by Simon Harris
If you want to understand why Catalans want independence Catalonia Is Not Spain: A Historical Perspective by Simon Harris gives the background to nearly 1,000 years of tension between Catalonia and Castile.
This book is essential reading because it recounts the history of Spain from a Catalan point of view and challenges many Spanish nationalist clichés, such as La Reconquista and that Catalonia never existed as an independent state.
Author Simon Harris describes the political, economic and social reasons why two different systems of government developed in Castile and Catalonia and the tensions this created as Castile began to gain dominance over the different peoples of the Iberian peninsula.
It is often said that history is written by the victors so it is not surprising that the Catalans were virtually written out of Spanish history after they were defeated by Felipe V’s troops in 1714 and subjected to military occupation by Castile for the next century and a half.
The two nations continued developing along different lines throughout the 19th century as Catalonia went through the industrial revolution whilst the rest of Spain remained mainly agricultural and modern calls for Catalan independence go back to this period when political Catalanism recognised the need for more modern systems of government to support its economy.
The Spanish dictatorships of the 20th century under Primo de Rivera and Franco led to further repression of Catalan language and culture and given the censorship Catalan historians once again were forced underground.
In this insightful and balanced book, Simon Harris not only sets the historical record straight but also makes it clear that, unless centralising Castile is prepared to accept that it doesn’t have the monopoly on Spanishness, the Catalan question is definitely not going to go away.
Catalonia Is Not Spain: A Historical Perspective by Simon Harris is available on Kindle and as a paperback on Amazon.es, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and the rest of the Amazon network and as an Epub on Lulu.com.