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Sample Essay on Catalonia’s Independence: What Do They Really Strive For?

December 21st, 2017

catalonia’s independenceThis article is important because it describes a complex, current event that affects many people. Although most of those involved have strong feelings one way or another in regards to Catalonia’s independence, it is important to understand the issues and facts affecting the crisis in the region.

The eyes of the world have been focused on Catalonia and Spain since Catalonia voted to achieve independence. Spanish officials have said that they will not support their independence. The reasons why so many desire the secession are complex and multifaceted. Catalonia’s multi-century struggle for independence, a growing nationalist movement within Catalonia, and its status as a driving force in Spain’s economy all led to the historic vote to separate from Spain. Although it is uncertain as to whether or not Catalonia will ever achieve the independence that so many of its citizens desire, the region will continue to be in crisis until a decision is reached.

Catalonia has struggled to gain independence from Spain for centuries. The fight for independence dates back to 1714. During that year, Philip V captured Barcelona. Since that time, separationists have sought independence from Spain. The movement for independence failed to gain traction for centuries. However, in 1932, Spanish officials granted Catalonia a degree of autonomy. Unfortunately for those who supported that decision, that progress was undone when General Francisco Franco came to power in 1939. Franco did his best to suppress secessionists, even killing many of them. Still, despite his efforts, pockets of resistance continued to persist. Their movement continued to gain momentum.

As the push for independence slowly gathered supporters, the region experienced a sharp rise in nationalism. That campaign continued to gain support despite the efforts of Spanish officials in the 1930s. Throughout the 20th century, support continued to grow, rising abruptly after 2000. In 2006, less than 16 percent of Catalans favored independence. By 2012, that number rose to nearly 45 percent. By the time the vote was taken this year, 90 percent of those polled voted for independence from Spain. Many Catalans do not see themselves as citizens of Spain, but instead identify solely as belonging to Catalonia. They feel that they exist independently of Spain.

It is no surprise that so many Catalans feel little allegiance to Spain. For hundreds of years, Catalonia has been a critical part of Spain’s economy. It’s been such a driving force, that many Catalans feel that it contributes more to Spain than it receives in return. In fact, Catalonia’s economy accounts for nearly 20 percent of Spain’s GDP. They have long been an industrial power. In addition to exporting a variety of goods, Catalonia has established itself as a hub for financial and technology companies. Many Catalans feel that their powerful presence as a world power separates them from the rest of Spain.

Catalonia’s struggle for independence dates back more than 300 years. The drive towards secession culminated this year when 90 percent of voters chose to break away from Spain. The long road to independence, a rise in Catalonian nationalism, and its economic power have all driven the majority of Catalans to seek independence. Although officials in Spain have deemed the vote illegal and repeatedly tried to stop the secession, time will tell if Catalonia is ever able to truly achieve independence.

References:

  1. Badcock, H. A. (2017, October 05). Why does Catalonia want independence from Spain? Retrieved November 15, 2017, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/does-catalonia-want-independence-spain/
  2. Erickson, A. (2017, October 27). Analysis | Catalonia’s independence vote: What you need to know. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/09/30/catalonia-independence-referendum-spain/?utm_term=.1dbcafdfdfb8
  3. Gillespie, R. (2015). Contesting Spain? the dynamics of nationalist movements in Catalonia and the Basque Country. London: Routledge, 89.
  4. Harris, S. (2014). Catalonia is not Spain: a historical perspective. 4Cats Books, ii.
  5. Jones, S. (2017, September 21). Why do some Catalans want independence and what is Spain’s view? Retrieved November 14, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/21/why-do-some-catalans-want-independence-and-what-is-spains-view
  6. Jones, S. (2017, October 2). After the Catalan referendum: what happens next? Retrieved November 14, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/02/after-the-catalan-referendum-what-happens-next
  7. Minder, R. (2017). Struggle for Catalonia: rebel politics in Spain. London: Hurst & Company, 20.
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