A Thousand Years of Catalan History

By Vallverdu, Francesc | UNESCO Courier, May 1989 | Go to article overview

A Thousand Years of Catalan History


Vallverdu, Francesc, UNESCO Courier


TEN centuries ago, the Count of Barcelona severed the ties of feudal loyalty that bound him to his liege lord, the King of France. From then on, a territorial, social and political entity centred on the ancestral house of Barcelona grew in strength and, from the thirteenth century onwards, was known as Catalonia.

As a marchland and the outpost of Carolinglan Europe in Muslim Spain during the High Middle Ages, and the driving force behind Catalan and Aragonese expansion between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries, Catalonia has a historical continuity of which even many Spaniards are unaware. Hence, the commemoration of its birth" a thousand years ago is more than a strictly political event.

Catalonia is a small territory of some 32,000 square kilometres which is situated in the north-eastern corner of the Iberian peninsula and forms part of the kingdom of Spain. However, historical Catalonia included part of southern France, and even today some people think of Catalonia as encompassing the Catalan-speaking regions of Valencia, the Balearic Iselands, Andorra, and the French Departement of Pyrenees Orientales. But let us leave polemics aside. The region referred to in this article is the autonomous community of the "Generalitat de Catalunya", whose capital is Barcelona.

In geographical terms, present-day Catalonia is a triangular-shaped region bounded in the north by the mountain chain of the Pyrenees, in the east and south by the Mediterranean, and in the west by the provinces of Aragon and Valencia, which are irrigated by the River Ebro. There is a wide variety of climate and relief. In the north are the Pyrenees, whose limestone spurs extend southwards. The transversal north-eastern cordillera and the Mediterranean coastal ranges make a contrast with the Ebro basin and the coastal plains. Although the climate is predominantly Mediterranean, the high mountain areas are Alpine in character.

From barely two million in 1900, Catalonia's population has risen to six million today. The increase is primarily due to immigration, which has compensated for the low birth rate of the Catalan population.

Catalonia is one of Europe's most economically dynamic regions. It occupies a pre-eminent position in the Spanish economy, along with Madrid and the Basque region. The industrial sector is particularly strong and is concentrated on textiles, paper and the graphic arts, chemicals and metallurgy, and tourism.

A dynasty that ruled for 5 centuries

Some 3,000 years ago the region was settled by Iberian tribes with which the Phoenicians and Greeks established trade relations, and in the third century BC it became part of the Roman province of Hispania. As elsewhere in Spain, Roman civilization left an indelible mark on the language, culture and law of Catalonia, which even inherited its agricultural and fishing techniques from Rome.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Hispania was invaded by Germanic tribes and later by the Moors. In the eighth century AD, Charlemagne set up a number of vassal earldoms in the eastern Pyrenean region of France as marchlands facing Muslim Spain. When the Count of Barcelona became independent of the French kings in the tenth century, he established a dynasty that would govern Catalonia for the next five centuries. In the twelfth century, the Count of Barcelona became, through marriage, the king of Aragon. From then onwards, the CatalanAragonese confederation, also known as the Crown of Aragon, expanded into the eastern part of the Iberian peninsula. It conquered Valencia, the Balearic Islands and later Sardinia, Naples and Sicily, and eventually reached Greece and North Africa. This was a splendid period of Catalan culture. Among its artistic and intellectual highlights were its Romanesque (see page 29) and later Gothic, art and architecture and in literature the work of the thirteenth-century philosopher and mystic Ramon Llull and the fifteenth-century poet Ausias March. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Thousand Years of Catalan History
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.