Where is Catalonia?
Catalonia is located in the extreme eastern part of the Iberian Peninsula. It covers an area of about 2,397 square miles. As of 2016, the region had a population of about 7.5 million people and a population density of 610 per square mile. It considers itself a nationality with the right to self-rule. It consists of four provinces; Tarragona, Lleida, Barcelona, Girona. Barcelona is Catalonia's capital and the second largest city in Spain after Madrid. Catalonia borders Andorra and France to the north, Valencia to the south, the Mediterranean Sea to the east and Aragon, another autonomous region of Spain, to the west. On Sunday, October 1, 2017, Catalonia voted to succeed from pain through a referendum. Ninety percent of the voters voted to declare independence in a referendum marred by violence after Spanish law enforcers descended on the voters with the intention of the preventing the referendum from taking place. Approximately 2.26 million votes were counted representing 42.6 percent of the electorate although ballot boxes were confiscated by the police.
The History of Catalonia
Catalonia was an autonomous region of the Iberian Peninsula between Portugal and modern-day Spain. The region is known to have its own language, customs, and laws. Its history dates back to the mid-12th century when the Count of Barcelona Ramon Berenguer IV married Petronilia, Queen of Aragon and formed a dynasty covering Aragon and Catalonia that was succeeded by their son. The dynasty lasted until 1707 when the War of the Spanish Succession ended up in the defeat of Valencia and Catalonia. In 1715, several islands were annexed, and modern Spain was born. Several attempts to impose the Spanish language upon the Catalans failed, and the attempt was abandoned in 1931. In 1938, the Spanish General, Francisco Franco vowed to destroy the Catalan separatism when he took control of the Catalan region during the Battle of Ebro. Francisco Franco killed 3,500 people and forced thousands to flee into exile. In 1977, democracy was setting foot in Spain and Catalonia was awarded some degree of autonomy. In July 2010, the Constitutional Court in the Spanish capital Madrid overruled the autonomy statute enacted in 2006 and stated that there was no basis for recognizing Catalonia as an independent state. The economic situation in Spain has also led to magnify the calls for independence Catalan as the wealthy region is seen as sustaining the other parts of Spain.
The Catalan Referendum
Catalonia has a functioning government with a president, executive, and the legislature. On October 1st, 2017, the region held a referendum to secede from Spain. The referendum was marred by chaos when the Spanish constitutional court declared the process unconstitutional, and the police raided the polling stations with the aim of stopping the voting process. The president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, declared that the region was seceding from Spain. The Spanish government has taken a hardline despite criticism from European countries. Its police have raided and destroyed political offices while the Spanish government has declared that it might suspend the autonomy of Catalonia.