Catalonia Maps, History and Culture

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Interactive Map of Catalonia, Spain

Catalonia Map Links:

Located on the far eastern coast of Spain that borders the Mediterranean Sea is Catalonia. The Catalonia map contains the popular coastal city of Barcelona, which is located at an almost perfect halfway point along the length of the region’s coast.

Barcelona is the second-most populated city in all of Spain, second to the capital city of Madrid. Catalonia borders France to the north, Aragon to the west, Valencia to the south, and the Mediterranean Sea to the east.

The entire Catalonia map covers a total area of approximately 12,000 square miles, making it the sixth most populated region in Spain.

City List:

  • Barcelona
  • Tarragona
  • Lleida
  • Girona
  • Reus
  • Figueres
  • Blanes
  • Badalona

Quick Facts:

  • Population: 7.5 million
  • Languages: Spanish, Catalan
  • Ethnicities: Catalans
  • Capital: Barcelona

The History of Catalonia

Before the Romans invaded, the Mediterranean side of Spain was established by the Iberians. Iberians were indigenous people whom the Romans came to call Hispani after naming the Iberian Peninsula Hispania around 6th Century BC. When the Romans conquered the territory during this time period, they quickly colonized the city of Tarragona, making it one of the most important cities in Roman Hispania.

The Romans built roads, aqueducts, and a strong agricultural economy. Not only did the Romans harvest crops to sell, but they built the roads that made trade possible. During this time, the region converted to Roman Catholic Christianity.

The Roman Empire fell in 476 AD, which led to the Visigoths conquering the region and establishing the Visigoth Kingdom. The Visigoths were a Germanic tribe that lived in the region until the Muslim Invasion during the 700s.

Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula moved westward after the death of the Prophet Mohammed. During this time, Muslims invaded territories and claimed them as their own, pushing Christians into the mountains of Northern Spain. The Muslims were unable to conquer the mountainous regions of Northern Spain, so this gave Christians a refuge while the Muslims ruled.

In 801, the Frankish Empire, an empire of Germanic people, regained control of the region from the Muslims. During this time, the region was divided into counties that banded together to become heavily militarized.

By 1137, the counties of Catalonia, including the County of Barcelona, had unified with the Kingdom of Aragon and became a principality of the Crown of Aragon. The Kingdom of Aragon benefited greatly from unifying with Catalonia, as the Mediterranean coastline allowed Aragon to set up a base for its marine fleet. This led to Barcelona becoming a wealthy and populated city that still exists today.

During the early modern era in 1462, the Catalan Civil War began. The Catalan Civil War was caused by political division between supporters of John II of Aragon and the Catalan constitutionalists.

John II of Aragon supporters royal influence in Catalonia through the Kingdom of Aragon, while Catalan constitutionalists wanted to end the royal influence that Aragon had in the area. The war lasted for ten years, with John II of Aragon being victorious and establishing the status quo in the area.

The modern era of Ferdinand and Isabella’s marriage was the beginning of Spain becoming a unified country. Ferdinand was from Aragon while Isabella was from Castile. Until now, Aragon and Castile had maintained distance and not entered into any form of a union; however, the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella caused the two territories to unify, which paved the way for Spain to be formed. By 1516, King Charles I of Spain became the first king to rule over both Aragon and Castile.

The War of the Spanish Succession began in 1701 when King Charles II of Spain died in 1701 without birthing an heir to the throne. The closest relative to the throne was Philip V of the French House of Bourbon, as Philip V was Charles’ half-sister’s grandson. Because Philip V was from the French House of Bourbon, there was much disapproval of this line of succession. Therefore, the War of the Spanish Succession began.

The war ended when Philip V gave up his rights to the throne in France to remain the King of Spain by establishing the Salic Law of Succession in Spain. The Salic Law of Succession states that only patriarchal lineage is allowed to fulfill the throne. If no patriarchal lineage is present, the crown can then be passed to the matriarchal descendent.

During the 1800s, Catalans supported a unified and federal Spain. Catalan had been influenced by the French for decades and supported the First Spanish Republic. Unfortunately, the Spanish Republic was unsuccessful in separating ties with France, to which Catalans used as a driving force for becoming unified with Spain and distant from France.

In 1914, four Catalan provinces joined forces to create the Commonwealth of Catalonia. The Commonwealth was the beginning of Catalonia becoming an autonomous territory, but it was short-lived. In 1925, Spanish dictator and Prime Minister, Primo de Rivera, abolished the Commonwealth, leaving the territory in an economic recession.

During the Second Spanish Republic in 1936, Catalonia gained strength once more. Catalonia finally received its first Statute of Autonomy, which granted the territory with autonomy, a parliament, a government, a court of appeals, and a president. General Francisco Franco died in 1975, which led Catalonia to vote to adopt the Spanish Constitution of 1978, which gave Catalonia official autonomy in 1979.


Spanish and Catalan are the two most spoken languages in the region. Spanish, which is a Castilian dialect known throughout the Iberian Peninsula, is the type of Spanish that is spoken and taught throughout the country. Spanish is spoken by approximately 46% of the population in Catalonia.

Catalan is the second most spoken language in the region. Catalan is spoken by approximately 37% of the population in Catalonia. Catalan was derived from the Romans, who landed in the western region of the Iberian Peninsula.

Today, a combination of both Spanish and Catalan is commonly spoken among those living in the region.


Roman Catholicism is the primary religion of the region. Roman Catholicism began in the region when the Romans entered and began converting the Iberians to Christianity. From a brief time during the Muslim Invasion, Islam was prevalent in the area; however, during the Christian Reconquest, Roman Catholics were able to take back the area and reestablish Christianity, resulting in the current practice of Christianity throughout the region today.


The Catalonia map will show miles of coastline, low-lying mountain ranges, and rich river basins all inside the region. The vast geography allows Catalonia to thrive in many different industries and environments.

The coastal cities give Catalonia a front seat to a prosperous tourist industry. The mountains act as a barrier to help separate the industrial and coastline towns to the south from the rural farming town to the north.

The climate throughout the rural areas of the region helps different types of crops blossom, including grapes, rice, potatoes, and olives. This has allowed Catalonia to be successful in both agriculture as well as industry.


Barcelona gives Spain much of its cultural notoriety today. There are many Gothic buildings, churches, and venues throughout the city. Barcelona focuses on the region of Catalonia by flying Catalonia flags and speaking the Catalan language. Barcelona hosted the 1992 Summer Olympic Games, which helped the city expand into the cultural tourist town it is today.

Immigration & Migration Patterns

Catalonia did not experience immigration the way other Spanish autonomous regions did. One of the ways Catalonia kept emigrants from leaving the region is accredited to its quick rebound in the economy after the Spanish Civil War.

Where other regions were left in financial ruin and forced citizens to find other opportunities outside of their native region, Catalonia did the opposite. Catalonia became the second-fastest growing economy in all of Spain, dubbing it the title Spanish Miracle. This allowed Catalans to remain in their native region without emigrating to find better opportunities.

On the flip side, this success caused many immigrants to move to Catalonia. During this time, French, Italian, and other Spanish immigrants moved to Catalonia to take advantage of the many available opportunities.


Catalan genealogy is centralized in eastern Spain. Because of the influx of immigrants into the area during the 1950s and 1960s, the genealogy patterns of Catalans will likely begin to include neighboring French, Italian, and other Spanish ethnicities.

Like other regions in Spain, it would not be uncommon for the Catalan genealogy to be found in the southern United States, Central, and South America, and various Caribbean countries; however, Catalonia was one of the most successful regions in Spain after the Spanish Civil War.

Therefore, Catalonia did not experience the record number of emigrants leaving the region the way other regions did.

Caleb Pike
About the author

Caleb Pike is an avid hiker and nature lover, with a passion for exploring the great outdoors. He's a writer, photographer, and adventurer, always seeking new trails to blaze and peaks to conquer.