to set up their own laws and political institutions as long as they complied with the rest of Spain. People were allowed to speak Catalan and their culture was on the upswing. Even though Catalonia was still not an independent state they were allowed to govern themselves under this Statue of Autonomy. In 1940, after Franco won the civil war this all changed. He imposed a Catholic Spain centered on the Spanish identity, not Catalan. In 1940, Franco banned the Catalan language and flag. He enforced Spanish symbols and tried to eliminate the entire Catalan culture from Spain. Although Franco was trying so hard to control population, this seemed to make people feel a stronger sense of their Catalan identity. They united against a common enemy, Franco. In an article about Catalan nationalism we see how Franco’s policies affected this movement, “Nationalism became a rallying cry for the anti-Franco forces in Catalonia…to the point that all democratic political forces…were Catalan nationalists as well…all political parties in Catalonia…were and are Catalan, not Spanish” (Macinnes 680). It seems that Franco’s repression only made the...

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