The worldwide diaspora of Spain’s regional communities: its reach, its history and its modern relevance

CERC Working Paper 3/2008, December 2008:

Author: Dr Peter Gerrand, Honorary Research Fellow, CERC.

Word length: 14,007. One Figure (B&W photograph) and four Tables included.

Abstract:
This paper surveys the geographical distribution of the Spanish diaspora, using as the data base the more than 1,000 emigrant centres registered with Spain’s governments. The names of the centres, created as grass-roots initiatives since the 1840s by groups of Spanish emigrants, reflect the prime identification of the emigrants with their ethnic home region rather than with their Spanish nationality. The historical evidence for the chosen destinations of the emigrants from different regions of Spain in different periods, extracted from a range of secondary sources, is found to be consistent with the locations of the surviving centres, populated by their descendants.

Moving to the post-Franco era, the initiatives taken by the regional governments of Spain to build enduring links with their diasporas are surveyed, including their emphasis on ‘extra-territorial’ ethnic identity via legislation, the organization of international conferences for their global ‘collectivities’ and the annual celebration of international days. The crucial supporting role of the Catalan diaspora in the successful bid for the .cat top level Internet domain is noted; an example not lost on the Galicians seeking a .gal and the Basques seeking a .eus to raise the online visibility of their languages and cultures.

Read the complete online paper here.

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