Greenwich – meet Barcelona!

Parc Guell, Barcelona

Catalonia is a region in Spain well known for the famous city, Barcelona. The citizens of Catalonia, also known as Catalans, have been holding official and unofficial votes since 2014. The reason for these, according to the polls, is that many Catalans wish to become independent from Spain because they feel as though Spain is taking more resources from them than they provide. Catalonia has an arguably strong foundation for its own country: they have their own language, dated history, and have made quite a name for themselves. For example, they hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics, they are also known for their soccer, and of course, the sightseeing that produces in Barcelona alone 2000 million euros. Representatives from Spain have shown favor in keeping Catalonia as a part of the country, while almost all Catalan politicians agree on the separation. Despite the region’s determination to gain its independence, Spain has come out to say that it is unconstitutional for the divide to occur.

In the past, Catalonia has been granted autonomy, or the ability of self-governing for as long as allowed. This all changed when dictator Gen Francisco Franco came into power from 1939-1975, and in 1978 they were granted autonomy again. In 2010, Spain’s constitutional court reversed much of the autonomy given to Catalonia. This angered the Catalans and in 2014 they held an unofficial vote; nearly half of all Catalans in the region; 80% chose their freedom. In 2015 Catalonia began working on a legal vote to properly declare their freedom from Spain, even though it went against the Spanish constitution. On September 6th a vote was held regarding the question “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?” 2,044,038 of the 2,286,217 voted for the division.  


According to controversial law, the results are legal, but the Spanish government attempted to have Catalonia’s law suspended (to make sure that the votes were not legal) they also pleaded with the constitutional court of Spain for the ability to take over Catalonia’s finances and policing. Almost 900 people were injured by authorities when trying to reach a voting area; the Spanish authorities claimed that they had nothing to do with the incident. Catalonia produces 19% of Spain’s GDP and 16% of their population, but in return, they get a budget of 9.5% as shown in a 2015 study, which is less than in 2003 when it was 16%. As a result, many say that Spain is “ripping off” Catalonia.

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

So how is a place filled with so much political sensation, rich history, and beautiful architecture related to Sacred Heart Greenwich? In the Spring of 2018, SHG’s Madrigals are headed to Madrid and Barcelona! While there, they will visit our sister schools in each city, Sagrado Corazón de Jesús-Rosales and Sagrado Corazón de Sarriá, respectively.  They will also see the sights of each city, including famous places and museums. We wish them safe travels, a wonderful visit, and look forward to their exciting stories when they return!



“Cataloniaia referendum: Does the region want to leave Spain?” BBC, 28 Oct. 2017, Accessed 1 Nov. 2017.

Image Sources: Accessed November 30, 2017



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