Located in the North-Eastern corner of the Iberian peninsula, Catalonia is one of the oldest nations in Europe, with origins traced back to the 8th century, with the Frankish counties established to contain the advance of Muslim armies in the Iberian peninsula. But even long before that, my homeland has always been a crossroad of cultures and civilizations: even before the Romans made Tarraco the capital of Hispania Tarraconensis at 27 aC, Greeks, Phoenicians and Carthaginians founded colonies and established trading routes in our coastline, sparking a social and cultural bustle in the region.
We got the first and oldest Government and Parliament of Europe, with effective popular participation since the fall of the Roman Empire, even before Britain did; with the Crown of Aragon, our territories spread across the Mediterranean through commerce thanks to the Consolats de Mar, and through blood by our almogàver troops, which spread fear of Catalans across Europe and Asia Minor during the XIV century.
But what in medieval times was a powerful nation, with influence and rule spreading across and beyond the Mediterranean sea, later became an autonomous region, possessing restricted powers, devolved as seen fit by the central state, even enduring two dictatorships which brought a bloody repression on anything Catalan. But despite all these circumstances, we were always able to thrive on.
Nowadays Catalonia sees a social, cultural and economic resurgence, accompanied by a change of political demands from federalism to a total independence from Spain. Thanks to the rich heritage from the many cultures that have been here and helped build the Catalan identity, our nation today is not based on ethnicity, but on integration and the belonging to a community with shared interests, language, culture, identity and aspirations.
I can’t help myself missing it sometimes, but it is all part of the wandering…
Fadigues, plujes, neus, calors resistirem, y si’ns abat la sòn, pendrèra per llit la terra, y si’ns rendeix la fam carn crua menjarem! Desperta ferro! Avant! Depressa com lo llamp!
— Victor Balaguer