The capital is separates the coastal plain from the Ebro river basin.
The Catalanides have historically separated the industrial towns of the coast from the predominantly agricultural settlements of the hinterlands.
Slightly more than one-third of Catalonia remains under cultivation, and the traditional crops of olives and grapes are being supplanted by fruits and vegetables for consumption in the cities.
The raising of pigs and cows is the dominant agricultural activity.
The Catalan textile industry first achieved prominence between 12 and long remained the region’s premier industry.
The sector underwent rapid expansion and diversification since the 1950s, however, and metalworking, food-processing, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries had overtaken textiles in importance by the 21st century.
With more than one-third of registered voters participating in the balloting, over 80 percent expressed a desire for independence.
With Madrid continuing to oppose his efforts, Mas called for snap regional parliamentary elections to be held in September 2015.
Ultimately, Mas proceeded with the referendum but framed it as an informal poll of Catalan opinion.
Full autonomy was granted in 1979 with the establishment of the autonomous community of Catalonia.