Catalan people

Catalan people

ethnic group

caption = Salvador Dalí·Pau Casals·Antoni Gaudí·Jacint Verdaguer
population = Over 7 million
region1 = flag|Spain
pop1 = 7,210,508
ref1 = lower| []
region2 = flag|France
pop2 = 303,000
ref2 = lower| [ Catalans by country] ]
region3 = flag|Argentina spaces|9(estimates vary)
pop3 = 178,000 or 176,000
ref3 = lower|0.75em| lower|1.35em| [ [ Catalanes en Cuba] ]
region4 = flag|Cuba
pop4 = N.A.
ref4 =
region5 = flag|Mexico
pop5 = 53,000
ref5 =
region6 = flag|Germany
pop6 = 49,000
ref6 =
region7 = flag|USA
pop7 = 44,000
ref7 =
region8 = flag|Andorra
pop8 = 27,000
ref8 =
region9 = flag|Italy
pop9 = 22,000
ref9 = [ [ Ethnologue] ]
region10 = flag|Venezuela
pop10 = 5,500
ref10 =
region11 = flag|Chile
pop11 =
ref11 =
rels=Roman Catholicism, Atheism, Agnosticism
langs=Catalan, French, Spanish
related=Aragonese, Valencians, Castilians and other Spanish peoples; Occitans
The Catalans are the people from Catalonia, an autonomous community of Spain, including people originating in that region but living elsewhere. The inhabitants of the adjacent portion of southern France – known in Catalonia proper as "Catalunya Nord" ("Northern Catalonia"), and in France as the "Pays Catalan" – are often included in this definition.

Historical background

The history of Catalonia involves major events that have shaped the western Mediterranean and local histories that often overlap with those of modern Spain and France. The area that is now Catalonia was inhabited by early Iberian peoples and later Celts dubious who fused into a people known as the Celtiberians dubious by the 8th century BCE. These groups came under the rule of various invading groups starting with the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, who set up colonies along the coast, including Barcino (present-day Barcelona) itself. Following the Punic Wars, the Romans replaced the Carthaginians as the dominant power in Catalonia by 206 BCE. Rome established Latin as the official language and imparted a distinctly Roman culture upon the local population, which merged with Roman colonists from the Italian peninsula. An early precursor to the Catalan language began to develop from a local form of popular Latin before and during the collapse of the Roman Empire. Various Germanic tribes arrived following nearly six centuries of Roman rule, which had completely transformed the area into the Roman province of Tarraconensis. The Visigoths established themselves in the 5th century CE and would rule the area until 718 when Muslim Arabs and Berbers conquered the region and held it for close to a century. The Franks held back small Muslim raiding parties which had penetrated virtually unchallenged as far as central France; Frankish suzerainty extended over much of present-day Catalonia. Larger wars with the Muslims began with the Spanish March which led to the beginnings of the "reconquista" (reconquest) by Catalonian forces over most of Catalonia by the year 801. It was during this period that a Catalan national identity fully emerged as Barcelona became an important center for Christian forces in the Iberian peninsula.

Catalonia emerged from the conflicts in Muslim Spain as a regional power, as Christian rulers entrenched themselves in the region during the Carolingian period. Rulers such as Wilfred the Hairy became masters of a larger territory encompassing Catalonia. The Crown of Aragon included Catalonia, Aragon, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. The marriage of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon and the conquest of the last Muslim kingdom of Granada in 1492 tied Catalonia politically to the fate of the new Spanish kingdom, while a regional culture continued to survive and thrive.

Some sporadic regional unrest led to conflicts such as the Revolt of the Germanies in Valencia and Majorca, and the 1640 revolt in Catalonia known as the Reapers' War. This latter conflict embroiled Spain in a larger war with France as many Catalan nobles allied themselves with Louis XIII. The war continued until 1659 and ended with the Peace of the Pyrenees which effectively partitioned Catalonia as the northern strip of the March came under French rule, while the rest remained under Spanish hegemony. Still restive under Spanish rule, most Catalans took sides for the Habsburg pretender against the Bourbon one during the War of the Spanish Succession that started in 1705 and ended in 1714. The Catalan failure to defend the perpetuation of Habsburg dynasty in Spain culminated in the surrender of Barcelona on September 11, 1714, which came to be commemorated as Catalonia's national day.

During the Napoleonic Wars, much of Catalonia was seized by French forces by 1813 as France ruled the entire region briefly until driven out by British and Spanish armies in 1814. In France, strong assimilationist policies integrated many Catalans into French society, while in Spain a Catalan identity was increasingly suppressed in favor of a national identity. The Catalans regained autonomy during the Spanish Second Republic from 1932 until Francisco Franco's nationalist forces retook Catalonia by 1939. It was not until 1975 and the death of Franco that the Catalans began to fully regain their right to their cultural expression, which was established by the Spanish Constitution of 1978. Since this period, a balance between a sense of local identity versus the broader Spanish one has emerged as the dominant political force in Catalonia. The former tends to advocate for even greater autonomy and/or independence; the latter tends to argue for maintaining the status quo. As a result, there tends to be much fluctuation depending on regional and national politics during a given election cycle. Given the stronger centralist tendencies in France, however, French Catalans display a much less dynamic sense of uniqueness, having been integrated more consistently into the unitary French national identity.


The vast majority of Catalans reside in Spain, where they number over 7 million. At least 100,000 Catalan speakers live in France, while over 31,000 live in Andorra and 20,000 in Italy (principally in Sardinia). An indeterminate number of Catalans emigrated to the Americas during the height of the Spanish Empire with important colonies establishing themselves in Chile, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, as well as throughout mainland Latin America. [ [] ]

Culture and society

Described by author Walter Starkie in "The Road to Santiago" as a subtle people, he sums up their national character with a local term "seny" (pronounced IPA|/seɲ/) meaning common sense or a pragmatic attitude towards life. The "masia" or "mas" is a defining characteristic of the Catalonian countryside and includes a large house, land, cattle, and an extended family, but this tradition is in decline as the nuclear family has largely replaced the extended family, as in the rest of western Europe. Catalans in Spain are recognised as a "nationality" and enjoy a high degree of political autonomy, leading to reinforcement of a Catalan identity.

However, it should be noted that for the majority of Catalans, a sense of Catalan identity is not viewed as being mutually exclusive with the Spanish one; a large majority of people feel both Catalan and Spanish. Comparable examples exist in other large European states with strong regional identities, such as Bavaria within Germany and Sicily within Italy. In contrast, the situation in France has been sharply different as French policies have favored the assimilation of Catalans. This has reduced the number of citizens who identify themselves as such within the French Republic, which has sought to make all within France feel French exclusively since its very inception.


The Catalan language is a Romance language of the Gallo-Iberian group. It is the language closest to Occitan, and it shares many features with other Italo-Western languages such as Aragonese, French, Portuguese and Spanish. Apart from the most widely spoken dialect, Central Catalan, there are some other varieties that scientifically are considered dialects of Catalan.

The number of Catalan speakers is well over 7 million, but exact figures are difficult to obtain. In Spain, this is due to the fact that very few Catalan-only speakers exist: nearly all are bilingual speakers of Catalan and Spanish. In France, given the exclusive promotion of the state language (i.e. French) in areas where the language was not indigenously spoken (such as the south), it is difficult to know the status of any of the native minority tongues, Catalan included.

In September 2005, the .cat TLD, the first Internet language-based top-level domain, was approved for all webpages intending to serve the needs of the Catalan linguistic and cultural community on the Internet. This community is made up of those who use the Catalan language for their online communications or promote the different aspects of Catalan culture online.

Traditional clothes

The traditional clothes (now, practically only used in folkloric celebrations) included the "barretina" and the "faixa" among men and "ret" among women. The traditional footwear was the "espardenya".


Traditional diet

The Catalan diet is part of the Mediterranean diet. They fry with olive oil, and milk is widely consumed. Catalan people eat poultry more than the red meat, and like to eat veal ("vedella") and mutton ("xai").

There are three main daily meals:
* In the morning: a very light breakfast, consisting of fruit or fruit juice, milk, coffee, or "pa amb tomàquet" "bread with tomato". Catalans tend to divide their breakfast into two parts: one early in the morning before going to work or study (first breakfast), and the other one between 10:00 and 12:00 (second breakfast).
* In the afternoon (roughly from 13:00 to 14:30): the main meal of the day, usually comprising three dishes. The first consists of pasta or vegetables, the second of meat or fish and the third of fruit or yogurt. It is common to drink moderate quantities of wine.
* In the evening (roughly from 21:00 to 22:30): more food than in the morning but less than at lunch. Very often only a single big dish and fruit.

In Catalan gastronomy, "embotits" (a wide variety of Catalan sausages) are very important; these are pork sausages such as "botifarra" or "fuet". In the past, bread (similar to French bread) figured heavily in the Catalan diet; now it is used mainly in the morning (second breakfast, especially among young students and some workers) and supplements the noon meal, at home and in restaurants. Bread is still popular among Catalans; some Catalan fast-food restaurants don't serve hamburgers but offer a wide variety of sandwiches.

In the past, the poor ate soup every day and rice on Thursday and Sunday.

The discipline of abstinence, not eating meat during Lent, was once very strong but has practically disappeared in the 20th century.

Spicy food is rare in the Catalan diet, but there are quite spicy sauces such as "allioli" or "romesco".

Traditional dishes

One type of Catalan dish is "escudella" soup which contains chick peas, potatoes, and vegetables such as green cabbage, celery, carrots, turnips, and meats like "botifarra" (a Catalan sausage), pork feet, salted ham, chicken, and veal. In Northern Catalonia, it's sometimes called "ollada".

Other Catalan dishes are "calçots" (similar to leeks and often eaten with a romesco sauce) and "escalivada".


Catalan music has one of the oldest documented musical traditions in Europe.Fact|date=August 2008


The majority of Catalans are of the Roman Catholic tradition, while significant numbers of Catalans profess either no religion or appear to be atheists or agnostics.

ocial conditions

Catalonia is one of the richest and most well developed regions in Southern Europe.Fact|date=August 2008 Barcelona is among the most industrialized metropolises and is both a regional capital and a magnet for various migrants from other regions in Spain as well as from foreign countries.

Catalan people have made numerous cultural contributions, from art and architecture to film and science.

Identity and nationalism

Due to the continued identification with a distinct identity, many Catalans support Catalan nationalism or Catalan independentism in Spain and, to a lesser extent, in France. In Spain, identification with such political currents occurs in conjunction with changes in the political environment at the state and regional levels. In contrast, many other Catalans tend to downplay what these individuals term "national" identity as being just one of the several unique regional cultures of the modern Spanish state.

Famous Catalans

ee also

*History of Catalonia
*Catalan independentism
*Catalan myths and legends
*Nationalities of Spain
*Òmnium Cultural


*Balcells, Albert et al. "Catalan Nationalism : Past and Present" (Palgrave Macmillan, 1995).
*Collier, Basil. "Catalan France" (J.M. Dent and Sons Ltd., 1939).
*Conversi, Daniele. "The Basques, the Catalans and Spain: Alternative Routes to Nationalist Mobilization" (University of Nevada Press, 1997). ISBN 1850652686.
*Guibernau, Montserrat. "Catalan Nationalism: Francoism, Transition and Democracy" (Routledge, 2004).
*Hargreaves, John. "Freedom for Catalonia?: Catalan Nationalism, Spanish Identity and the Barcelona Olympic Games" (Cambridge University Press, 2000).
*Simonis, Damien. "Lonely Planet Catalunya & the Costa Brava" (Lonely Planet Publications, 2003).
*Starkie, Walter. "The Road to Santiago" (John Murray, 2003).
*"Michelin THE GREEN GUIDE France" (Michelin Travel Publications, 2000).:Puntual references

Online references

* [ US Library of Congress Country Studies: The Catalans]
* [ Catalans] , World Culture Encyclopedia
* [ Ethnologue for Catalan language]
* [ Lletra. Catalan Literature Online]
* [ Catalans in France]
* [ Catalan Resources]
* [ Catalan Identity]
* [ Museum of the History of Catalonia]
* [ Catalanism]
* [ Catalan Dancing]
* [ The Spirit of Catalonia] . 1946 book by Oxford Professor Dr. Josep Trueta

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Communist Party of the Catalan People — Partit Comunista del Poble Català Leader Miguel Guerrero Ideology Communism Marxism Leninism Website …   Wikipedia

  • Catalan — can refer to:* Catalan people * Catalan language * Catalan wine * An inhabitant of Catalonia * Catalan Ornithological Institute * Eugène Charles Catalan, a mathematician * Catalan solid, a concept in mathematics * Catalan number, a concept in… …   Wikipedia

  • Catalan Republic — Infobox Former Country native name = Estat Català conventional long name = Catalan State common name = Catalonia continent = Europe era = year start = 1934 date start = October 6 year end = 1934 date end = October 7 p1 = Second Spanish Republic… …   Wikipedia

  • Catalan nationalism — Catalan nationalism, or Catalanism (from Catalanisme in Catalan), is a political movement advocating for either further political autonomy or full independence of Catalonia.Intellectually, Catalanism departs from the unsuccessful attempts to… …   Wikipedia

  • Catalan language — Catalan, Valencian català, valencià Pronunciation [kətəˈɫa] (EC) [kataˈla] (WC) [valensiˈa] (V) Spoken in …   Wikipedia

  • Catalan American — Catalan Americans are residents of the United States who acknowledge Catalan ancestry and self identify with it. The group is formed by Catalonia born (Spain or France) naturalized citizens or residents, their descendants and, to a lesser extent …   Wikipedia

  • Catalan —    Catalan is the most widely spoken language in Spain, after Spanish. It is the (co )official language of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencia, although, given the close relationship between linguistic status and political autonomy,… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture

  • Catalan grammar — is the grammar of the Catalan language.Morphology For general discussion of morphology (not specific to Catalan) see main article Morphology (linguistics). Articles and nounsIn Catalan, all nouns (including those referring to inanimate objects or …   Wikipedia

  • Catalan Bay — ( es. La Caleta) is a small bay and fishing village on the eastern side of Gibraltar, on the far side of the Rock from the main city.EtymologyThe true origin of the name of Catalan Bay is unknown, but a couple of theories exist. The first… …   Wikipedia

  • Catalan Communications — Industry Publishing Founder(s) Bernd Metz Headquarters New York 43 East 19th Street Key people Bernd Metz Elizabeth Bell Products Comics …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.