Catalonia is known for its serene beaches and fine wine but there is an unprecedented unrest in the northeastern part of Spain. Despite the growing calls for independence from the people of the crisis-hit region, the Spanish government decided to reject the notion. The reluctance of national government and persistence of local bodies resulted in violent clashes on Sunday.
The violence is not an immediate consequence of strife between the people and the government, rather it was a boiling pot waiting to explode which took years in making.
Here we take a look at the history of Catalonia in 10 brief points:
1150: Catalonia and Aragon were united after the ruling dynasts eloped and left the united territory for their successors to rule.
1714: King Philip V was the last ruler who oversaw the territory as united till the creation of modern-day Spain in the subsequent year.
1931: There were continuous protests from Catalonian people to maintain their identity and autonomy but after several failed attempts to suppress this separatism, the then rulers established Generalitat (local government).
1939: General Francisco Franco’s rule began in Spain and he ruled with an iron fist, especially Catalonia. The dictator destroyed the separatists and smothered the autonomy of the region.
1975: Francisco Franco’s power waned and ultimately ended and Catalans were declared autonomous again after 3 years.
2006: A statute described Catalonia as a ‘nation’ and granted greater powers to the supremely rich region.
2010: Several of the autonomous powers were revoked from the region by the national Constitutional Court which triggered the existing anger within the people.
2014: Unofficial polls were conducted by the Catalan government where 80% of the 5.4 million voters expressed their desire to be independent.
2015: Catalans elected separatists into power who backed people’s call for total autonomy from Spain. The elected bodies decided the secession of Catalonia from Spain in 2017 but the Spanish Constitutional Court suspended the plan.
2017: The local government announced in June that the referendum for independence will take place on October 1.
It’s the day of the referendum in Catalonia and police has shut down 1350 polling stations out of 2300. The violence that erupted between Catalans and the police has resulted in more than 400 injured people. In order to cast their vote, several of the voters took to the internet but the authorities have blocked the internet services as well in the violence-hit region.