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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Catalan Studies: History & Culture

Culture -Figures

Antoni Gaudí

Salvador Dalí

Montserrat Caballé

History -Figures

Pau Claris (1586-1641) Proclaimed the Catalan Republic in 1641

Lluís Companys (1882-1940) President of the Generalitat de Catalunya at the start of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), he was executed by Francisco Franco's officials (1940)

Josep Terradellas (1899-1988) First president of the Generalitat de Catalunya after Francisco Franco's dictatorship (1977)


Catalan culture spans centuries of  rich production shaped by a unique identity resulting from Catalonia's location at the crossroads of Spain, Europe, and the Mediterranean.

Websites of Interest:

Catalan Culture in a Nutshell - created by SuiteLife

Catalan Culture in Time -Generalitat de Catalunya


Catalan history  (Wikipedia entry) spans centuries of landmark events of local, national, and international importance, not suprisingly tied to the historical events shaping the history of Spain and France.

Catalan History in 15 Episodes --Created by Catalonia Votes

Institut Nova Història -Foundation for the research of Catalan history ("against manipulation from the Spanish Crown" according to the website). In Catalan.

Museum of the History of Catalonia 



Institut d'Estudis Catalans --Institute of Catalan Studies (founding document of the institution signed by Enric Prat de la Riba in 1907)

Institut Ramón Llull -- Center for the promotion of Catalan language and culture abroad. Jointly supported by the Generalitat de Catalunya and Barcelona City Council

Centre Cultural Blanquerna - - Center for the promotion of Catalan culture in Madrid

Biblioteca Nacional de Catalunya -National Library of Catalonia

Consorci per a la Normalització Lingüística  --Association for Linguistic Normalization

Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua -- Created in 1998 by the Valencian Parliament

Culturcat  --Hosted by the Generalitat, visual guide to aspects of Catalan history, culture, language, and literature

Institut Cartogràfic i Geològic de Catalunya --  Geographical and cartographical information of Catalonia. Launched in 2014 by the Generalitat de Catalunya

History -Landmarks

6th-7th century BC Phoenicians settle in Catalonia

5th century BC Greek colonists settle in Roses (Girona, northern Catalonia)

218 BC Roman troupes disembark at Empúries (Girona, northern Catalonia)

3rd century BC - 5th century AD Tarraco (Tarragona, sourthern Catalonia) becomes one of the most important cities in Hispania (current Spain)

5th century AD The Visigoths enter Hispania and establish their capital in Barcelona

8th -12th century The Muslims invade the Iberian peninsula but they are halted at the north by the Francs, who control the north side of Catalonia

c. 900  Wilfred the Hairy breaks away from the Carolingian emperor; origin of the House of Barcelona

1137 Kingdom of Aragon and County of Barcelona merge by dynastic union (Petronilla of Aragon and Ramon Berenguer IV); creation of the Crown of Aragon

13th-14th century Expansion of the Crown of Aragon through the Mediterranean

1640-1659 Catalan Revolt (The Reapers' War) (Guerra dels Segadors)

1659 Treaty of the Pyrinees The Principality of Catalonia gets split into a Spanish and a French side divided by the Pyrinees

1714 War of Spanish Succession; end of the Catalan State

1931 Macià proclaims the Catalan Republic

1936-1939 Spanish Civil War

1939-1975 Franco's Dictatorship

1977 Generalitat Reinstalled. Josep Terradellas returns



Books in the Library

Culture -Hallmarks

La Senyera (What is it?)

Els Segadors (What is it?)

La Sardana (What is it?)

Els Castellers (What is it?)

Sant Jordi (What is it?)


Wondering about Catalan cuisine? We've got you covered!

Calçots -Specially cultivated onion, grilled and served with 'Romesco' sauce:

Paella -Not Catalan strictly speaking ... but close enough:

Escudella - Our soup/stew, first referenced in the 14th century:

Mel i mató -Honey and curd cheese, simple but powerful ... and oh so Catalan:

And of course...                           Pà amb tomàquet -Our bread and butter:

(And what about some Catalan beer?) (Or cava? Yeah, champagne comes from France, but cava from Catalonia!) 

Que aprofiti!