Words & Pictures
Catalonia is Not Spain!
Iberians farm and build villages, including Cartagena and Tarragona. 1000’s BC Phoenicians colonize Spain, establish cities of Cadiz and Malaga. 900 – 600 BC Celtics move into northern Spain.
575 BC Greeks establish trading posts 237 BC Carthaginian along the east coast at Emporiae (now leader Hamilcar Barca known as Amprias) and Rhoda (Rosas). lands with an army at Cadiz 400’s BC Cathaginians conquer much of and founds city of Barcino, Iberian peninsula now known as Barcelona.
30,000 Carthaginian settlers arrive. The gate of Seville at Carmona dates to this period. 228 BC Carthago Nova (“New Carthage”, the modern Cartagena) is founded on the southeast coast as the capital city of the new empire. 226 BC A treaty between Rome and New Carthage establishes the river Ebro as the boundary. However, Saguntum (Sagunto) a town some 100 miles south of the Ebro, determined not to fall under Carthaginian rule, allies itself with Rome.
Hannibal marches elephants over the Pyrenees and attacks Rome. 218-201 BC Second Punic War: Romans drive Cathaginians from Spain. 211 BC Cnaeus Scipio killed near Cartagena after being deserted by the hired natives in his army. 210 BC Publis Scipio, Jr. (later to be known as Scipio Africanus) lands on the coast of Catalonia with an army of 10,000.
In the northeast corner of Spain is a land known as Catalonia. It’s about the size of South Carolina but shaped like a triangle, bounded on the north by the Pyrenees Mountains with a line sweeping down southwards across the Empedura plain till it meets the three hundred mile hypotenuse of the Costa Brava and the bright, blue sea. In the 11th century it was called Catalunya, but the origin is uncertain.
Some say that Catalunya derives from the term “Land of Castles.” Others believe that it derives from Latin: Gathia Launia, Land of the Goths, or Goth Land. Gateway between Europe and the Iberian peninsula, Catalonia’s history spans millennia. Phoencians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Goths, Visigoths, Moslems, and Christians all left remnants of their cultures.
Cartagena besieged and captured by Romans. 197 BC Rome divides Iberian peninsula into two provinces: Hispania Citerior (“Nearer Spain”) and Hispania Ulterior (“Further Spain.”) Widespread revolt begins almost immediately leading Roman consul Cato to intervene personally. With an army of 70,000, he crushes the rebellion. 83 BC Quintus Sertorius appointed governor of Hispania Citerior. 77 BC Quintus Sertorius effective ruler of Spain, establishing a capital at Huesca in the northeast. 72 BC Quintus Sertorius murdered by his subordinate, Perpena. 49 BC Julius Caesar defeats forces of Pompey at Llerda (Lerida) and sweeps through the peninsula, setting up officials who could be relied on for support. 47 BC Quintus Longinus Cassius leads rebellion and Codoba is burned to the ground. 45 BC Julius Caesar returns to finish off Pompey’s supporters in a bloody battle at Munda in Andalusia. 31 BC Augustas ends the Republican period, establishing Roman empire.
The capital of Catalonia is Barcelona, population 1,621,500, one of the most densely populated cities in Europe. The narrow streets and buildings of the Bario Goti date to the13th and 14th centuries, Barcelona’s golden age, when trading posts and consulates were established across the Mediterranean and Aegean seas in a confederacy of kingdoms known as the Crown of Aragon. The oldest known compilation of maritime laws, Book of the Consulate of the Sea, written in Catalan, dates from this era. Barcelona is the port from which Columbus sailed in 1492, commemorated by a heroic-sized statue on a pedestal towering 180-feet over the harbor. But catastrophe came to Catalonia when Fernando II of Catalonia-Aragon married Isabel of Castile in 1469. Their marriage united all the houses of Spain, bringing most of what is now Spain under one rule, with Madrid as capital. Barcelona was relegated to a lesser role and forbidden to trade with the New World. Ever since then, there have been separatists in Catalonia making sporadic attempts toward independence.
Several of Rome’s greatest emperors, including Trajan (98— 117) and Hadrian (117—138), were born in Hispania. Major Roman writers from Hispania: Seneca the Elder (.c55 BC—39 AD) and Seneca the Younger (c.4 BC—65 AD), and the poets Martial (c.38—c. 103) and Lucan (39—65 AD). Quintilian (35—c.96) held the first chair of rhetoric at Rome.
Emperor Vespasian grants partial Roman citizen rights to entire Iberian peninsula. 170s—210 Invasions of Moors… 225ish Deserters from the Roman army in Gaul cross into Catalonia but are driven out by the VII Gemina legion based at Legio (Leon).
The Spanish Inquisition began in 1480, lasting over 300 years, imprisoning or killing people suspected of not following teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, driving out Jews and Muslims. In Barcelona, at the Caixa Art Museum, there is a haunting tribute to victims of the Inquisition created by Joseph Bueys. Himself a survivor of Nazi imprisonment camps, Buey’s testament of intolerance is a stark reminder of the dark side of the Spanish empire. The metalwalled, window-less, cell is festooned with chains and manacles, forged by Bueys at the invitation of the 1992 Olympic Games arts festival. Dark, underground, silent, it stands in chilling contrast to all of the exuberant natural and man-made beauty that is Catalonia. The Spanish-American War of 1898 was a disaster for Spain as it lost its last remnants of empire. A disparate group of writers, poets, and intellectuals, known as El Generation del ’98, rose up in rebellion, protesting corruption in government and demanding radical change. In Catalonia, Catholics, communists, falangistas, and anarchists struggled for control. It was Catalonian anarchists who created the first eighthour workday in the world. Tipping was against
258—270 Iberian peninsula removed from control of central Roman authorities to form, along with Britain and Gaul, the Gallic empire of Postumus. 313 Emperor Constantine’s edict of toleration. 379—395 Theodosius the Great outlaws paganism. Christianity becomes official religion of Roman Empire. 400s Visigoths drive Romans from Spain. 573 Visigoths set up the first monarchy to rule the entire peninsula. c.600—635 Isidore, Bishop of Seville, wrote numerous works of theology and history. His encyclopedic Etymologia long remaind a standard reference work in medieval Europe. 711-718 Moors cross the Strait of Gibraltar and conquer almost all of Spain. Only the narrow mountainous region
across northern Catalonia remains free of Moorish rule. 716 Moors conquer Jaca. 732 A great arab host (some say the number was 350,000) swarm across the Pyrenees toward the Loire River. In October, an army of up to 80,000 Muslims are defeated by an army of up to 30,000 Christians in what the French call the Battle of Tours, known to the arab world as the Battle of the Court of the Martyrs. 758 During the Battle of Las Tiendas, women win the fight for reconquest of Jaca. 801 Christian Reconquest of Barcelona. Charlemagne sets up buffer state, the Hispanic Marc, entrusting it to local lords. 878 Guifre el Pelos (Wilfred the Hairy), Count of CerdanyaUrgel, consolidates eastern Pyrenees and gains virtual
autonomy. He starts 500-year tradition of Counts of Barcelona. 1000’s Christians begin to drive Moors from Spain. 1013-1090 Zirid dynasty starts construction of the Al Hambra, “red palace,” a fortified city in the mountains of Granada. 1008-46 Abbot Oliva builds church at Ripoll and oversees Benedictine building including Vic and Monserrat. 1035 Ramiro I establishes court at Jaca and presides over first recorded parliament of commoners, lords, and priests.
1060 Compilation of Usatges, the first collection of laws and rights in western europe, around the time that the word Catalan is first recorded.
1095 Pope Urban II declares First Crusade. 1097-1131 Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona 1100’s Barcelona grows as industrial and commercial city. Catalonia’s boundaries extend south past Tarragona. Catalan influence also spread north and east. 1131-1162 Ramon Berenguer IV. 1137 Barcelona united with Aragon when Ramon Berenguer IV marries Petronila of Aragon. 1148 Frontier with Moors pushed back to Riu Ebre. 1196 Monastery of Poblet in Tarragona province takes the place of Ripoll as the pantheon of Catalan royalty.
the law and “comrade” was the common greeting. In 1937, two hundred years of conflict between church and state, city and country, workers and owners, erupted in the Spanish Civil War (which was actually the second Spanish Civil War). With critical assistance from Hitler and Mussolini, the fascist forces of Generalissimo Ferdinand Franco won the war and he was installed as dictator for life. Franco’s rein was the latest in a long line of insults to the people of Catalonia. The use of Catalan in government institutions and during public events was banned and the national dance, the Sardana, was suppressed. Catalan nationalism was outlawed, along with democracy, socialism, communism, and anarchism, including the publication of books on those subjects or even discussion of them in open meetings.
1213-76 1229-30 1213-1235 1238 1247-58
Jaume I, Count of Barcelona, dramatically expands Catalonian sphere of influence. Expulsion of Muslims from Majorca by AragoneseCatalan army. Jaume I (The Conqueror) takes Mallorca, Ibizia and Formentera. Jaume I conquers city and kingdom of Valencia. Series of revolts by Mudejar against Christians in
There have been over 20,000 books written about the Spanish Civil War, including For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, published less than two years after the war’s conclusion. While reporting on the war for the North American Newspaper Alliance, Hemingway had been gathering background material for his masterpiece. How is it that a great American novel takes place in a foreign land during a civil war? The movie of the book starred Gary Cooper as a man known only as The American, a Spanishspeaking history teacher and demolition expert. Sure that could happen; he’s from Montana, and he used to work in the mines. But the American has left the security of home
Valencia. 1263 Jaume I supervises theological dispute in Barcelona between a Jewish rabbi and a Christian convert. Both sides claim victory and Jews are not actively persecuted for the nonce. 1258-72 Consolat de Mar, the Catalonian code of trading practice holds sway throughout the Mediterranean. 1276-85 Pere III el Gran develops imperial strategy, restricting aristocracy at home and expanding on all fronts. 1282 “Scicilian vespers” in Sicily: French supporters of Angevin claimant massacred and other French driven from the island. 1282-83 Pere el Gran, sailing from Barcelona, takes Sicily. Under charade as a religious crusade and with blessing of the pope, French forces invade Catalonia. 1284 Fall of Seville to Crusaders. 1285 Catalans drive out French invaders and claim rich spoils. 1287 Conquest of Mallorca under Alfons III, Count of Barcelona. 1296 Jaume II occupies Alicante district south of Valencia. 1302-09 A “Grand Company,” of 6,500 almogavers (mercenary light
How is it that a great American novel takes place in a foreign land during a civil war?
and family to join his fate with a band of guerillas in the Pyrenees mountains fighting for freedom. A cropped-haired Ingrid Bergman played the part of Maria, a native woman recovering from rape at the hands of fascists. The American calms her fears and calls her el lapin. The Legion of Decency objected to a scene where the American and el lapin share a sleeping bag. As a compromise, the scene was re-filmed with the two underneath a blanket. Another imaginary version of the Spanish Civil War by a Nobel Prize winning author is Andre Malraux’s Man’s Fate. Why so many books about such a minor conflict in world history? It must have something to do with Catalonia. George Orwell actually served in the war, putting himself in harm’s way as a volunteer with the International Brigade. His book about the war is called Homage to Catalonia, published in the same year as Hemingway’s book but selling many fewer copies. Orwell wrote with the sure knowledge that, after the war was over, fascists, communists, and capitalists would all attempt to hijack history. Homage to Catalonia is his personal testament of what really happened.
infantry from Catalonia) wander the eastern Mediterranean, seize the Gallipoli peninsula, lay waste to Thrace, and conquer Athens. 1322 Construction begins on Cathedral of Santa Maria del Pi in Barcelona. 1323 Aragon conquers Sardinia.
Construction of Cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar.
It was not far from the beach…dedicated to Christ’s mother in her role as patroness of mariners—Mary, Stella Maris, Star of the Sea. ** 1336-87 Reign of Pere IV “el Ceremonios” (the Punctilious)
marks zenith of Aragonese-Catalan empire. 1347-8 Black death kills a quarter of the population of Barcelona and scours countryside, resulting in rise in wages for peasants and increasing their demands for rights.
1359 Founding of the Council of the Generalitat and establishment of the Disputacio as executive branch of
When Franco died in 1975 there was dancing in the streets of Barcelona. With the support of King Juan Carlos, Francoism was
being recognized as a “nationality” of Spain. Today,
Financial crash in Barcelona is the beginning of the end of empire. 1388 Catalan rulers overthrown in Athens. 1391 Persecution of Jews in Seville and looting of Jewish quarters, 1401 Jewish community of Barcelona officially suppressed, riots in Catalan towns of peasants against rich debt-holders. 1420 Much of Corsica reconquered. 1423 Catalan fleet smashes fleet from Marseilles. 1442 Alfonso V “the Magnanimous” reconquers Naples, makes it the new capital of Aragonese empire.
there are seven and a half million Catalonians. Spanish is
dismantled and political parties allowed to form. Free elections were held in 1977 and with the adoption of the Spanish Constitution of 1978, Catalonia recovered political and cultural autonomy,
the primary language but Catalan is spoken by more than a third of them, mostly in rural areas and small towns. Ships leaving Barcelona carry wine, cork, olives, oranges, lemons, grapes, and products of the city’s factories. Ships arriving carry tourists. Since the 1960s, tourism has been the number one industry. In 1992, five hundred years after Columbus’s discovery of the New World, the Olympic Games were held in Barcelona, marking Catalonia’s return as a center of world culture. Besides sun and fun, what Catalonia trades on is characterisme; the residual traces of its long and heterogeneous history.
University of Barcelona founded.
1454-58 Barcelona government reformed with equal representation between upper class and middle and lower classes. Urban upper class and nobility press for reforms to secure control over monarchy and lower classes. 1457 Return of the plauge decimates Catalonian population. 1458 Alfonso V dies as his troops lay seige to Genoa. His brother, Juan II appointed as king. 1462-72 Council of the Generalitat raises an army to put down rebellious remenca peasants demanding end of feudal serfdom and the right to own land. Juan II seeks aid from Louis XI of France resulting in seizure of Rossello by French troops. Catalan revolt ends when international anti-French coalition led by Juan II captures Barcelona. 1469 Princess Isabella of Castile marries Prince Ferdinand of Aragon, sealing Barcelona’s fate as secondary to Madrid. 1474 Isabella becomes Queen of Castile. 1479 Ferdinand becomes King of Aragon. 1492 Christopher Columbus sails from Barcelona,
discovers New World. Barcelona barred from trade with the New World. Boabdil, last Muslim king in Spain, surrenders Granada. 1494 Supreme Council of Aragon brings Catalonia under Castilian control. Castillian Spanish becomes the medium of political commication and literature. 1550 Spain controls Mexico, Central America, nearly all the West Indies, part of what is now the southwestern United States. 1556-1598 Reign of Phillip II: the Spanish Empire reaches its height—and begins its decline. 1569-71 Morisco uprising. Moriscos, speaking an Iberian form of Arabic, restricted mainly to rural areas. Their revolt is suppressed and they are forcibly dispersed. 1571 Vast fleet sets sail from Barcelona to defeat the Ottomans at sea during the Battle of Lepanto. 1588 Spanish Armada defeated by English navy. 1619 Spanish capital established in Madrid. 1640 Barcelona comes under French rule as capital of Catalonia. 1652 Spain regains control of Catalonia. September 11, 1714 Barcelona
Barcelona, honor of Spain, alarm and terror of enemies near and far, luxury and delight of its inhabitants, refuge of foreigners, school of chivalry, and epitome of all that a civilized and inquisitive taste could ask for in a great, manoured, rich and well-founded city…school of courtesy, travelers’ rest, protector of the poor, home of the brave, vengeance of the injured and happy meeting-place of close friendship. –Miguel de Cervantes
The “special status” of the territories belonging to the former Crown of Aragon abolished and all its lands incorporated to the Crown of Castile as provinces, within a united Spanish administration. 1800s Barcelona develops into leading industrial city of Spain. 1806-1813 French armies occupy Barcelona. 1808 Napoleon’s armies conquer Spain. The freedom-loving Spanish people bitterly resented the French occupation, striking back with a hit-and-run method of fighting called the guerrilla (little war), a word used ever since to describe such fighting. 1810-1825 American colonies of Spain in revolt. 1820 Spanish Revolution of 1820. Battalions of the Spanish Army join with civilian opposition to Fernando VII, forcing him to re-instate the Constitution of 1812. 1822-60 Absolutist uprising, Carlist War 1827 First Carlist Rebellion: The Revolt of the Aggrieved—royalist army officers lead a rebellion in the mountains of Catalonia, calling for the restoration of traditional government, the return of the Inquisition, and a purge of the army. “God and the old laws,” is their cry. 1833-40 First Spanish Civil War 1833 Fernando VII dies, leaving Spanish throne to daughter, Isabel. Traditionalists refused a female monarch, supporting her uncle Don Carlos. Much of the military success enjoyed by Carlist rebels was
attributed to their general, Tomas Zumalacarregui. Transforming a small, untrained group of rebels into an extremely effective army he perfected principals of guerilla warfare. In Catalonia, bands of Carlists razed factories and pillaged commercial market gardens. 1833 Publication of a Romantic ode, “La Patria,” in a Barcelona paper marks birth of “Renaixia,” a renewal of Catalan language and literature. Remains of ancien regime swept away in a series of national reforms. 1834 Royal Statue of 1834 grants modest degree of constitutional reform. 1835 Rioting in Barcelona. August 13, 1836 Sargeants’ mutiny forces the regent, Maria Christina, to reinstate the 1812 Constitution. 1841 General Baldomero Espartero proclaimed regent. 1843 Barcelona Coup ends Regency 1850’s Barcelona is the site of numerous revolts against Spanish monarchy. 1854 Medieval walls of Barcelona demolished and Ildefons Cerda designs a new city in which all citizens have equal access to daylight, space and air. 1857 Barcelona population: 178,625 1868 Spanish revolution scattered across Andalusia and Catalonia. Queen Isabella II driven into exile in France. General Juan Prim, head of provisional government, seeks to establish constitutional monarchy. 1870 Juan Prim assassinated. 1871 Amadeo of Savoy appointed King of Spain. 1873 Amadeo I abdicates throne: First Republic declared. 1875 Restoration monarchy: Alfonso XII installed by generals as King of Spain. 1876 Antonio Canovas del Castillo presides over a rotativist system of parliamentary government, or “peaceful turnaround.” Elections are held, but winners are decided ahead of time by petty nobility and landed oligarchy.
1880-1910 Modernisme, Catalan architecural and decorative momement related to the beaux arts movement, but way cooler because it’s in Catalonia. 1884 Work begins on Antonio Gaudi’s Church of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. 1896 Anarchists bomb Barcelona Corpus Christi procession. 1897 Prime Minister Canovas assassinated. 1898 Spanish-American War: Spain loses Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Phillipines. The Generation del ’98, a group of writers, poets, and intellectuals foment rebellion, protesting corruption in government and demanding radical change. 1900 Pablo Picasso stages first public exhibition at El Quatre Gats in Barcelona. (The Four Cats is Catalan slang for “just a few people.”) 1906 King Alfonso XIII’s wedding procession disrupted by bomb-throwing anarchists. 1910 National Confederation of Labor established in Barcelona. 1912 Prime Minister Jose Canalejas assassinated. 1917 Civil Guard troops machine gun strikers in Barcelona. 1917-1923 Restoration monarchy. Spain sits out World War I. Economy soars in Catalonia, producing chemicals, iron, steel, and ship building. Number of textile workers in Catalonia doubles. 1921 Prime Minister Eduardo Dato assassinated. 1923 General Miguel Primo de Rivera stages military coup. Alfonso XIII appoints him as dictator of Spain. 1924 Surrealist Manifesto signed by Catalan artists Joan Miro and Salvador Dali, among others.
Founding of Opus Dei (“God’s Work”), a lay Catholic education organization. 1930 Population of Barcelona exceeds one million. April, 1931 Municipal elections held as first step toward constitutional government. April 13, 1931 King Alfonso XIII flees country. A new constitution is written and the Second Republic is born. Churches are burned….(Sagrada de Familia?? Santa Maria del Mar??) 1932 The Statute of Catalonia grants autonomy, including its own parliament, but no sovereign powers. Agrarian Law allows for expropriation of landed estates without compensation. 1934 Spanish fascist party, Falange (or Phalanx”), founded by Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, son of the late dictator. Carlist rebels train militias in the mountains of Navarre. General Workers Union calls for a strike, resulting in separatist rising in Catalonia. Armed insurrection in Asturias with dynamite from the mines used by communards against Spanish troops. 1935-36 Spanish Popular Front wins narrow victory in national parliament.
Second Spanish Civil War
June 20, 1936 Anarchist mob breaks into workshops of Sagrada Familia, burning all designs and papers with plans for its construction and destroying all models. July 18, 1936 A group army generals rise in rebellion, gaining control of 1/3 of Spain. Franco’s Army of Africa in Spanish Morocco is stranded until Hitler and Mussolini send planes to ferry the army across the Strait of Gilbraltor. Franco marches north… Intervention of Germany, Italy, USSR, and International Brigades…. 193— Guernica bombed by Fascist forces, first use of sustained aerial bombing against civilians. 193_ Guernica, by Pablo Picasso displayed in Paris at __ something-something world exhibition____.
193_-193_ George Orwell serves as volunteer for the Republican army. Publishes Homage to Catalonia two years later. November, 1936 Joseph Stalin sends military aid and support to the Spanish Republic. May, 1937 Fighting erupts in the streets of Barcelona when anarchists, communists, and members of the Worker’s Party for Marxist Unity vie for control. Barcelona beomes seat of the Republican Government, the last stand, and the scene of mass evacuation of freedom-loving Catalonians. 1960-1974 Fueled by tourism, Spain’s economy grows at a rate of 6.6 annually, a rate of growth matched only by Japan. 1957 Opus Dei members appointed to Franco’s cabinet support professionalism, education, and technological development.
1960s Tourism boom………. 1969 King Alfonso XIII dies and Franco names his grandson, Juan Carlos, as his successor. 1970 General Education Law makes schooling free and compulsory for children aged 6 to 14. Children in Catalonia become tri-lingual, learning Spanish, English, and Catalan. 1973-74 Energy crisis drives oil prices up 500%, abrptly ending tourism boom. 1973 ETA (Euskadia Ta Askatasuna: “Basque Homeland and Liberty”) a Catholic Basque separatist group assasinates Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, Spain’s recently appointed Prime Minister and probable Franco successor. February 12, 1974 Prime Minister Arias Navarro Carlos announces “opening” of regime to democracy. November 20, 1975 Franco dies. In Barcelona there is dancing the streets. 1976 Adolpho Suarez oversees dismantling of Francoism and legalization of political parties. March 28, 1977 Spain applies for membership in European Community. June 15, 1977 Free and open national elections held for the first time in in forty years. 1978 Spaniards approve new Constitution recognizing Catalonia as an autonomous region and Catalan as its native language. 1979 After the deaths of six civilians, ETA announces cessation of targeting tourist destinations for terrorist actions. February 23, 1981 Lieutenant-Colonel Antonio Tejero leads military coup, holding members of Spanish Parliament hostage while tanks roll through the streets of Valencia. King Juan Carlos responds with a televised address declaring that he will not tolerate interruption of the democratic process and demanding that troops observe their oaths of loyalty. The hostages are released the next day and the coup ends. 1982 Spain joins NATO. January 1, 1986 Spain joins European Community. 1988 The Four Motors Memorandum: Bacelona joins with
Lyons in France, Lombardy in Italy, and Stuttgart in Germany to increase economic and social cooperation between the realms. 1990 Socialists introduce law that makes religious education optional and sex education mandatory in public schools. 1992 Expo ’92 Held in part to mark the fifth centenary of Columbus’s voyage to the new world, Barcelona hosted the Olympic Games, Madrid acted as European Cultural Capital, and Seville was the site of a Universal Exposition. References Hughes, Robert. Barcelona. Alfred A. Knopf, 1992 * Charlemagne (742-814) created the Hispanic Marc, a buffer state along the Pyrenees, which he entrustedt to local lords. Guifre el Pelos (Wilfred the Hairy), consolidated the counties of Barcelona, Cerdanya, Conflent, Osona Urgell, and Girona and founded the monastery of Ripoll, el bressol de Catalunya (the cradle of Catalonia.) Guifre died in battle against the Moors in 897. The four red bars on the Catalan flag represent the four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona. The design derives from a legend relating how Guifre el Pelos received a call for help from Charles the Bald, who ws King of the West Franks and grandson of Charlemagne. Guifre went to his aid and turned the tide of battle, but was mortally wounded. As he lay dying, Charles the Bald dipped his fingers in Guifre’s blood and dragged them across his plain gold shield, giving him a grant of arms. ** The prosperity of Barcelona meant that the city grew in the medieval period—rapidly, almost explosively. Jaume I began to construct new walls, to protect the town that his outward push into the Mediterranean had created….more than a hundred years to finish the project. …Barcelona’s Barri Gotic still contains the most concentrated array of thirteenth- to fifteenth-century building in Spain and, not discounting even Venice, the most complete in Europe.
The remarkable thing about this building boom was its manic quality. It flew, at least part of the time, in the face of economic reality. (famine, Black Death, etc.) But the three major churches of Gothic Barcelona, Santa Maria del Pi, Santa Maria del Mar, and the Cathedral, were constructed during and just after the plague years. High-Catalan Gothic, the building style of Barcelona in the fourteenth
century, is wholly distinctive and quite unlike English or French Gothic structures of the same period. The style grows out of the plainness of the thirteenth-century Cistercian foundations of the Alt Camp de Tarragona— Poblet and Santes Creus. It prefers solids to voids….Even the bell towers end in flat roofs, not in spires. p. 147: This combination of surface plainness and bony structural daring also marks Barcelona’s other prime urban church of the fourteenth century, Santa Maria del Mar. Santa Maria del Pi was begun in 1322. Santa
Maria del Mar got under way seven years later and took a little more than a half century to build.
Payne, Stanley G. A History of Spain and Portugal. University of Winsconsin Press, 1973. Madison, Wisconcin. Vincent, Mary and Stradling, R.A. Cultural Atlas of Spain and Portugal. Copyright 1994 by Andromeda Oxford Limited. Facts on File, Inc. New York, New York.
The photographs in this book were taking in May 2010 during a two week journey through Catalonia. Bob Sawatzki has been a writer for most of his life. He was an editor for ten years. He lives in Ogden, Utah and works at the library to support his writing habit. For more information and to order copies of Catalonia is Not Spain, send e-mail to: email@example.com
Published on Feb 15, 2012