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SPAIN: Culture

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PEOPLE

The Spanish Constitution of 1978, in its second article, recognizes historic entities ("nationalities," a carefully chosen word in order to avoid "nations") and regions, inside the unity of the Spanish nation.

But Spain's identity is sometimes, in fact, an overlap of different regional identities, some of them even conflicting.

Castile is considered by many to be the "core" of Spain. However, this may just be a reflection of the fact that the Castilian national identity was the first one to be quashed by the Spanish Empire in the revolt of the Communards (comuneros) in 1518-1520.

The opposite is the case of a large part of Catalans, Basques and, in some measure, Galicians, who quite frequently identify primarily with Galicia, Catalonia and the Basque Country first, with Spain only second, or even third, after Europe. For example, according to the last CIS survey, 44% of Basques identify themselves first as Basques (only 8% first as Spaniards); 40% of Catalans do so with their autonomous community (20% identify firstly with Spain), and 32% Galicians with Galicia (9% with Spain). Even more remarkable, almost all communities have a majority of people identifying as much with Spain as with the Autonomous Community (except Madrid, where Spain is the primary identity, and Catalonia, Basque Country and Balearics, where people tend to identity more with their Autonomous Community). Even Castille-Leon has 57% of people regarding themselves as much Spaniards as they are Castillians.

The situation is even more confusing, since there are regions with ambiguous identities, like Navarre, Valencia, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, etc. There has been a lot of internal migration (rural exodus) from regions like Galicia, Andalusia and Extremadura to Madrid, Catalonia, Basque Country and the islands.

Spain became a unified crown with the union of Castile and Aragon in 1492 and the annexation of Navarre in 1515. Until 1714, Spain was a loose confederation of kingdoms and statelets under one king, until King Philip V (Felipe V) removed the autonomous status of the Aragonese crown. Navarre and the Basque Provinces, however, kept a high degree of autonomy within their legal and financial system (Fueros). Moreover, the creation of a unified state in the 19th and 20th centuries has led to the present situation, which is apparently simple, but sometimes extremely confusing. During the Second Spanish Republic (1931–1936), Catalonia, the Basque country and Galicia were given limited self-government, which was lost after the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) and restored in 1978 during the transition to democracy.

You can use your international cellular phone rental to get closer to the people of Spain.

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