Home to one of Spain’s most famous cities, Barcelona, Cataluña’s history is far more complex than a visitor might realize. Its history runs deep and very much affects society today. Originally colonized by Greeks, then Romans, then Visigoths, then Moors, and so on, it was, like every other place, in the middle of a ping pong match for power. Eventually, as a part of the ancient kingdom of Aragon, it remained its own distinct territory from the Kingdom of Castille for quite some time, maintaining its own culture and traditions, but gradually losing power over time. In more recent times, under Franco’s rule, the Catalan culture was repressed. After Franco’s death, the Catalans were, and are, more proud than ever, and maintain political and cultural autonomy to this day.

What some people visiting Spain don’t realize is that the Catalan language (a Latin-based language) is one of the two official languages spoken in Cataluña (and therefore Barcelona). While most everyone likely speaks and understands Spanish, Catalans often use Catalan in their everyday life and are very proud of their language.

Cities to visit: