CATALONIA (Cataluna), an autonomous region, and for merly a province of Spain, formerly also a principality of Aragon; bounded on the north by the Pyrenees, west by Aragon, south by Valencia, and east by the Mediterranean Sea. Pop. (1932) esti mated 3,000,000; area, 12,000 sq. miles. The triangular territory of Catalonia forms the north-east corner of the Iberian Peninsula. It was divided in 1833 into four provinces, Barcelona, Gerona, Lerida and Tarragona (see separate articles). The surface is much broken by southern spurs of the Pyrenees. Running south-west to north-east, and united on the north with one of the offsets of the Pyrenees, is the range of the Sierra Llena, which bisects Cata lonia, and forms its central watershed. The principal rivers are the Ter, the Llobregat and the Ebro (q.v.), which all run into the Mediterranean. The coast is in places difficult but has important harbours, e.g., Barcelona and Tarragona. Cut off orographically on the south and west Catalonia has had more associations with south France than with the Douro or Guadalquivir basins, and the Catalan language differs considerably from Castilian Spanish and has affinities with Provençal. Catalonia was one of the first of the Roman possessions in Spain, forming the north-eastern por tion of Hispania Tarraconensis. About 470 it was occupied by Alans and Goths. It was conquered by the Moors in 712, but these invaders were in turn dispossessed by the Spaniards and the troops of Charlemagne in 788. Catalonia was subsequently ruled by French counts, who soon made themselves independent of France. By the marriage of Count Raymond Berenger IV. of Barcelona with Petronilla of Aragon, Catalonia became annexed to Aragon but this union was frequently severed. In 1640, when Philip IV. attempted to deprive Catalonia of its rights and privi leges, it gave itself up to Louis XIII. of France. It was restored to Spain in 1659, and was once more occupied by the French from 1694 to 1697. Under Philip V. Catalonia, in 1714, was deprived of its cortes and liberties. From 1808 to 1813 it was held by France. It was the scene of civil war in 1823, and of important revolutionary operations in the Carlist wars. See also SPAIN.
The average temperature varies from about 48° F in January to F in July on the coast and the rainfall is about 21 inches with a maximum in September and October and a lower maximum in March and April. The dwarf-palm, orange, lime and olive grow in the warmer tracts ; and on the higher grounds the thorn-apple, pomegranate, myrtle, esparto and heaths flourish. There is much woodland, but meadows and pastures are rare. Wheat, maize, millet, rye, flax, liquorice, vines and fruits of all sorts--especially nuts, almonds, oranges, figs and walnuts and chestnuts—are pro duced. Few cattle, but numbers of sheep, goats and swine are reared. Coastal fisheries are excellent. The wines are for the most part rough and strong, though good when matured. Catalonia was prominent in the wool industry early in the Middle Ages and in modern times the extended use of water-power for textile manu facture is making Barcelona an important industrial and com mercial city. With the increase of irrigation the country around the city is being developed as a wheat growing area.