Catalan Nationalism: Past and Present by Albert Balcells

By Albert Balcells

This publication, the 1st research of Catalan nationalism to seem in English, outlines the background of Catalonia, exhibiting how the nationwide and cultural identification of the zone continued regardless of persecution. this offers the required history for the research of the modern political and cultural scenario in Catalonia within the wider context of the eu Union.

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In 1773 a revolt against the introduction of compulsory military service I in Catalonia forced the authorities to back down and, despite Charles III's decrees against the public use of the Catalan language, Spanish was not generally employed in primary education and notarial documents until the nineteenth century. Catalan resistance to Napoleon Bonaparte in 1808, almost a hundred years after the War of Successsion, has been interpreted as a sign of consolidated Spanish nationalism, particularly in view of the attempt made by Napoleon to annex Catalonia to France.

It was followed in 1520 by an antifeudal revolt in Valencia and Majorca, initiated by the germanies (brotherhoods of the lower middle classes), which was also crushed through Castilian intervention. Under the monarchy of the House of Austria, which had domains all over Europe as well as a vast new colonial empire in America, the ties that had been forged between noble families throughout Spain caused a split in the Catalan feudal nobility. A minority accepted posts in the imperial administration, formed alliances with the Castilian and Andalusian high nobility, and resided far away from Catalonia, while another group, made up of the least powerful and wealthy, remained isolated and provincial.

Aribau's poem Oda a la Pcltria, written in Catalan in 1833, was a precedent whose impact was no greater than that of Joan Pau Ballot's Gramatica i Apologia de la Llengua Catalana published in 1814, or the 1832 Catalan translation of the New Testament. But by identifying language and homeland, Aribau's famous poem quite unintentional\y 26 Catalan Nationalism formulated one of the key ideas of Catalanism. While for other nationalities, race or religion were to constitute the main sign of a distinctive colIective identity, for Catalonia this role would be played by the language.

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