Catalonia’s independence: How did it happen? A timeline of key events

This is the timeline of how events unfolded

Jon Stone
Europe Correspondent
Friday 27 October 2017 17:35
Supporters of Catalan independence react to news that the Catalan parliament has declared independence
Supporters of Catalan independence react to news that the Catalan parliament has declared independence

The Spanish region of Catalonia is in the grip of a political crisis; here is a timeline of how the situation has escalated over the last past three years, culminating in its declaration of independence.

January 2015

After a non-binding referendum-style opinion poll the previous year showed high support for independence, Catalan president Artur Mas calls new regional elections as a further test of support.

September 2015

Separatist parties win a majority in regional elections in Catalonia on a platform of pushing for independence.

November 2015

Catalonia’s regional parliament votes for a resolution in support of independence, pledging a “disconnection from the Spanish state” in legislation.

December 2015

Spain’s constitutional court in Madrid strikes down the Catalan parliament’s vote for independence, ruling that the new legislation infringes the national constitution.

January 2016

Carles Puigdemont takes over as president of the Catalan regional government after an agreement between separatist parties in the regional parliament.

June 2017

The Catalan government calls an independence referendum for October 2017

7 September 2017

The Spanish constitutional court suspends a referendum law introduced by the Catalan regional government, declaring the upcoming referendum illegal.

15 September 2017

Spanish police seize ballot boxes hidden by the regional government

20 September 2017

Spanish police storm and occupy Catalan government ministries to search for evidence that the Catalan government is breaking the law by trying to hold a referendum. Protesters take to the streets in response

1 October 2017

Thousands of Catalan take to the street to occupy polling stations and keep them open amid police crackdown to supress referendum. 92 per cent of people who vote in the referendum back independence on a 43 per cent turnout.

3 October 2017

Huge protests and a general strike shake Catalonia as King Felipe VI condemns the Catalan government in a strongly-worded television address

11 October 2017

Spanish prime minister Mario Rajoy sets the Catalan government a deadline of 16 October to clarify whether they have declared independence or not, with a further three-day extension to 19 October.

17 October 2017

Spain’s national court orders the imprisonment of Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, two leading Catalan separatist politicians.

21 October 2017

Spanish government suspends Catalonia’s autonomy and says it will impose direct rule from next Saturday, 28 October.

26 October 2017

Catalan president of government Carles Puigdemont opts against declaring independence himself and says he will leave the decision to MPs.

27 October 2017

Catalan parliament meets and unilaterally declares independence by 70 votes to 10, in a vote boycotted by the opposition. Later that day, Spain’s senate approves new powers for the Madrid government to impose direct rule on Catalonia by 214 votes to 47.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in