One of the oldest nations in Europe, with origins in the 8th century and the counties established to contain the advance of Muslim armies in the Iberian peninsula, my homeland has always been a crossroad of cultures and civilizations. Even before the Romans made Tarraco the capital of Hispania Tarraconensis at 27 aC, Greeks, Phoenicians and Carthaginians had already founded colonies along our coast, and established trading routes with their metropolis, sparking economical and cultural bustle in the region.
We have the first and oldest Government and Parliament of Europe with effective popular participation since the fall of the Roman Empire, even before Britain’s; with the Crown of Aragon, our territories spread across the Mediterranean: through commerce thanks to the Consolats de Mar, and through blood by our almogàver troops, which spread fear of Catalans across Europe and Asia Minor during the XIV century.
Down the road of history and betrayals, Catalonia became an autonomous region within other nations, with restricted powers, devolved as seen fit by the central state, even enduring two dictatorships which brought a bloody repression on anything Catalan. But despite all these circumstances, we are a nation that always has been able to thrive on, thanks to the rich heritage of the many cultures that set foot here and helped build the Catalan identity, and because of them, our nation today is not based on ethnicity, but on the belonging to a community with shared interests, language, culture, identity and aspirations.
Desperta ferro! Avant! Depressa com lo llamp!
— Victor Balaguer