Hundreds of people were injured Sunday as police tried to stop a controversial referendum on independence for the Catalonia region of northeast Spain. According to the Catalan government, 90 percent of the ballots cast were for independence. But the chaotic vote had been declared illegal earlier by Spain’s constitutional court, and the central government is sure to fight to keep the nation’s richest region. Catalans complain that they pay more taxes than they get back.
Class discussion: Should Catalans, who have their own language and cultural history, be allowed to separate from the rest of Spain? Why or why not? Many modern nations, like the U.S., are made up of people from different ethnic and religious groups. Is that ever a problem? Does it make a difference if a nation’s diversity is a result of immigration or of a people being conquered like the Catalans? Can you find examples of other ethnic or religious groups trying to gain independence?