One of the 17 autonomous communities of Spain, located in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula. It was created in 1978 in the process of adoption of a new Constitution that marked the end of the dictatorship of General F. Franco and the beginning of the democratization process in the country. Since Catalonia was a region that implemented the initiative to obtain self-government even during the Second Republic (1931-1939), autonomy in 1978 was obtained through a simplified scheme in a referendum (the so-called "fast track").
Economically, the region is the richest autonomous community in Spain, providing about 19% of its GDP. Since the state legislatively stipulates the functioning of the principle of "interterritorial solidarity", Catalonia is a donor region. At the same time, it does not have tax autonomy and is in fiscal dependence on the official Madrid. This causes the conflicts in the relations with the central government.
The titular ethnic group is Catalans, who make up just over 30% of the region's population, and the Spaniards - 55%. Language is the key distinguishing marker for a titular ethnic group. Catalan and Spanish (Castilian) languages belong to different subgroups (the first to the Oxitano-Romance, the second to the Ibero-Romance languages) of the Romance languages. The ethnolinguistic situation in the region is associated with the dominance of the Catalan language. This is most clearly manifested in the education system: all education in regional schools is conducted in Catalan, while the national language is studied simply as a subject.
The current situation in the autonomous community is characterized by a high degree of tension. The period from the mid-2000s till now is marked by a surge in the Catalan independence movement, caused by the refusal of the central government to approve amendments to the Charter of the region that ensured a higher degree of autonomy. October 1, 2017, a referendum was held in the autonomous community in which 90.18% of the participants voted for the withdrawal of Catalonia from Spain and the creation of a sovereign state. Madrid, however, categorically refused to recognize the results of the referendum. The unilateral nature of the Catalan initiative now complicates the process of the proclamation of independence.