Motto: "Catalunya lliure"
Anthem: Cant de la senyera
The flag's soong
Location of the Catalan Republic
and largest city
|Official languages||Catalan, occitan|
|Recognised regional languages||Spanish|
• Catalan counties
• New Plant decret
September 11, 2014
|31,895.11 km2 (12,314.77 sq mi) (136nd)|
• 2014 estimate
• 2010 census
|240/km2 (621.6/sq mi)|
|GDP (PPP)||2012 estimate|
|$25.554 billion (115th)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2012 estimate|
|$19.420 billion (105th)|
• Per capita
Error: Invalid Gini value · 97th
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|Currency||Corona (CC) (SCE)|
|Time zone||CCT (UTC0)|
• Summer (DST)
|Date format||dd/mm/yyyy (CE)|
|Drives on the||right|
|Patron saint||Saint George|
Catalonia (English /kætəˈloʊniə/, /kætəˈloʊnjə/; Catalan: Catalunya [kətəˈɫuɲə] or [kataˈluɲa]; Spanish: Cataluña [kataˈluɲa]) is an independent republic between France and Spain. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona and the center of one of the largest metropolitan areas in Europe. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 square kilometres (12,399 sq mi) and has an official population of 7,535,251.
It comprises the larger part of the territory of the former Principality of Catalonia, with the remainder of the historic Catalan region now part of southern France. Catalonia borders France and Andorra to the north, Spain to the west and south and the Mediterranean Sea to the east (580 km [360 mi] coastline). The neighbouring Spanish regions of Aragon and the Valencian Community lie to the west and south respectively. The official languages are Catalan (own language of Catalonia), Aranese (Occitan), and Spanish; Catalan Sign Language is also officially recognised. The Catalan government intends to hold a referendum on independence from Spain in 2014.
The name Catalunya (Catalonia) began to be used as homeland of "Catalans" (Catalanenses) in the late 11th century, probably used before as a mere territorial area in reference to a group of counties that comprised part of the March of Gothia and March of Hispania under the control of the Count of Barcelona. The origin of the name, Catalunya, is subject to diverse interpretations because of a lack of evidence.
One theory suggests that Catalunya (Latin Gathia Launia) derives from the name Gothia or Gauthia ("Land of the Goths"), since the origins of the Catalan counts, lords and people were found in the March of Gothia, known as Gothia, whence Gothland > Gothlandia > Gothalania > Catalonia theoretically derived. During the Middle Ages, Byzantine chroniclers claimed that Catalania derives from the local medley of Goths with Alans, initially constituting a Goth-Alania.
The climate of Catalonia is diverse. The populated areas lying by the coast in Tarragona, Barcelona and Girona provinces feature a Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa). The inland part (including the Lleida province and the inner part of Barcelona province) show a mostly continental Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa). The Pyrenean peaks have a mountain (Köppen H) or even Alpine climate (Köppen ET) at the highest summits, while the valleys have a maritime or oceanic climate sub-type (Köppen Cfb).
In the Mediterranean area, summers are dry and hot with sea breezes, and the maximum temperature is around 26–31 °C (79–88 °F). Winter is cool or slightly cold depending on the location. It snows frequently in the Pyrenees, and it occasionally snows at lower altitudes, even by the coastline. Spring and autumn are typically the rainiest seasons, except for the Pyrenean valleys, where summer is typically stormy.
The inland part of Catalonia is hotter and drier in summer. Temperature may reach 35 °C (95 °F), some days even 40 °C (104 °F). Nights are cooler there than at the coast, with the temperature of around 14–17 °C (57–63 °F). Fog is not uncommon in valleys and plains; it can be especially persistent, with freezing drizzle episodes and subzero temperatures during winter, along the Segre and in other river valleys.
Most of Catalonia belongs to the Mediterranean Basin. The Catalan hydrographic network consists of two important basins, the one of the Ebro and the one that comprises the internal basins of Catalonia, all of them flow to the Mediterranean. Furthermore, there is the Garona river basin that flows to the Atlantic Ocean, but it only covers the 1.73% of the Catalan territory.
The hydrographic network can be divided in two sectors, an occidental slope or Ebre river slope and one oriental slope constituted by minor rivers that flow to the Mediterranean along the Catalan coast. The first slope provides an average of 18,700 cubic hectometres (4.5 cu mi) per year, while the second only provides an average of 2,020 hm3 (0.48 cu mi)/year. The difference is due to the big contribution of the Ebre river, from which the Segre is an important tributary. Moreover, in Catalonia there is a relative wealth of groundwaters, although there is inequality between comarques, given the complex geological structure of the territory. In the Pyrenees there are many small lakes, remnants of the ice age. The biggest is the one of Banyoles.
The Catalan coast is almost rectilinear, with a length over 500 kilometres (310 mi) and few landforms—the most relevant are the Cap de Creus and the Gulf of Roses to the north and the Ebre Delta to the south. The Catalan Coastal Range hugs the coastline, and it is split into two segments, one between L'Estartit and the town of Blanes (the Costa Brava), and the other at the south, at the Costes del Garraf.
The principal rivers in Catalonia are the Ter, Llobregat, and the Ebre, all of which run into the Mediterranean.
Catalonia was a Spanish autonomous community with a high-level of self-government until 2014. Politics of Catalonia are primarily related to the autonomous Parliament of Catalonia and the Generalitat institutional system. Convergence and Union has been described as being "long the region's dominant political party".
Catalan politics also influences Spanish politics as a whole due to the presence of Catalan nationalist parties in the Spanish Parliament, whose political support is often required by any given winner of the Spanish general elections to form majorities. Catalan politics is also noted, to a lesser extent, for the influence exerted by the Catalan Socialist Party on its sister major party, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE).
Administrative and territorial division
Further information: Municipalities of Catalonia
Main article: Comarques of Catalonia
Comarques (Shires) are entities composed by the municipalities to manage their responsibilities and services. The current regional division has its roots in a decree of the Generalitat de Catalunya of 1936, in effect until 1939, when it was suppressed by Franco. In 1987 the Government adopted the territorial division again and in 1988 three new comarques were added (Alta Ribagorça, Pla d'Urgell i Pla de l'Estany). At present there are 41. After the indepence in 2014 the comarques shires are for cultural use and not administrative use.
The comarca of Val d'Aran (Aran Valley) has a special status and its autonomous government is named Conselh Generau d'Aran.
Main article: Vegueries of Catalonia
The vegueria is a new type of division defined as a specific territorial area for the exercise of government and inter-local cooperation with legal personality. The current Statute of Autonomy states vegueries are intended to supersede provinces in Catalonia, and take over many of functions of the comarques.
The territorial plan of Catalonia (Pla territorial general de Catalunya) provided six general functional areas, but was amended by Law 24/2001, of December 31, recognizing the Alt Pirineu i Aran as a new functional area differentiated of Ponent. On 14 July 2010 the Catalan Parliament approved the creation of the functional area of the Penedès.