Catalonia profile

A chronology of key events:

9th century - County of Barcelona formed along with several other counties as a result of efforts by Charlemagne to establish a buffer zone between his Frankish Empire and Muslim-ruled Spain.

Burnt-out cars in Barcelona after the defeat of a pro-Franco uprising in the city at the start of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 At the start of Spanish Civil War in 1936, pro-Franco forces were defeated in fierce street battles in Barcelona, but the city ultimately fell in 1939

1023-76 - Under Ramon Berenguer I, the county of Barcelona acquires a dominant position in the area.

12th cent - First mention of the term Catalonia.

1131-1162 - Reign of Ramon Berenguer IV, whose marriage to Queen Petronilla of Aragon results in the county's dynastic union with the Kingdom of Aragon. Although part of the Crown of Aragon, Catalonia keeps its own traditional rights and parliament, the Corts catalanes.

14th-15th cents - Aragon acquires the kingdoms of Sardinia, Sicily and Naples, becoming a major Mediterranean maritime empire as a result.

Integration into Spain

1469 - Ferdinand I of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile marry, creating a dynastic union of their kingdoms and laying the foundations of the Kingdom of Spain.

1492 - Discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus starts the creation of Spain's overseas empire, the shift of commercial activity from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic and the decline of Catalonia's economic and political importance.

1640-52 - The Reapers' War - Catalonia revolts against the taxation policies of Philip IV of Spain, is briefly declared a republic under French protection before being reoccupied by Spanish troops.

Antoni Gaudi's unfinished Sagrada Familia 19th-century Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi developed a highly distinctive style; his Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona is still being built

1705-14 - War of the Spanish Succession. Catalonia's support for rival claimant to the Spanish throne, Archduke Charles of Austria, of the House of Habsburg, against King Philip V, from the House of Bourbon, results in the suppression of its parliament and traditional liberties upon the latter's victory.

1716 - The Nueva Planta decree dismantles the separate Catalan legal system, brings Catalonia under direct rule from Madrid and abolishes the administrative use of the Catalan language.

1812-13 - Napoleon briefly annexes Catalonia to France, before French troops withdraw from Barcelona under an armistice signed with the Duke of Wellington.

1808-33 - Catalonia becomes the scene of some of the fiercest fighting of the First Carlist War between the liberal supporters of Queen Isabella II and the absolutist supporters of her uncle and rival, the Infante Carlos.

Rise of nationalist sentiment

19th cent - Catalonia is at the forefront of industrialisation in Spain and experiences a cultural renaissance; start of a movement to revive Catalan culture and language, leading to the rise of Catalan nationalism.

1901 - Formation of the Catalan nationalist Regionalist League.

Gen Francisco Franco (second from left) with his wife Carmen Polo in Burgos on 24 March 1934

The legacy of Gen Franco's dictatorial rule still looms over relations between Catalonia and Madrid

1913 - The four provinces of Catalonia are given limited joint self-government in the Commonwealth of Catalonia under the leadership of Enric Prat de la Riba.

1925 - The Commonwealth is suppressed during the dictatorship of Spanish Prime Minister Miguel Primo de Rivera.

1931 - Spain becomes a republic; an autonomous Catalan regional government, the Generalitat, is created under the leadership of the Revolutionary Left of Catalonia.

1936 - Insurrection of Spanish nationalist troops led by Gen Francisco Franco sparks the Spanish Civil War. Catalonia remains loyal to the Republic, with both the Generalitat's regular forces and popular militias fighting on its side.

1938 - English author George Orwell publishes Homage to Catalonia, a memoir of his time fighting with left-wing Republican forces in the region.

1938-9 - Franco's forces overrun Catalonia, paving the way for the collapse of Republican resistance elsewhere in Spain.

1939-75 - Franco dictatorship; suppression of political opposition as well as Catalan autonomy, language and culture. Thousands of Catalan activists are executed or go into exile.

1960s - Catalonia benefits from the start of mass tourism in coastal Spain and increasing industrialisation. Barcelona attracts large numbers of migrants from other Spanish regions.

Autonomy restored

1975 - Death of Franco sets in train a process of democratisation under the new king, Juan Carlos.

1977 - Restoration of a provisional regional government, again named the Generalitat, under the leadership of Josep Tarradellas.

Jordi Pujol in 1999 Jordi Pujol headed Catalonia's regional government for 23 years before retiring in 2003

1978 - New democratic Spanish Constitution recognises existence of distinct national communities within Spain, start of the process of regionalisation.

1979 - Catalonia given a statute of autonomy and recognised as a "nationality". Catalan become the joint official language of Catalonia with Spanish.

1980 - Centre-right moderate nationalist Convergence and Union wins first elections to the new regional parliament. Its leader, Jordi Pujol, becomes the first president of the new regional government.

1992 July-August - Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona.

2003 - Jordi Pujol retires as president of the regional government, after 23 years in the post.

2003 November - Despite winning the largest number of seats in regional elections, Convergence and Union is ousted for the first time in 23 years by a coalition of Socialists, the Revolutionary Left and Greens. Socialist Pasqual Maragall becomes regional president.

2006 June - Pasqual Maragall stands down, is replaced by fellow Socialist Jose Montilla.

2006 August - Reformed version of Catalonia's autonomy statute comes into force, giving the regional government greater powers and financial autonomy. Its preamble also uses the word "nation" to describe Catalonia.

Demonstration in support of Catalan independence in Barcelona on 11 September 2012 Propelled by the economic crisis, sentiment in favour of a complete break from Spain has been on the rise

2009 December - Between December 2009 and April 2011, Catalan nationalists hold a series of informal, nonbinding votes on independence in regional towns and cities, including the capital Barcelona. With low turnouts and results showing overall support for the idea of independence at around 20 percent, the referendum results are dismissed by critics, but hailed as significant by pro-independence groups.

2010 July - Constitutional Court in Madrid strikes down part of the 2006 autonomy statute, ruling that there is no legal basis for recognising Catalonia as a nation within Spain and that Catalan should not take precedence over Castilian in the region. The decision, in response to a complaint by the opposition centre-right People's Party, angers Catalan nationalists and is criticised by the regional government.

Regional parliament votes to ban bullfighting, making Catalonia the first region of mainland Spain to do so.

2010 November - Convergence and Union led by Artur Mas returns to power after regional elections.

2011 September - Ban on bullfighting comes into force in Catalonia.

Economic crisis

2012 August - Catalonia asks the Spanish government for a 5bn-euro bailout.

2012 September - Some 1.5m people take part in Catalonia's annual independence rally in Barcelona, amid growing Catalan anger at financial transfer from the region to the rest of Spain. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rebuffs a call by regional leader Artur Mas for greater fiscal independence.

2012 November - Snap elections held to provide support for a referendum on independence see Artur Mas's governing Convergence and Union alliance losing ground to the left-wing Republican Left (ERC) party. Both support the independence referendum, but the ERC opposes the Catalan government's spending cuts.

2012 December - Regional head Artur Mas is re-elected after his Convergence and Union signs a governing pact with the left-wing ERC. Both parties support holding a referendum on secession from Spain in 2014.

2013 January - Catalonia's regional parliament approves a "declaration of sovereignty" aimed at paving the way for a referendum on independence from Spain in 2014.

2013 March - Spanish government announces it will lodge a legal appeal with the constitutional court against the Catalan parliament's declaration of sovereignty.

2013 May - Spain's Constitutional Court agrees to hear a legal challenge by the Spanish government to the Catalan parliament's declaration of sovereignty; Regional head Artur Mas describes the move as "deeply worrying".

More on This Story

More Europe stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • MoviesWhat to watch

    BBC Culture picks eight top movies coming out in September

Programmes

  • Volcanic eruptionThe Travel Show Watch

    Uncovering the secrets of the Icelandic island buried by a volcanic eruption

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.