Spain-Unit 3 Country Essay
The Fight for Independence Spain, a powerhouse country in not only Europe, but in the world. Spain might seem like a perfect county, but inside it there are conflicts brewing among the people. The cause of this unrest is due to the suffocating constraint Spain has put upon the Catalan’s economic, historical, and cultural independence. Now Catalonia has begun to informally vote on the succession from Spain, showing that the Catalan’s are not playing around; which is perfectly fair because the Catalan’s should be able to secede from Spain and become an independent country through a referendum. Source: The Spanish Flag of Spain. 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. http://www.spain-flag.eu/.
Background Catalonia ( toponym for the region of northeastern Spain) is a small community within Spain that comprises of the four provinces of Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona (formal region). Catalonia is situated in the space between Spain and the border of France (as shown in the map below). Since Catalonia is a mainly anonymous community most people do not know much on the history of Catalonia and how it came to be in its current position. The history of Catalonia is extensive and goes very far back in time. In the ninth century, Barcelona was established as a country north of the Muslim country of Spain. In 1469 when Ferdinand I of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile married, they united both of their kingdoms (including Catalonia) and created Spain. The Catalans lead two major wars; from 1640-1652 the Reapers War began over taxation from King Philip IV, then in 1808 the Catalans began another war called the First Carlist War. Both times Catalonia remained part of Spain. Though, in the nineteenth century new political theories were arising, soon to put an end to the traditional ways of kings (Pontiac Tribune). The Spanish Civil War was the terrifying turning point for Catalonia; when the Republic of Spain was defeated, Francisco Franco rose to power as dictator. The Franco Regime banned/restricted many celebrations, languages, customs, media, political, and cultural ideas that are connected with Catalan Nationalism, Anarchism, Socialism, Democracy or Communism (the Spanish Holocaust). The Franco Regime is still a main cause of unrest throughout the Catalans even though they have since adopted the democratic Spanish Constitution in 1978. Today, the Catalans are still living as though they were under the Franco Regime. Thanks to the Catalan President Josep Tarradellas and the Spanish Constitution, some of Catalonia’s autonomy was restored after the death of Francisco Franco, but the Statue of Autonomy (1979) combined with some articles of the Spanish Constitution set many restrictions on Catalonia’s freedom.
Source: Saga Board
Why do the Catalans want to succeed? There are two major reasons why, but both lead back to the same idea; Catalan’s want to “reset the relationship between Catalonia and Spain” (Catalonia Votes) and “resentments over discrimination by the power centers in their respective states. Like many other Europeans, they feel cheated by their governments’ response to the Great Recession” (The Nation).That includes getting back Catalonia’s autonomy and identity as a separate country. To begin, Catalonia is a huge economic advantage for Spain. With a population of over 7.5 million people, Catalonia brings in about 192 billion Euros (about 239 billion dollars) into Spain’s 1 trillion Euro (about 1.24 trillion dollars) economy. Also, it produces 24% of manufacturing production and 20% of wholesale and retail sale/trade in Catalonia alone. Their main exports are chemical-based products, automotive, food and drink, textile, metallurgy, machinery, and electric (in that order); totaling about 58 billion euros (about 72.2 billion dollars) (Venture Spain). If Spain were to lose this economic asset, the result on Spain’s already fragile economy would be…