Catalonia is one of the self-governing regions in the Kingdom of Spain. The Spanish Constitution of 1978 permitted these regions to govern themselves on condition that they would submit to the overall supremacy of the Monarch and the Central Government. Thriving from this semi-independence, Catalonia experienced a rapid socio-economic boom. Catalonian residents were even allowed to use their native language as the official language- a privilege that had been revoked during the Francoist era. The region gradually established itself as a separate political, economic, and cultural hub. The growing diversity from the rest of the Spanish communities fuelled the notion of Catalan independence over the years.
However, it wasn’t until the dawn of the 21st Century that the first signs of Catalonian agitation for independence were seen. In 2006, the autonomous region held a referendum which approved the passing of the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia. The Statute had been passed by Catalan legislators, and it enshrined articles that granted the region’s independence from Spain. In addition, the Statute’s preamble referred to Catalonia as a ‘nation.’ The Statute was immediately opposed and declared defiant to the Spanish Constitution by one of Spain’s leading political parties- the Popular Party. The pressure was mounted onto the Constitutional Court of Spain by various Spanish institutions, and they were requested to intervene. After four years of deliberation, the Court outlawed over a dozen articles in the Statute and cited their unconstitutionality. Among the eradicated articles was a provision that sought to elevate the status of Catalan language at the expense of Spanish language in the locality.
The court ruling fuelled the region’s demand for independence even further; much to the chagrin of the Spanish Government. In 2014, Catalonia held a referendum with the objective of discerning how many voters in the region favored secession from Spain. Unsurprisingly, the notion of secession received overwhelming support from the voters. Despite being outlawed by Spain, Catalan legislators scheduled an independence referendum in October 2017. On October 1, 2017, more than 90% of the votes cast supported the notion of secession. The Spanish government deployed police officers to the region tasked to impede the voting process. The Catalans have since been involved in a series of tussles with the Spanish government. The latter are keen to enforce Article 155 of the Constitution, which provides for direct governance of Catalonia by Spain.