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Referendum Time for Catalonia

In the 12th century Catalonia became part of the Crown of Aragon and then region became part of Spain in the 15th century through the marriage of the King of Aragon and Queen Isabelle of Castile which united the regions under their respective crowns.

Nowadays the region is a powerhouse for the rest of Spain. With a successful manufacturing industry which began with textiles but now has expanded to other industries such as: chemical manufacturing, food-processing and metalworking. The region is vastly becoming the economic hub of Spain. The Catalonians feel this is a reason as to why they should be independent, as the opinion is that they could be successfully self-sufficient.

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Catalonia gained a taste of independence after the death of the General Franco. It was allowed its own Parliament and Executive which means the region has more of a say in what happens there as opposed to decisions being made in Madrid. However the Central Government takes more money from Catalonia than it invests in the region which is another reason the region feels it is so ready for independence. In their opinion, they would no longer have to support failing regions with little to no return on their investment. The current economic crisis in Spain means that many in Catalonia want to opt out of such a crippling economical state.

Catalonia does already feel independent from Spain. Their children are taught both Catalan and Castilian (official Spanish) and both languages now enjoy equal status.  Catalan is becoming more and more important as it is being used in the media, for official purposes and in education. Nowadays only a minority of people in Catalonia speak Castilian as their first language.

Although the Catalonians may want to become independent sooner rather than later, the vote on November 9th will only determine whether independence has a vast support in the region or not. It will not mean that there will be independence. Even so the President of Catalonia, Artur Mas, is hopeful that independence will achieve the majority of the vote as back in 2012 election results proved the independence was widely backed by the Catalonians.

Catalan nationalism is a phenomenon that has taken over Catalonia. Most of the Catalonia’s political parties (including the Republican left of Catalonia and Convergence and Union) are pro-independence and in some way follow Catalanism (Catalan nationalism) in their own manifestos and viewpoints.

The Catalans will more likely than not vote in favour of independence for their region. The Basque country already wants independence from Spain. So, in the future, will other regions also want to be separate from the under-achieving and debt-burdened Central Government and Spain?