Catalonia History

               The territory that makes up the current Catalonia has been populated for at least half a million years, the fact of the situation, a society that lives facing the sea means that since the Neolithic revolution, the discovery of agriculture, various civilisations have passed through our country that have left their mark, Greeks, Carthaginians and above all Romans who, unlike the others, settled for about 7 centuries and left us two very important things, the Catalan language and Roman law, The Visigoths, who replaced the Romans, left us many things, apart from the officialisation of the Catholic religion, which was already the religion of the people. The arrival of the Arabs at the beginning of the 8th century formed two Catalonia, the Northern Catalonia, which was only under Arab rule for a century, and the Catalonia from the Llobregat river downwards, which was under Arab rule for more than four centuries. The current Catalonia is the Christian Catalonia of the North, which, from around the year 900, began to gain independence from its lord, the king of the Franks, and from the year 1000 Catalonia became totally independent, Catalonia began to be known as Catalonia around 1100, shortly before the Count of Barcelona formed a confederation with the King of Aragon and formed the Crown of Aragon, in Catalonia, however, the highest authority would always be the Count of Barcelona who was king in his personal capacity, Catalonia would never have a king, they were totally independent peoples with the same head of state, from, more or less from the beginning of the 13th century, Catalonia experienced a period of great splendour with the conquest of the current Balearic Islands and the current territory of Valencia and especially thanks to the Mediterranean trade, Catalonia, as well as the Italian republics, became one of the axes of the business derived from the silk route, which included trade with the Hanseatic League, especially the port of Bergen, the 15th century is a century of internal struggles and continuous crises that affect even the population, it is at the end of this century that the Crown of Aragon unites with Castile with inferior conditions, in spite of everything they are two crowns with the same king but with different laws, the Crown of Aragon continues with its federal structure, not exactly confederal, and the Crown of Castile is governed by more authoritarian systems, In Catalonia, a body established in the 14th century, became, in these years, together with the municipal councils, the real government of Catalonia. When, at the beginning of the 16th century, the Spanish Crown tried to break with the federal system, there was a revolt in favour of independence which failed and sought the support of the French Crown, which proved to be just as absorbent as the Spanish Crown, The end of the war was a bit of a draw, with the loss of Roussillon and other Catalan territories that became dependent on the French crown. The 15th century was a period of crisis but it had a very positive event, Catalan farmers ceased to be serfs, that is, they ceased to be subjected to the feudal lord, so they became semi-owners, this condition meant that at the end of the 17th century, Catalonia began to become a prosperous territory, a prosperity that was cut short by the War of Succession, the King of Spain Charles II died without descendants and this problem caused a war in Europe, France and the Crown of Castile in favour of Philip V, grandson of Louis XIV, the Sun King, and Charles of Austria, son of Emperor Maximilian, who had the support of England, The end of the war was catastrophic for Catalonia, which was abandoned by the English with whom it had signed an agreement to protect its liberties. King Philip V adopted the French system, based on the laws of Castile, which already had a uniform character, and the country became totally subject to Castilian laws and administrative organisation, We had already noted that at the end of the 17th century an economic renaissance began, based on the formation of capital from agriculture. Thanks to work, the serious moments at the end of the War of Succession were overcome, when the Spanish government established a harsh political, economic and human repression against those who had remained in the country and who had stood out as supporters of Charles of Austria,  Many emigrated to Vienna, more or less from 1735 onwards a period of prosperity began, thanks to legal trade with the Mediterranean and above all illegal trade with America, trade reserved only for the Crown of Castile, until well into the 18th century the peoples of the Crown of Aragon could not legally trade with America, despite the prohibition, trade with America based on fabrics and eau-de-vie, helped the formation of more capital and was the basis of the pre-industrial stage, first and the true industrial revolution in the 19th century, the only one in accordance with European models that took place in Spain, with a handicap and that is that Catalonia had neither iron nor coal, the basis of the first industrialisation, when the steam turbine appeared things changed, the industry of the Basque Country was a different story, These economic changes generated a bourgeoisie that found it very difficult to conquer political power, which made it economically very enterprising and politically very conservative, because it depended, to a large extent, on the Spanish market, especially after its intervention in the fall of the Spanish Ancient Regime and the triumph, at least economically, of liberalism, The triumph of Romanticism in Europe had a great impact on Catalonia, which dreamt of a return to the prosperity of the Middle Ages. This early literary and artistic movement sought formulas at the end of the 19th century, firstly federalism, which failed because it had no support in Castile, and due to its failure, the birth of autonomism which, after a dictatorial period (1923-1930), found an understanding in the republican period 1931-1936, 1936-1939 War, the republic, although with cuts, grants autonomy in Catalonia and later in the Basque Country and Galicia, precisely the autonomist policy of the Republic is one of the determinants of the Civil War, the triumph of General Franco is one of the periods of maximum repression against the political personality of Catalonia that lives, also, times of economic misery, especially between 1.940 to 1960. Economic liberalisation and the beginning of tourism revived the Catalan economy. With the death of General Franco, political freedoms were recovered and there was renewed talk of autonomy, which was achieved in 1980, always, however, with many misgivings on the part of the Madrid government, The orographic composition of Catalonia gives it a characteristic climate and vegetation, although it is, in general, a Mediterranean climate and vegetation, in Catalonia we find with more or less proportion all the climates of Western Europe, we think that in some places separate the sea from the mountains between 2500 and 3000 meters high only about 100 km. On the other hand, the coastal mountain range next to the sea and the pre-coastal mountain range some 30 or 40 km from the coast with peaks of more than 1000 m, sometimes 1700 m., make the territory behind the coastline a very varied one, This variety of climates is a guarantee for the development of tourism, one of the important sources of wealth for many years and which allows the development of other types of tourism, apart from those who only seek the sun, otherwise, Catalonia has an important artistic wealth, the Iberian world, the Roman world, the Romanesque and Gothic arts of the Middle Ages, modernism with Gaudí as its leader, as well as some internationally renowned painters such as Picasso who began his activity art in Barcelona, ​​Miró, Dalí and Tapies, all these aforementioned arts and characters generally have specific museums dedicated to these arts and this work, the fact that Barcelona brings together an important part of the artistic legacy ico Catalan, it does not mean that there are no other places worth visiting such as the museums of Montserrat, Tarragona, Vic, Girona, Lleida, Badalona, ​​Mataró, etc., and above all a large number of local museums, the total number is close at five hundred.

Jordi Monés

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