Key dates in Catalonia's bid for independence

28th September 2015, Comments 0 comments

Pro-independence groups won control of Catalonia's regional parliament in an election on Sunday that they vowed will lead to secession from Spain by 2017.

Following are key dates in the history of Catalonia's independence drive:

1479: The marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon -- a region including Catalonia at the time -- to Isabel of Castile unites the two regions, bringing Catalonia under the crown.

1714: Barcelona falls to Spanish and French forces in the War of Succession and its autonomous institutions are dissolved.

19th century: During industrialisation, Catalonia experiences a cultural renaissance and the start of a movement to revive Catalan traditions and language.

1932: Spain's parliament grants Catalonia a statute of autonomy granting it broad powers over its internal affairs. Both Spanish and Catalan are recognised as official languages in the region.

October 6, 1934: Left-wing republican Lluis Companys declares the region "a Catalan state in the federal republic of Spain," which lasts just a few hours before he is arrested.

January 24, 1939: General Francisco Franco's forces take control of Barcelona after a three-year civil war.

Catalan autonomy is suppressed and the speaking of Catalan in public is banned across Spain until Franco's death in 1975.

October 31, 1978: Spain's new constitution recognises Catalonia among various distinct communities in Spain but lays down the "indissoluble unity" of the Spanish nation.

October 25, 1979: In a referendum, Catalans approve a new autonomy statute for greater powers in areas such as healthcare, education and culture.

June 18, 2006: Catalans approve a new autonomy charter, negotiated with the then Socialist government and approved by the national parliament, increasing their fiscal and judicial powers and describing Catalonia as a "nation."

September 2009: The small town of Arenys De Munt becomes the first in Catalonia to hold a symbolic local vote on regional sovereignty. Hundreds more towns follow.

June 2010: Responding to an appeal by the conservative Popular Party, Spain's Constitutional Court approves parts of the 2006 autonomy charter, but rules that the word "nation" to describe the region has "no legal value."

September 11, 2012: At the height of Spain's economic crisis, more than a million people protest in Barcelona demanding independence for Catalonia. Similar mass rallies recur on the same date in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

September 20, 2012: Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rejects Catalan president Artur Mas's call for greater tax-and-spend powers for Catalonia. Five days later, Mas calls a snap regional election promising to hold a referendum on Catalonia's future.

November 26, 2012: Mas's centre-right CiU alliance wins the snap election overall but loses its absolute majority in the regional parliament, forcing it to broker an alliance with the left-wing nationalists ERC.

January 23, 2013: Catalonia's parliament approves a declaration of sovereignty that it says permits the region to vote on self-determination, but Spanish judges rule that unconstitutional in March 2014.

November 9, 2014: Catalonia defies Madrid and presses ahead with a symbolic referendum on independence despite a court order that it be suspended. Turnout is just 37 percent, of which over 80 percent vote in favour of independence.

September 27, 2015: The pro-independence Together For Yes alliance secures 62 seats in the regional assembly and the radical left-wing separatist group CUP wins 10, giving them an absolute majority.

But the separatist block falls short of winning a majority of votes, handing its adversaries in Madrid a strong argument to resist the push for independence.

© 2015 AFP

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