Today it’s the 350 anniversary of the Treaty of the Pyrenees (link in Catalan) and the French occupation of the Catalan northern territories. With this treaty France and Spain, after a succession war, split Catalonia in two by separating the northern counties of Rosselló and half of Cerdanya from the rest of the Catalan nation. The treaty specified that the Catalan institutions had to be respected but this wasn’t the case and France dissolved them. Over the centuries this has resulted in an impoverishment of the region which passed from being a rich manufacturing center to a rural area with 20% chronic unemployment thanks to the French efforts towards destroying its identity and converting Northern Catalonia into another French province.
However, the bonds between the northern and southern Catalonia were strong and the culture has been preserved until nowadays. The biggest city of the area is Perpinyà, La Catalana. Which hosts USAP, one of the best rugby clubs in europe and champions of the 2009 french rugby league.
Today there’s a demonstration in Perpinyà (link in Catalan) and several other acts and cultural activities organized in favour of the Catalan culture and the unity of the Catalan nation. The demonstration slogans are “350 years of resistance” and “Let’s erase the Treaty of the Pyrenees”.
A high speed train will soon connect Perpinyà with downtown Barcelona making the commute a 45 minutes trip. The construction is expected to finish in two years therefore strengthening the bonds between the Northern and Southern Catalonia.