- Comarques of Catalonia
This is a list of the comarques (singular "comarca") of Catalonia (Spain). A comarca is roughly equivalent to a US "county" or a UK "district". However, in the context of Catalonia, the term "county" can be a bit misleading, because in medieval Catalonia, the most important rulers were counts, notably the Counts of Barcelona and of Urgell. Comarques have no particular relation to the "counties" that were ruled by counts.
Although today the comarques are officially recognized, for centuries they had existed unofficially, with citizens identifying with a particular comarca in the same way that people in other parts of the world might identify with a particular region.
In some cases, comarques consist of rural areas and many small villages centering around an important town, where the people of the region traditionally go to shop or to sell their goods. This is the case of comarques such as the Pla d'Estany, centered around the town of Banyoles, or the Ripollès, centered around the town of Ripoll. In other cases, comarques are larger areas with many important population centers that have traditionally been considered part of the same region, as in the case of the Empordà or Vallès.
The current official division of Catalonia into comarques originates in an order of the semi-autonomous Catalan government under the Spanish Republic in 1936. It was superseded after the 1939 victory of Francisco Franco's forces in the Spanish Civil War, but restored in 1987 by the re-established Generalitat of Catalonia. Since the definition of comarques is traditionally a non-official and sometimes ambiguous, many new proposals have been made since the comarques were first officially designated as different towns attempt to adjust the official comarques with what they consider to be their traditional comarca. As a result, some revisions to the official division were made in 1988, adding Pla de l'Estany, Pla d'Urgell and Alta Ribagorça) and in 1990, when some borders were adjusted. As of 2004[update] there was discussion of possibly further subdividing some of the comarques. 
The articles in naming
Because the Catalan language has a relatively complex set of rules for the form of the definite article, and because (in Catalan) the names of comarques (except for Osona) typically take the definite article in any position except as the subject of a sentence, the following list indicates the appropriate form of the definite article for each comarca. Because Val d'Aran is an Aranese-speaking area, it is often written as "era Val d'Aran", using the Aranese definite article.
List of comarques
Comarca Capital Population Area (km²) l'Alt Camp Valls 35,635 544.7 l'Alt Empordà Figueres 99,321 1,357.5 l'Alt Penedès Vilafranca del Penedès 80,976 592.4 l'Alt Urgell La Seu d'Urgell 19,105 1,446.9 l'Alta Ribagorça Pont de Suert 3,477 426,8 l'Anoia Igualada 93,529 866.6 el Bages Manresa 155,112 1,295.2 el Baix Camp Reus 145,675 695.3 el Baix Ebre Tortosa 66,369 987.9 el Baix Empordà La Bisbal d'Empordà 102,566 700.5 el Baix Llobregat Sant Feliu de Llobregat 692,892 486.5 el Baix Penedès El Vendrell 61,256 295.5 el Barcelonès Barcelona 2,093,670 143.1 el Berguedà Berga 37,995 1,182.5 la Cerdanya Puigcerdà 14,158 546.4 la Conca de Barberà Montblanc 18,766 648.9 el Garraf Vilanova i la Geltrú 108,194 184.1 les Garrigues Les Borges Blanques 18,999 799.7 la Garrotxa Olot 47,747 734.2 el Gironès Girona 136,543 575.5 el Maresme Mataró 356,545 396.9 el Montsià Amposta 57,550 708.7 la Noguera Balaguer 34,744 1,733.0 Osona Vic 129,543 1,263.8 el Pallars Jussà Tremp 12,057 1,290.0 el Pallars Sobirà Sort 6,174 1,355.2 el Pla de l'Estany Banyoles 24.347 262.7 el Pla d'Urgell Mollerussa 29,723 304.5 el Priorat Falset 9,196 496.2 la Ribera d'Ebre Móra d'Ebre 21,656 825.3 el Ripollès Ripoll 25,744 958.7 la Segarra Cervera 18,497 721.2 el Segrià Lleida 166,090 1,393.7 la Selva Santa Coloma de Farners 117,393 995.5 el Solsonès Solsona 11,466 998.6 el Tarragonès Tarragona 181,374 317.1 la Terra Alta Gandesa 12,196 740.0 l'Urgell Tàrrega 31,026 586.2 era Val d'Aran Vielha e Mijaran 7,691 620.5 el Vallès Occidental Sabadell, Terrassa 736,682 580.7 el Vallès Oriental Granollers 321,431 851.9
The following municipalities changed comarca in 1990, mostly following local referendums:
There are some other comarques which are often referred as historical comarques of Catalonia, because their present territory was part of the former Principality of Catalonia, but they are not currently within the Autonomous Community of Catalonia.
Comarca Capital Current status el Rosselló (Roussillon) Perpinyà (Perpignan) Northern Catalonia / Part of France l'Alta Cerdanya Font-romeu (Font-Romeu-Odeillo-Via) Northern Catalonia / Part of France el Capcir Els Angles (Les Angles) Northern Catalonia / Part of France el Vallespir Ceret (Céret) Northern Catalonia / Part of France el Conflent Prada de Conflent (Prades) Northern Catalonia / Part of France
Administration and government
In the Autonomous Community of Catalonia, the comarca exists as a local government area, and has a representative consell comarcal (comarcal council).
- (Catalan) The Institut d'Estadística de Catalunya is an excellent source of statistical information for Catalonia, down to the level of individual municipalities. It is also our source for which municipalities are in which comarca. Parts of the site are in English and Spanish, although most of it is in Catalan.
- (Catalan) Comarcàlia - Information about the various comarques in a variety of languages, including English. Includes good maps down to the level of individual municipalities (or, as they choose to translate, "boroughs").
- (Catalan) History of present comarcal division. Catalonia, La Franja and Northern Catalonia.
By Autonomous Community
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