Demonstration in Perpignan for the defense of Northern Catalonia

On this Saturday, November 5, the most Catalanists of Perpignan demonstrate to protest against the Treaty of the Pyrenees. Signed on

In 1639 France, by surprise, entered the Thirty Years’ War against Spain, which found itself even more weakened. As promised, Catalonia, then a geographically strategic territory, refused to make its resources available to Spain, creating an unprecedented crisis situation.

1638. Spain’s influence is at its lowest in Europe and the world. King Philip IV has the greatest difficulty in providing for the economic needs of the empire. The defense situation of the Spanish interior peninsula is at its worst. The Royal House has just asked the regions of the country to defend their own borders, which Catalonia refuses, creating strong tension with Madrid.

1640. The Catalans rise up against the Spanish sovereign Philip IV who increases agricultural taxes to finance the war against France. The situation degenerates and gives rise to the war of the reapers which will last 19 years. At the beginning of May 1640, when Spanish military troops were massively deployed in Catalan territory, peasants from Girona turned against them, attacking them.

At the end of the month, the peasants, joined by the mowers in June, went to Barcelona, ​​which they quickly conquered. They assassinate Spanish officials and judges representing King Philip IV. The Viceroy himself is assassinated as he tries to flee by sea. These dramatic events are known as the Body of Blood.

French hope

Between France and Spain, the Generalitat of Catalonia will make its choice and seek the favors of Richelieu. the the representatives of the Catalan government, Ramon de Guimerà and Francesc de Vilaplana (nephew of President Pau Claris) sign an agreement with Bernard du Plessis-Besançon, representative of Louis XIII and sent by Cardinal Richelieu to Céret (Perpignan).

According to the Pact of Ceret, Catalonia was to receive military aid, become independent from Spain and constitute itself a Republic under the protection of the French monarch.

Pau Claris france catalonia

President Paul Claris

In Barcelona, ​​the president Paul Claris convenes the parliament of the time (the Corts) on but simultaneously, and without consulting the municipalities, contacts with the French began. Pau Claris issues a public loan to finance military spending. The victory of French troops in the battles of Cambrils, Tarragona and Martorell puts Catalonia under pressure. Finally Louis XIII no longer wants a Catalan Republic and will become Count of Barcelona. The capital of Catalonia officially becomes French.

In 1644, Spain regained the hair of the beast. The armies of Philip IV recover the Catalan provincial towns that had been lost to France. The King of Spain recovers Barcelona in 1652 after the abandonment of the French troops. He is again recognized as sovereign, even if France retains control of Roussillon. In 1659 is signed the Treaty of the Pyrenees between France and Spain. It cut Catalonia into two parts, as we still know them today: the provinces of Barcelona, ​​Girona, Lleida, Tarragona to the south and Perpignan to the north.

“The Catalan language is repugnant to me”

The Catalan identity under French rule will not resist for long. The unity of France will go through language. Louis XIV issue a decree “Prohibition of the Catalan language in Roussillon” and make this remark: “The Catalan language is repugnant to me and its use is contrary to my authority and in honor of the French nation”.

The consequence of this edict will gradually result in the loss of Catalan in the communications of the administration and justice. A work of undermining regionalism in France by the monarchy which will continue and will even be accentuated after the French Revolution.

The ideology of the Republic will be the unity of France and Jacobinism to combine all powers within the central state. The regional parliaments on which the fathers of the Revolution had relied against King Louis XVI were quickly closed. Only the Paris National Assembly will represent the united people of France. It is still the same in 2022.

Demonstration in Perpignan for the defense of Northern Catalonia