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Why Catalan Independence Won't Happen Anytime Soon

What to Expect After the Referendum

People hold Catalan separatist flags known as "Esteladas" during a gathering to mark the Catalonia day "Diada" in central Barcelona, September 2016. Albert Gea / REUTERS

Barring a last-minute development, on October 1, the separatist government of Catalonia will convene a non-binding referendum on whether the region should declare itself an independent nation from Spain. This follows a victory by Catalan nationalist forces in the 2015 regional elections that for the first time in Catalonia’s history brought to power a coalition of political parties demanding outright independence. Upon declaring victory, Catalan Premier Carles Puigdemont announced that it was his intention to seek the establishment of the “Republic of Catalonia.”

If successful, Catalonia’s drive toward independence would dramatically alter the geography of the Kingdom of Spain, a country that has basically existed in its current configuration since 1492, with the marriage of Queen Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragón (a kingdom which included the Principality of Catalonia), universally known as the “Catholic Monarchs.” It would also massively diminish Spain as a nation state: Catalonia comprises 16 percent

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