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The Crown of Aragon —that is, the confederation of realms formed by the Kingdom of Aragon, the Kingdom of Valencia and the Principality of Catalonia— also expressed their disapproval of such a measure. In truth, the Catalans were little enamoured of imperial policies, and often refused to pay.

The coercive measures used to collect the poll tax included requisition and imprisonment. The amount stipulated to be collected —one million Castilian pesos— was disproportionate. Nor did it take into account, for example, that a poor harvest might make it impossible to pay. As a result, there were years when the tax burden applied to Catalonia was so brutal that the Spanish collectors themselves recommended that it should be reduced.

The amounts payable remained practically frozen, however, and eventually became out of date. As a result of these perceptions, Catalonia continued to pay the price for the defeat of in other ways.

Despite all this, in , Catalonia, with a population of 1,, and average income of reales per inhabitant, was the fourth most powerful trading power in the world. In , a revolutionary process aimed at accelerating reforms to dismantle the old order, including the tax system, was unleashed.

Reform to this end was not introduced until Bombs in response to economic revolt With liberalism installed in power, a struggle between two economic movements became clear.

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These were, one the one hand, protectionism, whose supporters wanted restrictions on imports, and, on the other, the free trade movement, which opposed state intervention in international trade. Catalan industrialists were, in general, in favour of protectionism. However, the centralist policies of General Baldomero Espartero, appointed regent until Queen Isabella II came of age, entailed opening up Spanish borders to British products, direct competitors to those made in Catalonia.

The Catalan cotton industry was the sector most seriously threatened and, in November , the bourgeoisie and workers in Barcelona rebelled against Espartero, who responded by bombing the city. The pro-free-trade Madrid press attacked industrialists, mostly located in Catalonia, and the story spread that Catalonia was becoming rich by exporting its manufactured products to the other Spanish provinces, which were becoming poorer and poorer.

Figures that speak for themselves It was possible to quantify the ill-feeling that divided the industrial bourgeoisie from the government. Figures on industrial and trade taxes for the period show that each Catalan paid 4. In short, Catalonia paid over 8. And this, at a time when the Principality had a population of 1. The tax burden on the country was disproportionate in the extreme. This situation worsened in The response by the guilds of Barcelona was to close commercial and industrial establishments so as to avoid paying tax without breaking the law.

The consequences of this unusual strike, which spread to many medium-sized towns in Catalonia, was the suspension of constitutional guarantees, embargoes and arrests of taxpayers and the resignation of the mayor of Barcelona, who disobeyed orders from Madrid by refusing to embargo the assets of those who refused to pay. The Catalan province contributed million pesetas to the State, whilst Madrid paid less than million. Barcelona paid even more than Cuba had when a Spanish colony, and complained about being forced to pay 24 million pesos, which were then distributed on the island itself.

In investment, too, the contrast was shocking. Public works were practically non-existent in Catalonia, whilst one-third of the State General Budget remained in Madrid. Consequently, the State continued to levy million pesetas every year in Catalonia, returning just The decision to devolve powers to the Generalitat in this area was made in , but did not enter into effect until , though this detail did not prevent the State from leaving Catalonia out of its public works plans, as it considered the Generalitat responsible, even if only nominally, in this area.

Overall public investment in Catalonia amounted to less than one-third of the total taxes collected by the State from the Catalan people. Taxation in wartime During the Civil War, the exceptional situation led to exceptional initiatives. Due to the circumstances of the war, the Generalitat was required to take over the functions of the Republican government in Catalonia.

Taxes intended to provide sources of income for the Catalan Treasury and whose purpose was to help sustain the war effort were established, amended or restored. The Franco regime installed an autarchic system, with strict rationing and restrictions on foreign exchanges, in which the State was to produce all necessary goods. Stagnation under Franco The defeat of the Nazis led to stagnation in the Spanish economy.

There was a shortage of energy and raw materials. The Catalan industrial and commercial bourgeoisie was content merely to keep their businesses going despite State interventionism. The State did not always get its own way, however. In the s, incapable of raising living standards amongst the people, the autarchic model entered into crisis and was forced to evolve towards a greater liberalisation of the economic system. But nothing changed in Catalonia. In , State income from Barcelona province was 5,,, pesetas, whilst spending was 1,,, pesetas.

The population and economic growth which followed in the s brought no improvements to the services that should exist in a country that acts as the driving force for an entire State. Democratic transition and self-government The dismantling of the dictatorship following the death of Franco, the restoration of democracy and the re- establishment of the Generalitat presented an opportunity to correct old vices. What is most ironic is that Catalonia leads the autonomic process: in a curious exercise of imitation, if the country achieves powers in a particular area, the other autonomous communities also demand its devolution from the State.

A new museum shows Barcelona in and explains the military and political defeat of issue 19 - september Barcelona ACN. It explains how city life was during the early 18th century, with a permanent exhibition of 8, objects. From that moment onwards, Catalonia lost its self-government institutions as well as its own laws and freedoms, and it began to be ruled by the Kingdom of Castile, which from that moment onwards became the rule of Spain. Furthermore, the Catalan language was banned and persecuted with the aim to homogenise the newly-formed Spain previously Catalonia was part of the Spanish Crown but Spain did not exist as a united state.

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However, the 8,square metre new museum goes beyond these episodes of History and it also offers a rich programme of cultural events such as temporary exhibitions, concerts, theatre performances, conferences and cinema projections. On top of this, the Born Cultural Centre has been conceived as a partially-open space, allowing the free circulation of pedestrians crossing the building while being able to contemplate the ruins of the city from a balcony. Since then, the Art-Nouveau iron structure, dating from the s, has been lying idle.

Institutional disagreements and the discovery of the ruins have delayed the renovation, transformation and re-opening of the space for 43 years. In the late s and s, there were several proposals on the table for the ageing building, particularly from the moment that the Born neighbourhood became particularly trendy. However, while preparing the site, the Medieval town ruins appeared.

Studies were carried out to modify the initial project to include both the ruins and the Provincial Library. In the end, however, the whole project was changed and the decision was taken to build the library elsewhere. A long construction work The construction work took much longer that initially expected, since the digging of the ruins was more complex that initially foreseen — something that also happened with the renovation of the iron structure, which was more damaged and had much more architectural features than it was previously thought.

On top of this, the economic crisis restricted the funds available and forced the construction works to slow-down. A cultural centre split in 3 The 8, square metre Born Cultural Centre is mostly divided into three parts. It has a balcony overlooking the ruins and gives access to the other parts. It will be open from 9am until 8pm and people will be able to freely walk through it. The second part is formed of the ruins, which are below street level.

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Guide La dona a la finestra.: El Born, 10 de setembre de (El Balancí) (Catalan Edition)

Three rooms have square meters and the two others are slightly smaller. One will host the permanent exhibition, which will show how Barcelonans lived during the early 18th century, with many objects on display. Another large room will be devoted to temporary exhibitions. It will be able to host almost people. We admire Catalonia issue 19 - september For decades the Spanish media based in Madrid created an idea of Spain that distorted reality.

The media painted us a picture of a Catalonia that is provincial, closed, dull, unsuccessful, obsolete But the Diada this year marks a turning point that contradicts all of this and has revealed a country full of energy. From now on there will be some Spaniards who look at Catalonia with curiosity, others with fear and mistrust, but many will want to understand what has happened.

And what has happened was foreseeable for anyone who had taken a closer look and bothered to listen to what people living there were saying and feeling, all of which had simply been hidden from them. It seemed to be nothing more than a few petty issues. And then all of a sudden more than a million Catalans were demanding independence.

Where had all these people been that no one had ever told us about? What has happened in Catalonia is exemplary and has made history in terms of democratic struggles. In my case I am aware that I have my prejudices but I also like to learn, and I have learned a great deal from the Catalans. Even though it is frowned upon in Spain, I am not ashamed to admit that I admire Catalan society. As a Galician, I am a citizen of a defeated country that has been incapable of overcoming its history, which failed to stop depredations and humiliations, is missing a collective pride and civic nerve.

As an author in Catalonia I felt warmly received and respected without it mattering what language I wrote in or where I was from or who my relatives were, there I met my publisher and the best editors and the most intelligent and the sharpest people in the book industry and the arts.


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Naturally, I also saw the limits and the shortcoming of Catalan society, it has them just as every other society does, but my admiration for its virtues is far greater. Without being Catalan I am a Catalanist, I confess. I had no doubt about it. And with this Diada the Catalans have given us a new lesson in civility and freedom. To understand just how necessary this lesson is we should be aware of what happened that same day in Madrid; a Fascist attack that is not a mere anecdote.

We will be able to measure the level of freedom and the general climate in Madrid and in the Spanish state by how they treat this attack: will they apply the anti-terrorism law? Will these organizations be made illegal and persecuted as the Spanish politicians and judiciary did in the Basque Country? On their national day what the Catalans offered us was a free and joyful citizenry against embittered thugs and roughnecks.

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The Catalan Way was the result of months of organized planning; each person registered and directed themselves to their assigned spot along the route. Instead, each citizen went out and found a t-shirt and signed up ahead of time Suso de Toro - El Diario.

CATALUÑA: ENTRE LA LEALTAD Y LA SECESIÓN DE ESPAÑA

It was not a crowd of protestors but instead a citizenry that had organized itself voluntarily and from the grassroots level; we are talking about a determined people with a clear intent. It is a decision that has matured tremendously over the years following the repeated experiences that showed time and again that the Spanish state did not recognize their demands and did not protect their language or their interests. It was not a spontaneous event. What the media in Madrid and Spanish politics did was belittle the Catalans, reducing them to a people that had been put under a spell and astutely manipulated by malevolent political enemies of Spain.

What they did was deny the Catalans a sense of personal dignity, precisely to those people who had always given a civics lesson to Spain. What we have before us is the reality, all this time the Catalans were not a bunch of leeches that sought to exploit the rest of Spain, as we had been told, but instead they had dignity.


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  6. Loads of collective and personal dignity. For now we can only learn from Catalonia.