Catalonia is made up of four provinces: Barcelona, Tarragona, Girona (Spanish: Gerona) and Lleida (Spanish: Lérida). It has a population of over seven million people. Catalonia has three official languages: Catalan, Spanish and Occitan. The last is spoken in a small region of northern Catalonia that borders France and is known in Occitan as Val d'Aran.
The Catalan people have autonomy within Spain and so they have their own local government and their own police and some control over their own community. In September 2005, the Catalan Parliament decided to call Catalonia a 'nation' in the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia, which was approved in 2006. According to the Spanish Constitution, Spain is a group of historical nationalities and regions, but that declaration has no judicial status since it only appears in the preamble to the constitution.
On 27 October 2017, Catalonia declared independence from Spain after a vote in Parliament, but that was not recognised by the international community. The Spanish Senate voted in favour of direct rule. It removed the Catalan government and called a snap regional election. The Spanish Supreme Court imprisoned seven former ministers of the Catalan government on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds. Several others—including then-President Carles Puigdemont—fled to other European countries.
Catalonia is one of Southern Europe's most prosperous regions. Industrialization, especially in the textile industry, began earlier and took place faster than in other Spanish territories. The region is also greener than Southern Spain as it gets more rain, and it has different kinds of crops grown. Catalonia, especially the northern part, is much less hot than the rest of Spain.
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