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Catalans (Països Catalans)

Catalans (Països Catalans)

ETHNONYM: Catalonians

Orientation

Identification. Catalans can be defined by participation in the historical polity of Catalonia, which occupies the northwest Mediterranean coast and eastern Pyrenees. Some areas of the formerly independent political unit now form separate regions in contemporary Spain and France: Valencia, the Balearics, and Roselló (Pyrenees Orientales). Andorra constitutes an independent state. Together these are known as the "Països Catalans" (Catalan countries). The traditional primary language of the polity is Catalan, a Romance language, although most inhabitants are bilingual (in Spanish or French). In the contemporary Països Catalansafter two centuries of industrial development and immigrationlanguage, residence, cultural traits (food, arts, etc.), heritage, and political affiliation are complex and ambivalent markers of ethnic, class, and national membership.

Location. Catalonia is located between 40° and 42° N and 0° and 3° E. Roselló lies at about 42° N and between 1° and 4° E. Valencia falls between 38° and 40° N and 2° W and 1° E. The Balearic Islands lie between 38° and 40° N and between 1 ° and 4° E. The total land surface is 69,032 square kilometers; in Spain, the Països Catalans occupy 13 percent of the land surface while in France, Roselló occupies less than 1 percent of the land surface. The countryside is predominantly mountainous, dropping from the Pyrenees (above 3,000 meters) and the Iberian system to the Mediterranean coast. The most important rivers, the Ebre (Ebro) and Xúquer (Júcar), originate outside the Països Catalans, while the rest of the hydrographic network consists of small, intermittent rivers that flood periodically. The climate is Mediterranean, characterized by a season in which heat and dryness coincide from June to September, with strong rains in September/October and April/May. The eastern and southern regions are extremely arid (less than 30 centimeters precipitation per year).

Demography. Regional populations of the Països Catalans are: Catalonia, 6,079,903 (1987); Valencia, 2,918,714 (1987); Balearics, 671,233 (1987); Roselló, 349,100 (1986); and Andorra, 49,976 (1986). Catalans constitute 28 percent of the population of Spain; Catalans in France, by contrast, represent less than 1 percent of the national population. Population density averages 176 persons per square kilometer, and the population is stable. Approximately 9,000,000 speak Catalan; almost all are bilingual. Immigrants account for the majority of Spanish or French monolinguals.

linguistic Affiliation. Catalan is a Romance language derived from Latin and written with the Roman alphabet. It has 7 vowels and 27 consonants. Dialects are associated with the historical divisions previously cited, including Valencian, Mallorquí, Menorquí, and Eivissenc.


History and Cultural Relations

Settlement in Catalonia antedates historical records, with Paleolithic and Neolithic remains. Successive immigrations have included Celts, Iberians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans (who established a capital in Tarragona in the first century b.c.e.), Jews, Visigoths, Arabs, and Gypsies. Barcelona was reconquered from the Arabs in 801 and became capital of the Frankish county of Catalonia. Catalonia became independent about 988, uniting with the Kingdom of Aragon in the twelfth century. Balears and Valencia were reconquered from Arab domination in the thirteenth century. The Catalan-Aragonese empire also extended into Sardinia, Naples, Sicily, and Greece as its mercantile society and culture flourished. At the end of the fifteenth century, its population neared 700,000. In 1469, King Ferdinand of Aragon and Catalonia wed queen Isabella of Castile and Leon, uniting the two kingdoms that became the foundation of Spain. For centuries thereafter, Catalans struggled to preserve political and cultural autonomy as the Mediterranean region lost power to Atlantic states. Bids for independence were defeated by the central state in 1640-1659 (at which time Roselló was incorporated into France) and in the early eighteenth century. Nonetheless, the subsequent growth of trade with Spain's New World colonies and of industry, especially textiles, gave Catalonia new economic power in the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, a rich Catalonia has attracted immigrants from the rest of Spain while seeking to redefine its relationship to the centralized state. Under the Second Spanish Republic (1931-1939), especially during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, Catalans sought new forms of autonomous government; Franco's victory brought an intense repression of the polity, its culture, and its language. Under the Spanish democratic regime (1977), the Països Catalans have regained autonomy within the reorganized state, and a revitalization of Catalan language and culture has been evident in Spain, with repercussions as well in France.


Settlements

Catalans have been urban for millennia. Major cities include Barcelona (with a metropolitan area of 3,000,000), Valencia, Palma de Mallorca, Tarragona, Perpinyà (Perpignan), Lleida, and Girona. All tend to be based on Roman models, although they have undergone extensive development subsequently, especially in the past century. Cities tend to be centered on civil, Catholic church, and commercial activities, which form a core network rather than occupying a single central space. The urban landscape is extremely dense, as is typical of the Mediterranean. Residences, long associated with professional quarters and workplaces, are now more often separated from work and tend to reflect class-linked variations on a shared pattern of multistory apartment buildings. The rural Països Catalans center on the mas, an agricultural household production unit, with dispersed populations in the north and larger villages in the south. Northern houses consist of extended-family dwellings above barns and storage areas, developed on a Roman pattern; southern houses are simpler but encompass wide variations. Since the industrial era, rural areas have been invaded from urban centers and, in the past twenty years, by intensive tourism, both internal and external.

Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Roughly 10 percent of the active population of the Països Catalans is engaged in agriculture, with 45 percent in industry and 45 percent in service. The last is the most productive sector (60 percent of the net product), mainly because of international tourism.

Agricultural production is dominated by arboriculture: citrus, grapes, and olives, all of which are now highly industrialized in production. The need for irrigation constrains other crops, although rice is characteristic of Valencian agriculture and cuisine. The typical production unit is a horta (huerta ), a small, single-family irrigated garden of less than one hectare. These gardens produce domestic foodstuffs as well as flowers and specialties for urban markets. Domestic animals may include cattle, pigs, and sheep, but milk and meat products are generally industrialized. Fishing, despite a long economic and cultural tradition, has largely disappeared.

The Països Catalans lack natural energy resources for industry; growth relied on imported fuels until the construction of nuclear reactors. Cottage industries in the eighteenth century gave way to family-controlled urban factories and rural mill towns (colònies ) in the nineteenth. Textiles were the foundation of growth; chemicals, leather, construction materials, automobiles, and appliances have also been important, organized as government or multinational corporations. Commerce and finance were linked to industrial growth, especially in the development of a petite bourgeoisie (shopkeeper and small merchant) infrastructure.

Division of Labor. This follows gender and class. Women of rural and working-class households participate actively in the production process; middle-class and upper-class women have been less incorporated into the labor market than in similar developed areas. Class division has been a source of conflict for centuries.

Land Tenure. The Països Catalans are typified by small and medium landholdings; even among the bourgeoisie, money tends to be heavily invested in land, both rural and urban.


Kinship, Marriage, and Family

Kin Groups and Descent. Traditional Catalan kinship is based on the stem family and a designated heir, generally an elder male. This pattern has been increasingly nuclearized in cities, although ties across generations remain strong. Descent is bilateral; kinship terminology is equivalent to the rest of Latin Europe with an emphasis on the nuclear family and designation of generational and affinal distance.

Marriage. Catalans are monogamous, following Catholic tradition. Civil marriage has been permitted in Spain since 1968, divorce since the 1980s. Both were available earlier in France. There are no marriage rules beyond minimal Catholic exogamy, although land and economic interests have shaped marriages in rural areas as well as among urban elites. In rural traditions, the inheriting couple resides with the heir's family. Neolocal residence is more common in the city, although economic limitations on space may preclude it.

Domestic Unit. Coresidence of the productive unit has been a cultural ideal, and the unit may include grandparents, siblings and families, children and spouses; this is more common in the countryside than in cities. The past three decades have seen a dramatic rupture in domestic relations throughout the Països Catalans.

Inheritance. In Catalan customary law, two-thirds of the property was given to the designated heir, and the rest was divided equally among all surviving children, including the heir, constituting the dowry or a professional stake for other siblings. After 1555, three-quarters was allotted to the heir. Customary law may still be invoked, but generally equipartite division seems to dominate, at least in cities.

Socialization. Children are raised primarily by mothers with help of other female kin or servants. Fathers have variable but limited involvement. Schooling was dominated by the Roman Catholic church until the establishment of post-Franco governments, which have greatly expanded all youth services.


Sociopolitical Organization

The Països Catalans today encompass regions in Spain and France and the independent state of Andorra.

Social Organization. Catalan society, since the Middle Ages, has been divided into socioeconomic groups based on occupation, descent, wealth, and prestige markers (education, cultural goods). Medieval and early modern categories of nobility, clergy, merchants, and artisans have given way since the nineteenth century to modern capitalist divisions. Successive waves of modern immigrants have been incorporated as workers with marked social and cultural discrimination. Conflict has been intense and often violent.

Political Organization. The Països Catalans now comprise three autonomous Spanish regions and eight provincesCatalunya (four provinces), the Comunitat Valenciana (three), Illes Balears (one)as well as a French department and the Principat of Andorra, administered by sindics representing its joint rulers, the bishop of the Seu d'Urgell and the president of France. Local administration is heavily fragmented. Municipal and autonomous governments ("Generalitats" in Catalonia and Valencia, the "Consell" in Balears) have been elected by universal suffrage in Spain since 1977. France has a longer tradition, but in Andorra voting citizens account for only 25 percent of the population. Spain and France have party systems in which class and nationalist interests are debated. Services are distributed among all levels of government. Taxes are paid to municipal governments and to the state, which redistributes part of them: the Spanish national budget is 25 percent for local administrations, 10 percent for autonomous regions, and 65 percent for national services. Països Catalan citizens also vote for European parliament members and participate in Common Market programs.

Social Control. Values of authority, tradition, and the importance of appearance are inculcated through school, home, and church. Formal systems of control include police, prisons, and the army, organs of the national state against which Catalan governments have attempted to construct their own agencies. Conflict between Catalonia and the central state, as well as internal class conflicts, have been recurrent themes of Catalan history.


Religion and Expressive Culture

Religious Beliefs and Practices. For centuries, the Roman Catholic church has provided the dominant belief system, while also being an important actor in Catalan society. This identification of the Catholic church and Catalan culture has been weakened by industrialization, secularism, and cultural contact. Most Catalans are Catholic by baptism and observe other Catholic life-cycle rites, but many do not practice regularly. Only one-third of those in Spanish Catalonia identified themselves as Catholic in 1988. Jews lived in the area until their expulsion in the early modern period; synagogues and mosques are now found in Barcelona and other metropolitan centers as a result of recent immigration. There are also active Protestant and evangelical communities, the latter including many Gypsies. Religious leaders are generally specialized males, but Catalonia also has many men and women in religious orders in schools and charity work as well as monasteries and convents.

Ceremonies. The religiously based calendar, now secularized and politicized, includes: New Year's Day (January 1); Reis (Epiphany and distribution of gifts, January 6) ; Carnestoltes (Carnivals); Pasqua Florida (Easter); Pasqua Granada (Pentecost); Sant Jordi (feast of Saint George, the patron saint, April 23); a group of primarily summer festivals of fire and fireworksSant Josep (feast of Saint Joseph, or "Falles" in Valencia, March 19), Sant Antoni (feast of Saint Anthony, June 13, in Balears), Sant Joan (feast of Saint John, June 24) and Sant Pere (feast of Saint Peter, June 29); Dia dels Difunts (Day of the Dead, November 2); and Nadal (Christmas, December 25). Sunday is the general weekly holiday. Saints and apparitions of the Virgin Mary figure in regional and local cycles as well as folklore, legend, toponyms, and personal names.

Arts. Catalan culture is one of the richest in Europe, traceable to the artistic, architectural, and literary golden age in the Middle Ages and early modern period. Urban, elite, and educated culture has coexisted with folk traditions to the present. Urban culture declined in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but it revived in the nineteenth century with the growth of industrial wealth. Catalan expression, however, was limited by Francoist repression. Well-known figures from the Països Catalans, important in development of local and international culture, include: Ramon Llull, Ausiàs Marc, and Ramon Muntaner in early writings; Salvador Espriu, Vincente Blasco Ibáñez, and Llorenç Villalonga in contemporary literature; Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and Pablo Picasso (formative period) in painting; Antoni Gaudí, Aristides Maillol, and Josep Lluís Sert in architecture and plastic arts; and Pablo Casals and Montserrat Caballé in music. Folk traditions of note include music and dancing, especially the sardana, a Mediterranean circle dance that has become a national symbol; gastronomy and wine; ceramics; and various forms of textile design.


Bibliography

Elliott, J. H. (1963). The Revolt of the Catalans: A Study in the Decline of Spain (1598-1640). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Gran enciclopedia catalana (1968-1980). 15 vols. Barcelona: Editorial Gran, Enciclopedia Catalana. 2nd ed. forthcoming.

Hansen, Edward (1977). Rural Catalonia under the Franco Regime: The Fate of Rural Culture since the Spanish Civil War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

McDonogh, Gary (1986). Good Families of Barcelona: A Social History of Power in the Industrial Era. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Vilar, Pierre (1962). La Catalogne dans l'Espagne moderne. Paris: S.E.V.P.E.N.

Woolard, Kathryn A. (1989). Double Talk: Bilingualism and the Politics of Ethnicity in Catalonia. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

CARLES CARRERAS AND GARY W. McDONOGH

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Catalans

Catalans

PRONUNCIATION: CAT-uh-lanz

LOCATION: Northeast Spain

POPULATION: About 6 million

LANGUAGE: Catalan

RELIGION: Roman Catholicism

1 INTRODUCTION

The Catalan people live in an area of northeast Spain called Catalonia. Historically, Catalonia also included Valencia, Andorra, the Balearic Islands, and the French department (or province) called Pyrenees Orientales. Speakers of the Catalan language can still be found in these areas. Following centuries of foreign rule, Catalonia became an independent political entity in ad 988 and united with the Kingdom of Aragon in 1137. Together, the two regions established an empire that eventually extended to Sardinia, Naples, Sicily, and Greece. After the marriage of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in the fifteenth century, the kingdoms of Aragon and Catalonia were united with Castile and León. After this union, the Catalans struggled for centuries to preserve their political and cultural identity.

By the nineteenth century, Catalonia had become a major economic power in Spain due to trade and industrialization. It has remained one of Spain's wealthiest and most developed regions. It has attracted large numbers of immigrants from the south throughout the twentieth century. During the years of Francisco Franco's dictatorship (193975), Catalan regionalism was suppressed and the local language outlawed. In 1979, Catalonia became an autonomous region with its capital at Barcelona. In 1992, it gained the international spotlight as host to the Summer Olympic Games.

2 LOCATION

Catalonia is located in Spain's northeastern corner. It is roughly the size of the state of Maryland. It is bound to the north by the Pyrenees mountains, to the east and south by the Mediterranean Sea, to the southwest by Valencia, and to the west by Aragon. The region is dominated by the Pyrenees. Catalonia is divided into four administrative provinces: Lleida, Girona, Barcelona, and Tarragona. A fifth region within Catalonia is Andorra, a small country jointly governed by France and Spain.

Catalonia has a population of approximately 6 million people, roughly 15 percent of Spain's total population. Much of the region's population growthup from barely 2 million in 1900is due to immigration. Over 25 percent of Catalonia's inhabitants live in Barcelona.

3 LANGUAGE

Catalan is the official language of Catalonia. It is also spoken in Valencia, Andorra, the Balearic Islands, and the French department (or province) of Pyrenees Orientales. Catalan is a Romance language like French, Italian, and Castilian Spanish. It is similar to the Provençal language spoken in the south of France. From the late 1930s to the mid-1970s, Catalan, like other regional languages in Spain, was suppressed by the Franco regime. Now the language can be heard on television and radio and is taught in the schools. Road signs in Catalonia are printed in both Catalan and the national language, Castilian. The most common Catalan names are Jordi (the equivalent of George) for men, and Montserrat and Núria for women. Catalan was the official host language for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

English Catalan
beach platja
good day bon dia
please si us plau
welcome benvinguts
common sense seny

4 FOLKLORE

Catalan folklore has been strongly influenced by Roman Catholicism. Saints and visions of the Virgin Mary play a prominent role in legends, tales, and customs.

5 RELIGION

The majority of Catalans, like most other people in Spain, are Roman Catholic. However, the role of religion has decreased in the lives of many people in the region. This is due to the industrialization and modernization of Catalonia, as well as to outside cultural influences. Most Catalans mark major events such as baptism and marriage with the appropriate religious ritual. However, many are not regular churchgoers. Religious minorities include Protestants, evangelical Christians, and Jews.

6 MAJOR HOLIDAYS

Catalans celebrate the standard holidays of the Christian calendar. Other religious dates include Epiphany (Reis) on January 6; Easter Monday, in March or April; the Feast of St. George (Sant Jordi), Catalonia's patron saint, on April 23; Pentecost (Pasqua Granada), in May; and several summer festivals marked by fires and fireworks, including the feasts of St. Anthony on June 13 (in Balears); St. John on June 24; and Sts. Peter and Paul on June 29. The Catalan national holiday is La Diada on September 11. The Day of the Dead (Dia Dels Difunts) is celebrated on November 2. Boxing Day (December 26) is also observed.

Towns and villages celebrate their patron saints' days every year in a "main festival," or fiesta major. This climaxes in an all-night dance. All Catalan festivals are marked by the dancing of the sardana, the Catalan national dance. Another typical feature is the presence of ritual figures called giants (gegants) and bigheads (capgrosses), enormous papier-mache forms that are carriend in processions. The grotesque bigheads are objects of jokes and mockery.

7 RITES OF PASSAGE

Besides baptism, first communion, and marriage, military service can be considered a rite of passage for Catalans, as it is for most Spaniards. The first three of these events are the occasion, in most cases, for big and expensive social gatherings in which the family shows its generosity and economic status. Quintos are the young men from the same town or village going into the military in the same year. They form a closely knit group that collects money from their neighbors to organize parties and serenade girls. In the mid-1990s, the period of required military service has been greatly reduced. The government planned to replace required military service with a voluntary army.

8 RELATIONSHIPS

The Catalans generally have a reputation for being hard-working, ambitious, and conservative. In contrast to the passionate flamenco of the Andalusians, their national dance is the stately sardana. They tend to regard themselves as European rather than Spanish. They spend little time in other parts of Spain, preferring to vacation either in their own region or abroad in France, Italy, or England.

9 LIVING CONDITIONS

Homes in northern Catalonia often house an extended family above a first floor that is used as a barn and/or storage area. Traditionally, Catalan homes and workplaces were often combined into a single building. This type of arrangement has become less common with urbanization and the spread of multistory apartment buildings.

10 FAMILY LIFE

Economic interests have traditionally played an important role in rural, and even some urban, marriages. According to custom, one son inherited all the family property. This resulted in the creation of many wealthy estates but also in a high rate of emigration. In cities, the nuclear family (parents and children) make up the household. In the country, a family may include grandparents as well as aunts and uncles. Men have a limited role in child-rearing, which is primarily the responsibility of the mother and female relatives or nannies. The last three decades have seen a weakening of family ties among many Catalans.

11 CLOTHING

Catalans wear modern Western-style clothing. Their tastes tend to be more conservative than those of their neighbors in other regions. Traditional male Catalan garb includes the distinctive barretina, a sock-shaped, red woolen hat that can be seen at festivals. It is often worn with a white shirt and black slacks and vest. Women's festive costumes include elaborate lacework in both black and white.

12 FOOD

Catalonia has a rich culinary tradition. The earliest Spanish cookbook in existence was written in the Catalan language in the fourteenth century. Typically Mediterranean flavors predominate in Catalan cuisine. These include olive oil, garlic, onions, tomatoes, nuts, and dried fruits. A favorite Catalan dish is escudella I carn d'olla, a boiled meal-in-a-pot comparable to the French potau-feu. Meats and sausages are simmered with vegetables; the broth is then served with pasta as a first course, with the rest served as the main course. Catalonians are fond of mushrooms. About six dozen edible varieties grow in their homeland. Mushrooms often appear sautéed as an appetizer (tapas) or as an ingredient in soups, sauces, and stews. A Catalan staple, eaten as a snack or a meal accompaniment, is pa amb tomáquet, bread smeared with tomato and sprinkled with oil and salt.

13 EDUCATION

Catalan children, like other Spanish children, receive free, required schooling between the ages of six and fourteen. Many students then begin the three-year bachillerato (baccalaureate) course of study. Following this, they may opt for either one year of college preparatory study or vocational training. Schooling in Catalonia was dominated by the Catholic Church until the 1970s. An expansion of educational services followed the Franco regime. Study of the Catalan language is required in the region's schools.

14 CULTURAL HERITAGE

In art and architecture, Catalonia is especially prominent in connection with two widely separated periods: Romanesque, and modernist. The region contains some 2,000 buildings erected during the Romanesque period, which flourished from around ad 1000 to 1250. At the turn of the twentieth century, the modernist style was championed by architects including Antoni Gaudí, Josep Puig I Cadafalch, and Lluís Domènech. Great painters include Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Salvador Dalí. Each has a museum in Barcelona devoted to his work. Well-known contemporary Catalan writers include Salvador Espriu and Llorenç. Prominent twentieth-century musicians from Catalonia include cellist Pablo Casals and opera singers Montserrat Caballé and José Carreras.

15 EMPLOYMENT

About 10 percent of Catalans in the labor force are engaged in agriculture, 45 percent in industry, and 45 percent in the service sector (jobs that serve the public directly). Catalan has a thriving tourism business. Much agricultural work is performed on small, family-owned plots. Fruits and vegetables are grown, and animals, including cattle, pigs, and sheep, are raised. Catalonia is one of the top five industrialized regions of Europe. Catalan industrialization began with textile production in the nineteenth century. Other important industries include chemicals, leather, construction materials, automobiles, and appliances. The region also has the greatest number of small, high-tech companies in Spain.

16 SPORTS

Soccer (called fútbol ) is Catalonia's most popular participant sport. Fishing, sailing, and hiking or climbing in the Pyrenees are other favorite outdoor activities. Winter sports include Nordic and cross-country skiing, ice skating, and ice hockey. Squash, tennis, and golf are also widely played. The 1992 Summer Olympics were held in Barcelona.

17 RECREATION

Like other people in Spain, the Catalans enjoy watching television. The fine arts have played an important role in the Catalonian heritage. Catalans enjoy going to opera houses, theaters, and museums in Barcelona and other cities. Catalans generally vacation in their own region, usually going to the same place every year. They also enjoy traveling abroad to other European countries.

18 CRAFTS AND HOBBIES

The Catalan national dance is the sardana. It is performed at festivals and other special occasions throughout the country. Dancers form a circle, holding their clasped hands high in the air. Short, quiet steps alternate with longer, bouncy ones. The bands that play music for the sardana are called coblas. They consist of the flabiol, a three-holed flute that is played with one hand while the player beats a small, elbow drum called a tabal; woodwind instruments called tenoras and tibles; the brass trompeta, fiscorn, and trombó; and the contrabaix, or double bass. A regular sardana session, or audació, consists of half a dozen dances, each lasting about ten minutes. Marathon sessions called aplecs, however, include twenty-four dances played by three or four different coblas and last all day. Group singing is very popular among Catalans, and many belong to traditional Catalan choirs.

19 SOCIAL PROBLEMS

As Spain's most prosperous region, Catalonia has been spared many social problems. Catalan efforts to maintain cultural identity and independence have remained peacefulunlike those of the Basques. The traditional Catalan family structure has been weakened in the postwar decades. Immigration to the region has resulted in social and cultural discrimination.

20 BIBLIOGRAPHY

Lye, Keith. Passport to Spain. New York: Franklin Watts, 1994.

Schubert, Adrian. The Land and People of Spain. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

Williams, Roger. Catalonia. Insight Guides. Singapore: APA Publications, 1991.

WEBSITES

Spanish Foreign Ministry. [Online] Available http://www.docuweb.ca/SiSpain/, 1998.

Tourist Office of Spain. [Online] Available http://www.okspain.org/, 1998.

World Travel Guide. Spain. [Online] Available http://www.wtgonline.com/country/es/gen.html, 1998.

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Catalans

Catalans

LOCATION: Spain (Catalonia region in the northeast)
POPULATION: About 7 million
LANGUAGE: Catalan
RELIGION: Roman Catholic

INTRODUCTION

The Catalan people live in an area of northeast Spain—Catalonia—that was officially declared an autonomous region in 1979. Historically, Catalonia also included Andorra, the Bale-aric Islands, and the French department (or province) called Pyrenees Orientales—areas where speakers of the Catalan language can still be found. Following centuries of foreign rule by the Romans, Visigoths, and Moors, Catalonia became an independent political entity in ad 988 and united with the kingdom of Aragon in 1137. Together, the two regions established an empire that eventually extended to Sardinia, Naples, Sicily, and Greece. After the marriage of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in the 15th century united the kingdoms of Aragon and Catalonia with those of Castile and León, the Catalans struggled for centuries to preserve their political and cultural identity. In the mid-17th century, part of their territory—called Roselló—was incorporated into France, and a bid for Catalan independence in the following century failed.

However, by the 19th century Catalonia had become a major economic power in Spain due to the growth of trade and the coming of industrialization, an area in which it was a pioneer. It has remained one of Spain's wealthiest and most developed regions, attracting large numbers of immigrants from the south throughout the 20th century. During the years of Francisco Franco's dictatorship (1939-1975), Catalan regionalism was suppressed and the local language outlawed. Following Franco's death and the installation of a democratic national government, Catalonia attained the status of an autonomous region—the Generalitat de Catalunya—with its capital at Barcelona.

In 1992 it gained the international spotlight as host to the summer Olympic games. The same year marked an economic milestone for the region, together with the rest of Spain, as the country was fully integrated into the European Community. Autonomous Catalan government has a Statut d'Autonomia; on August 2006 a reformed version of the Statut was approved.

LOCATION AND HOMELAND

Covering an area of roughly 32,000 sq km (1,236 sq mi)— about the size of Maryland—Catalonia is located in Spain's northeastern corner. It is bound to the north by the Pyrenees mountains, to the east and south by the Mediterranean Sea, to the southwest by Valencia, and to the west by Aragon. The region is dominated by the Pyrenees; its highest point is Pico de Aneto at 3,404 m (11,176 ft). Its coastline includes the cliffs and coves of the Costa Brava, and the Ebro river, flowing to the Mediterranean, marks its border with Valencia. Catalonia is divided into four administrative provinces: Lleida, Girona, Barcelona, and Tarragona. The Catalan-speaking co-principality of Andorra, in the Pyrenees, is an independent country.

As of 2006 Catalonia had a population of 7,134,697 million people, roughly 15% of Spain's total population. Much of the region's population growth—up from barely 2 million in 1900—is due to immigration, as the Catalan people themselves have a relatively low birth rate. Over one-fourth of the region's inhabitants live in Barcelona, whose population numbers over 1.5 million.

LANGUAGE

Catalan, a Romance language like French, Italian, and Castilian Spanish, is the official language of Catalonia and is also spoken, with regional varieties, in Andorra, the Balearic Islands, and the French department (or province) of Pyrenees Orientales. Road signs in Catalonia are printed in both Catalan and the national language, Castilian. Catalan is similar to the Provençal language spoken in the south of France. From the1930s to the mid-1970s, Catalan, like other regional languages in Spain, was suppressed by the Franco regime. Now that the language can be heard on television and radio and is taught in the schools, the number of Catalan speakers is rising by about 20,000 each year, although Catalan is still spoken by only half the population. However, most residents of Catalonia claim they can understand it even if they are not proficient speakers. The Institut d'Estudis Catalans deals with all elements of Catalan culture, and works on standardizing the Catalan language.

The most common Catalan names are Jordi (the equivalent of George) for men and Montserrat for women. Núria is also a popular woman's name. Catalan was the official host language for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

beachplatja
good daybon dia
pleasesi us plau
welcomebenvinguts
common senseseny

FOLKLORE

Catalan folkloric tradition is distinctive and very rich. A few examples are the sardana, a purely Catalan dance, and the habaneras, choral songs characteristic of the marine localities of the Costa Brava. Many of the religious festivities, like the Patron Saint Day (Festa Major) have a folkloric component, and it is customary to have civic processions in which gegants and capgrossos are paraded (Section 6, Major Holidays), or to have competitions of colles (teams) of castellers. A castell is a human tower built during festivities in many places in Catalonia, and its members usually come from the town of Valls, in the southern part of the country.

Fire has a predominant role in many festivals, and correfocs are amongst the most striking of them. The name comes from groups of men dressed as devils that dance in the streets and throw firecrackers and small rockets. The Feast of La Merced that takes place in Barcelona in September features an enormous correfoc that include fire-breathing dragons. Perhaps the most spectacular of the Catalan fire festivals is the nocturnal Patum of Berga in June, which incorporates dances featuring angels, demons, and mythic characters and animals.

Traditional male Catalan garb includes the distinctive bar-retina, a sock-shaped red woolen hat that can be seen at festivals, often worn with a white shirt and black slacks and vest. Women's traditional festive costumes include much elaborate lacework in both black and white.

RELIGION

The majority of Catalans, like most other people in Spain, are Roman Catholics. However, the industrialization and modernization of Catalonia, as well as outside cultural influences, have decreased the role of religion in the lives of many people in the region. While most Catalans mark major events such as baptism and marriage with the appropriate religious ritual, many are not regular churchgoers. A 1967 law guarantees freedom of religion in Spain. The recent waves of immigration, especially during the 1990s, have lead to an increasing number of Muslims, who have about a million members in Spain. Islam is today the second largest religion in the country, after Roman Catholicism. Other religious minorities include Protestants, evangelical Christians, and Jews. Due to its flourishing industry, Catalonia attracts a steady influx of immigrants, both from the south of Spain and from abroad.

MAJOR HOLIDAYS

In addition to the standard holidays of the Christian calendar, other religious dates celebrated in Catalonia include Epiphany (Reis) on January 6; Pentecost; the Feast of St. George (Sant Jordi), Catalonia's patron saint, on April 23; and several summer festivals marked by fires and fireworks, including the feasts of St. Anthony on June 13 (in Balears), St. John, on June 24, and St. Peter on June 29. The Day of the Dead (Dia dels Difunts) is celebrated on November 2. Instead of Maundy Thursday, which is observed elsewhere in Spain, the Catalans celebrate Easter Monday. Boxing Day, one day after Christmas, is also observed. The Catalan national holiday is La Diada on September 11. Towns and villages celebrate their individual saints' days every year in a "main festival," or festa major, climaxing in an all-night dance that begins as late as 11:00 PM and can last until dawn. All Catalan festivals are marked by the dancing of the sardana, the Catalan national dance. Another typical feature is the presence of ritual figures called giants (gegants), enormous papier-mâché forms up to 4.5 m (15 ft) high, and bigheads (capgrossos), big painted cardboard heads that men wear over their own. They go through the streets and dance accompanied by a group of musicians (donzainers). Each town has its own gegants and capgrosos, and they enter gatherings (aplecs) and competitions.

RITES OF PASSAGE

Besides baptism, first Communion and marriage could be considered rites of passage for Catalans, as with most Spaniards. These events are the occasion, in most cases, for large and expensive social gatherings in which the family shows its generosity and economic status. Compulsory military service, another rite of passage, was abolished in Spain in 2001. The armed forces are now all volunteer.

INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS

The Catalans have a strong sense of national, cultural and linguistic identity, and generally have a reputation for being hard-working, ambitious, and conservative. Since the 1960s, there has been a steady improvement in the Spanish economy mainly due to industrial development and tourism, as well as an evolution in customs. The Catalans frequently travel abroad and have adopted customs from other cultures in the last 25 years or so. The economic prosperity has allowed many people to also have a vacation home in the country or an apartment at the beach.

In the cities, office hours begin at 9:00 AM and traditionally include an extended afternoon lunch break beginning at 2:00 PM. Workers then return to their offices from 4:00 to 7:00 PM. The day typically ends with a walk (paseo) with friends or family and/or visits to neighborhood bars for a few drinks, appetizers (tapas) and conversation. Dinner is often eaten as late as 10:30 PM. In some places, such as Barcelona, however, the traditional afternoon siesta is no longer the rule. Both blue and white collar workers have a paid month vacation which they usually spend by the sea, in the mountains, or travelling abroad. Travel to faraway or exotic places has become quite popular due to the affordable travel packages offered by travel agencies. Like other Spaniards, the Catalans are considered to be friendly and outgoing. It is customary to shake hands and in a social setting women usually kiss their friends on both cheeks. Young groups are formed by co-workers, fellow students or people from the same town that go together to discotheques, organize parties and excursions, and date among themselves. The average citizen spends a great deal of time out of the house. There is an active street life; many people live downtown, frequent bars and restaurants, and go to bed late. Spaniards move from place to place less frequently than Americans and, once they get a job, many aspire to return to their birthplace and settle there. Regional loyalties are usually strong and the new autonomous status of the old provinces has strengthened this feeling. It is not unusual to have lifelong friends known since kindergarten.

LIVING CONDITIONS

Catalonia today is a consumer society that relies on credit cards, loves to go shopping, and is interested in cars, gadgets, and entertainment. Cars are commonplace and have become a problem in big cities (parking, pollution, congested traffic, car theft). The public transportation system is excellent and thus many people who work in cities have moved to towns in the periphery that are now part of suburbia. Catalonia has an excellent system of highways and bus services, and RENFE, Spain's national rail network, connects all major cities and is developing a service of ultrarrapid trains, called AVE. The first of this kind was the Madrid-Sevilla line started for the 1992 World Expo, and it was followed by the Madrid-Barcelona line. There is also a Catalan railway company that services Catalonia. It has bus links with most large European cities, and Barcelona has a clean, well-lighted, modern subway system. Major ports include Barcelona and Tarragona, on the Mediterranean. The region has three international airports; the principal airline serving Barcelona is Iberia, the major Spanish air carrier. In the years preceding the 1992 summer Olympics, a large-scale urban redevelopment program was undertaken in Barcelona. It included a new marina for pleasure cruisers housing Olympic visitors, as well as new highways and a new airport. In addition, 2,000 new apartments were created.

FAMILY LIFE

Economic interests have traditionally played an important role in rural, and even some urban, marriages. According to custom, the older son (l'hereu) inherited all the family property, which resulted in the creation of many wealthy estates but also in a high rate of emigration. In cities the nuclear family makes up the household, while in the country a family may include grandparents as well as aunts and uncles. The last three decades have seen a weakening of family ties among many Catalans. Today's Spanish families are much smaller than in the past and usually have two children, and the mother has most of the responsibility for rearing them. In general, when children reach adolescence, their relationship with their families diverges based on gender. A teenage male, while continuing to revere his mother, begins spending much of his time with other young men, while teenage daughters and their mothers grow closer than ever. Even after a daughter is grown and married, her mother continues to play a prominent role in her life. Yet these traditional patterns are also changing and young men and women are as independent as their economy allows it. Today people live longer lives, have fewer children than before— actually the birth-rate is one of the lowest in Europe—and fewer people live in their homes with extended family members. Spanish people usually marry within their own social class. Only church marriages were recognized in Spain until 1968, when civil ceremonies were first allowed by law. Divorce has been legal since the 1980s.

CLOTHING

Like in the rest of Spain, both in town and in the country, Catalans conform to the average European fashion standards, and boutiques and ready-to-wear shops can be found all over the country. Although many young people wear sports clothes and blue jeans, the average Catalan pays more attention to personal appearance than his or her American counterpart. Businessmen wear a suit and tie, businesswomen dress fashionably in suits or dresses and high heels. The Catalan fashion industry has greatly developed, and it is an important source of income; it produces over 90% of Spain's textiles.

FOOD

Catalonia has a rich culinary tradition. The earliest Spanish cookbook in existence—the Llibre de Sent Sovi—was written in the Catalan language in the 14th century. Typically Mediterranean flavors predominate in Catalan cuisine: olive oil, garlic, onions, tomatoes, nuts, and dried fruits. A favorite Catalan dish is escudella i carn d'olla, a boiled meal-in-a-pot comparable to the French pot-au-feu. Meats and sausages are simmered with vegetables; the broth is then served with pasta as a first course, with the rest served as an entrée. Catalonia is known for its fish casseroles and for cured and smoked meats, such as butifarra, a type of sausage. Popular seafood includes squid, crab, shrimp, fresh sardines and tuna, salmon, trout, and dried and salted codfish.

A Catalan staple, eaten as a snack or a meal accompaniment, is pa amb tomáquet, bread smeared with tomato and sprinkled with oil and salt. Coca is the name given to a type of bread that can either be served with a meal in a style that resembles the pa amb tomáquet (with tomato or garlic, oil, salt, and other toppings such as anchovies) or as a dessert, topped with pine nuts and sugar or crystallized fruit. Other popular desserts include crema catalana, a custard dish topped with caramel; pine nut tarts over cabell d'angel, caramelized spaghetti squash; and postre de músic, or "musician's dessert," the mixture of dried fruit and nuts traditionally given to traveling musicians. Catalan wine and champagne (cava), are excellent and are exported both to Europe and the Americas. Catalans are especially fond of mushrooms, of which about six dozen edible varieties grow in their homeland, and mushrooms often appear sautéed as an hors d'oeuvre (tapas) or as an ingredient in soups, sauces, and stews.

Today's Catalan avant-garde cuisine is well known all over the world: famous chefs are Carme Ruscallada and Ferrán Adriá, who with his El Bulli Restaurant in the Costa Brava tops the European Restaurant Ranking.

EDUCATION

Catalan children, like other Spanish children, receive free, compulsory schooling from the ages of 6 to 16, when many students begin the three-year bachillerato course of study, after which they may opt for either one year of college preparatory study or vocational training. Schooling is both public and private. Today the study of the Catalan language is required in the region's schools. University education is general. Spain has 31 state-run universities and an increasing number of private ones. Students receive a diploma after three years of general study and a Licenciatura upon completing a program of specialized study lasting two or more years. Barcelona has three excellent universities; Universidad Central, Universidad Autónoma, and the most recent, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, a creation of the Catalan Government; there are several other universities, both public and private, in the rest of Cataluña. The Biblioteca Nacional de Cataluña was one of the first libraries in Spain.

CULTURAL HERITAGE

Catalonia has an impressive cultural heritage. Catalan art and architecture is especially prominent in connection with two widely separated periods in the history of art and architecture, Romanesque and modernist. The region contains some 2,000 buildings erected during the Romanesque period, which flourished from around ad 1000 to 1250 (as well as half a dozen impressive Gothic cathedrals). At the turn of the 19th century, the Modernist style was championed by architects like Antoni Gaudí, the builder of the Sagrada Familia church (The Sacred Family), a Catalan shrine, Casa Milá and La Pedrera. Modern-ist painters are Ramón Casas and Santiago Rusiñol. Among the moderns, the great Catalan names are those of Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí, and Antoni Tàpies. Pablo Picasso, perhaps the single most powerful influence on 20th-century art, was not Catalan but spent his formative years in Barcelona. Each one of these artists has a museum in the city devoted to their work. Barcelona has a new Museum of Contemporary Art.

In the middle of the 19th century Cataluña enjoyed a literary revival, called the Renaixença, spearheaded by the poet and priest Jacint Verdaguer. Modernism followed, and then Noucentisme. Well-known 20th-century writers include Salvador Espriu, Mercé Rodoreda, Manuel de Pedrolo, and Llorenç Villalonga. Cataluña is also well represented in the world of music by cellist Pablo Casals and opera singers Montserrat Caballé and Josep Carreras.

Catalan culture was a Guest of Honor at the 2007 Frankfurt Fair.

WORK

Catalonia—one of the top five industrialized regions of Europe—has been called "the factory of Spain." Catalan industrialization began with textile production in the 19th century. Other important industries include chemicals, leather, construction materials, automobiles, and appliances. The region also has the greatest number of small high-tech companies in Spain. La Caixa savings bank is the most powerful of its kind in Europe. The Fira de Barcelona (the Industrial and Commercial Fair of Barcelona) organizes conventions and exhibits of international character in various sectors of the economy.

Since the early 1970s Spain has developed a prosperous tourism industry. Since the 1970s Spain has been the second most visited country in the world after France. In 2007 almost 60 million foreign visitors arrived in Spain. Among the preferred destinations are the Costa Brava beaches and the city of Barcelona. Parallel to summer tourism Catalonia offers cultural tours, international conventions and sports meetings, as well as cruises. There is ample hotel accommodation as well as bed-and breakfast Turismo rural (Country tourism) places and a network of beautiful deluxe Spanish-government-sponsored hotels (Paradores) located in historical buildings.

About 10% of economically active Catalans are engaged in agriculture, horticulture and animal husbandry, 45% in industry, and 45% in the service sector. Seeking higher living standards, many people migrate from the countryside to the cities and to industrialized areas, like Barcelona and other parts of Cataluña. Spain's economic prosperity attracts a growing work force (some it enters the country illegally) coming from economically or politically unstable areas. It mainly comes from North- and Sub-Saharan Africa, Spanish America and the East of Europe. The majority work in agriculture and in construction.

SPORTS

The most popular sport is soccer (called fútbol). League matches are played on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from September through May, with tournaments in the summer. Madrid has two teams in the top division, and Barcelona's team, known as Barsa, is world-famous. It forms the basis of a sporting club, with over 100,000 members, one of the oldest such clubs in Europe. Membership passes from father to son, and some 80,000 members, called culés, have permanent seats for matches in the Camp Nou stadium, the largest in Europe and the second largest in the world. The Futbol Club Barcelona is a Catalan institution, as they say, Més que un club ("More than a club"). The 1992 Olympics were hosted in Barcelona. Basketball and tennis are also gaining popularity as spectator sports.

ENTERTAINMENT AND RECREATION

Catalans generally vacation in their own region, although they also enjoy traveling abroad to other countries. Participant sports include fútbol, cycling, squash, hunting and fishing, sailing, tennis, golf, and horseback riding, hiking or climbing in the Pyrenees. Winter sports include Nordic and cross-country skiing, ice skating, and ice hockey. There are many excellent beaches in the Costa Brava and the Costa Daurada, and ski resorts in the Pyrenees.

Many, especially the young, prefer to go to the beach in summer and to the countryside and the mountains for hikes and picnics. In the evenings, they go dancing or have a drink with friends. The mild climate has fostered an active night life, much of it outdoors in the streets, plazas, taverns, and restaurants. A dinner date may take place as late as 10:00 or 11:00 pm and be followed by a trip to a local club.

The fine arts have played an important role in the Catalonian heritage, and according to their cultural level, Catalans enjoy frequenting the opera houses, theaters, and museums in Barcelona and other cities. Like other people in Spain, the Catalans enjoy go to concerts, to the theater, and to movies, and watching television; most TV stations in the region broadcast in the Catalan language.

FOLK ART, CRAFTS, AND HOBBIES

The Catalan national dance is the sardana, a circle dance universally performed at festivals and other special occasions throughout the country. The dancers form a circle, holding their clasped hands high in the air. Short, sedate steps alternate with longer, bouncy ones, and dancers must pay close attention to the music to know when it is time for each type of step. While the sardana only attained its present form in the 19th century, it is based on an older dance that was formerly held in the open air after certain church services. The bands that play music for the sardana are called coblas and consist of the flabiol, a three-holed flute that is played with one hand while the player beats a small elbow drum called a tabal; woodwind instruments called tenoras and tibles; the brass trompeta, fis-corn, and trombó; and the contrabaix, or double bass. A regular sardana session, or audació, consists of half a dozen dances, each lasting about 10 minutes. Marathon sessions called aplecs, however, include 24 dances played by three or four different coblas and last all day. Group singing is very popular among Catalans, and many belong to traditional Catalan choirs.

SOCIAL PROBLEMS

As Spain's most prosperous region, Catalonia has been spared many social problems, and Catalan efforts to maintain cultural identity and independence—unlike those of the Basques— have remained peaceful, centering largely on the Catalan language, whose use was forbidden during the Franco era and previously as well. The traditional Catalan family structure has been weakened in the postwar decades, and immigration to the region has resulted in social and cultural discrimination and sometimes violent conflict. With the rest of the developed countries of the world Spain shares a drug problem and crime in the big cities.

GENDER ISSUES

Like in the rest of Spain, Catalan women have an increasingly prominent role in society. Approximately 15% of Spain's armed forces are women and the Defense Secretary in 2008 was a woman. Many women hold municipal and government posts as councilwoman, mayor, university professor, or director general, and several have been, and are, ministers of the crown, employed or manage businesses, and a large percentage go to the university. Evidence of the secular nature of contemporary Spain can be seen in the widespread support for the legalization of same-sex marriage in Spain; in June 2005 a bill was passed to allow gay marriage, making Spain the third country in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Carreras, Carles, and Gary W. McDonogh. "Catalans." In Encyclopedia of World Cultures (Europe). Boston: G. K. Hall, 1992.

"Catalonia." Nation's Business (May 1988): 66.

Conversi, Daniele. The Basques, the Catalans, and Spain. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1997.

Crow, John A. Spain: The Root and the Flower. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.

Eames, Andrew. Barcelona. Insight Guides. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995.

Finnegan, William. "Our Far-Flung Correspondents: Catalonia." New Yorker (28 September 1992): 66.

Hooper, John. The New Spaniards. Suffolk, England: Penguin, l995.

Hunt, Carla. "Catalonia to Showcase Art, Culture." Travel Weekly (8 October 1990): E3.

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Riquer, Martí de. Historia de la literatura catalane. 6 vols. Barcelona: Aruedl, 1980.

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Terry, Arthur. A Companion to Catalan Literature. Wood-bridge: Tamesis, 2003.

Thomas, Benjamin. "Catalonia: The Factory of Spain." Forbes (11 June 1990): A1.

Tremlett, Giles. Ghosts of Spain. New York: Walker and Company, 2008.

Vallverdu, Francesc. "A Thousand Years of Catalan History." UNESCO Courier (May 1989): 26-28.

Williams, Roger. Catalonia. Insight Guides. Singapore: APA Publications, 1991.

—revised by S. Garcia Castaneda

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