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Spain Is Different: Goats, Bulls, and the Catalonia Issue
By NudgeNudge | 17th July, 2013 | 12:06 am | Spain is Different


Goats, Bulls, and the Catalonia Issue

Oh, there you are again.

Yes, yes I am. What's wrong with that?

Your first article. That's what's wrong.

What? Why?

It didn't follow any structure. It was just a series of unrelated anecdotes with little interest.

Well, you know what? I'll give you that. But I'm going to make an amazing second article, and you will shut your mouth forever.

What's it about?

Qinglong asked me about bullfighting, and later Ivan Vodkov wanted to know more about independence movements in Cataluña. I'm going to merge both topics a little bit.

OK. Well, start talking a little bit about bullfighting.

Bullfighting is a...spectacle? It's not really a sport, more like a blood-sport. Its supporters say that it's an art, a fight between human and beast, a dance of death...and thinks like that. They can be pretty poetic sometimes. Hemingway loved bullfighting, as well as Picasso.


Pictured: Bull

In a normal "corrida", three bullfighters kill two 1000lb heavy bulls each, with aid of picadores(people with a horse and a lance) and banderilleros(people with two... pointy things which they use to stab the bull).

This last paragraph is probably the saddest thing ever written in this forums. How can you kill a bull?

Here we go, right to the important part. Twenty years ago, almost nobody had a problem with this. But now, animal rights associations are growing and trying to get bullfighting, and every other bad thing we do to bulls, banned.

Wait... You hurt bulls in other ways different than bullfighting?

Oh, yes. We set their horns on fire, we throw them into the sea...We even invented a form of bullfighting in which the bullfighters are midgets and clowns.


Probably the most surrealistic photo you have seen today!

I'm not sure I want to keep reading...

It is best I not tell you about those towns where we used to throw a goat from a bell-tower...



Remember this?

Like I told you, there are animal rights organizations that have tried to get bullfighting banned. Look at these maps:



The first map shows bullfighting popularity in the 19th century, while the other one shows how relevant it is nowadays. As you can see, almost nobody does bullfighting in the north, and it's actually banned in the Canary Islands and Catalonia. The only places where it's still important is in the capital (Madrid is that thing right at the center of the map) and Andalusia in the south.

Oh, that's a relief. It's good that the Canary Islands and Catalonia are still right in their minds!

Well... While I can't speak about the Canary Islands position since I wasn't even born when they banned bullfighting, Catalonia's reasons for the prohibition are...not related to animal cruelty at all.

What then?

This awesomely leads us to the next part of the discussion. As you may know, bullfighting is part of Spain's national identity. If there's one thing we are known for internationally, it is "toreo". Also flamenco.


Spain in a nutshell?

I have no idea why flamenco got so popular around the world.

No idea at all...

Can we get this article back on track?

Ok, God, fine...Catalonia has a history of wanting to form another country, since they feel that they have nothing in common with Spain. It's similar to what happens with the Basque Country, only Catalans haven't killed anyone so far.

So that's the real reason Catalonia banned bullfighting: they try to avoid any cultural ties with Spain in order to defend their own "national identity".

What are Catalonia's reasons for independence?

That's the question here, the big question. First of all, there's an economic reason. Every autonomous community has to give money to the Spanish state, obviously. And since Catalonia is one of the most populated ones (and the one with the biggest GDP) they have to give substantially more money than the rest of the communities. And they don't want to.


You also have that Barcelona is a pretty big city, but every institutional government organization is located in Madrid. So it's more comfortable for them to secede and form their own little country without having to depend on the capital for everything.

Well, that sounds pretty reasonable after all

Their other argument is weaker. They say their cultural origins are different from Spain's, and that Catalan is a nationality, not a simple demonym. Yes, they have a different language (although 99% of them speak perfect Spanish), but so do Galicians and Valencians, and their independent groups aren't that big.

History time: Before the 16th century, Spain was divided in three kingdoms: Castile, Aragon and Navarre (our south was controlled by the Arabs, but by the 15th century they were really weak). Catalonia was part of Aragon, as well as Valencia. When the Catholic Monarchs married (Isabella from Castile and Ferdinand from Aragon), their descendants became rulers of both kingdoms, and also Navarra, who ended up joining the party. In 1519, we can begin to speak of Spain as a country.


Thanks to this guy.

Of course, not every Aragonese (and I mean the three different regions there) was happy with this. They had won some really cool rights thanks to the suckitude of Peter the III in 1283 and they didn't want some Habsburgs to get rid of them.

You know what? I almost prefer goat throwing?

Let me finish, please. Cue to 1700. With the Habsburgs, each kingdom had conserved their own laws and government institutions, so Aragonese were quite happy. But then, Captain Inbreeding did his work and King Charles the II died without children. There was war... and the French won. And since the Aragonese had supported the Habsburgs in the war, new monarch Philip the V abolished every right they had with the Nueva Planta decrees. Which is funny, because not only did Catalonia like the French, but THEY WERE PART OF FRANCE FOR SOME TIME IN THE 17th CENTURY. In fact, Catalonia fighting the Spanish then going to France then forming their own republic then being defeated by Spain in 1640-1659 is probably the beginning of their independence movements.

Are you finished yet?

I think I am. I just wanted to give some historical background in order to show that...well, Catalonia really doesn't have a past that didn't involve Spain. They have always been part of our country. Yes, they speak their own language, but Canadians have French and English, and Swiss have French and German, and almost every African country has at least two languages. Do they fight? Of course they do. Do they want to form their own countries? Probably.


I forgot what point I was trying to make.


So that's it. Take sides. Argue. Ask me anything. See you in the forums!

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Tags: Spain, politics 35

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