Custom dating 1920s
The people of hamlets, villages, towns, and cities—the basic political units of the Spanish population—and sometimes even neighborhoods ( barrios ) hold local identities that are rooted not only in differences of local geography and microclimate but also in perceived cultural differences made concrete in folklore and symbolic usages.Throughout rural Spain, despite the strength of localism, there is also a perception of shared culture in rural zones called comarcas.
Cataluña has had greater autonomy in the past and had, at different times, as close ties with southwestern France as with Spain.
The Catalan language, like Spanish, is a Romance language, lacking the mysterious distinction that Basque has.
The comarca is a purely cultural and economic unit, without political or any other official identity.
In what are known as market communities in other parts of the world, villages or towns in a Spanish comarca patronize the same markets and fairs, worship at the same regional shrines in times of shared need (such as drought), wear similar traditional dress, speak the language similarly, intermarry, and celebrate some of the same festivals at places commonly regarded as central or important.
This growing power was soon to be enhanced by the Crown's monopoly (vis-a-vis other regions and the rest of Europe) on all that accrued from Christopher Columbus's discovery of the New World, which occurred under Crown sponsorship.