On Sunday, Oct. 1, Catalonia, a region of Spain, officially declared independence from its former country. Catalonia has been a part of Spain since its genesis as a united state in the 15th century, when King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile married and united their two realms of land. During the 19th century, Catalonian citizens began to experience autonomous sentiments and revived a more independent Catalan identity.
After General Francisco Franco’s forces overtook Barcelona in 1939, Catalonia lost a great deal of its autonomy and independence. In 1977, Catalonia was granted a degree of autonomy, but many did not feel as though this was enough, still hoping for full independence. In addition, Barcelona, the region’s capital city, has long been Spain’s strongest economic center. After the economic crisis in Spain, Catalonia felt even more inclined to achieve independence in order to sustain their strong economy and separate from the rest of Spain.
The Pinewood Community has students that have connections to Catalonian citizens and can feel effects of its separation. Senior Carolina Rodriguez Steube has distant relatives that grew up in Catalonia, including her great-grandmother.
“I don’t know too much about it, but I think it’s great that the people of Catalonia were able to effect the change they wanted. I know there has been cultural conflict in the past because they have different languages, and Catalonia had always been a separate region in Spain even before it had officially achieved independence. I hope that this independence helps the people of Catalonia reinforce their identity as a community and their unique culture,” said Rodriguez Steube.