Barcelona and its residents suffered debilitating cultural and political repression under the authoritarian rule of Francisco Franco from 1939 to 1975, then experienced a political transition of great uncertainty for 5 years after Franco’s death in 1975, and since 1980 have experienced an exhilarating democracy in the city and substantial regional autonomy for its home region of Catalonia. Since Franco there has been almost no overt nationalistic violence, no Catalan terrorism or paramilitaries, and mainly indirect references to independence on the part of political leaders. Yet, when one examines the history, talks to the people, and goes beneath the mesmerizing authenticity of Barcelona, one finds a deeply rooted Catalan nationalism based on the region’s distinctive culture, language, and history which differs substantially from the centralist nationalism that has permeated the Spanish state for centuries. Politics in Catalonia are dominated by the ‘national question’ – specifically the appropriate political relationship between Catalonia and the Spanish state. Since the 1978 Spanish Constitution and the 1979 Autonomy Statute created Catalonia as an autonomous region in a democratic Spain, the push and pull of nationalist politics has been an ever-present characteristic of Catalonia’s social and political life.