Sunday the first of October 2017, will go down in the history books as a momentous occasion for the Spanish nation. It will be the day that Spain lost Catalonia, not because the majority of the Catalans wanted it, but because of the brutal response of the Spanish government to the holding of a peaceful referendum that was considered illegal in Madrid. So how will the rising in Barcelona affect Ibiza? The Balearic islands, like Catalonia, are one of the 17 autonomous regions of Spain, similar to Scotland and the North Of Ireland, with their own parliaments and local government. Ibiza was conquered by the Catalans in 1235, pushing out the Moores and building the impressive walls and battlements that we see around Dalt Vila today and they have held the island ever since. It was part of the Christian reconquest of Spain which ended with the surrender of the Muslim held Granada region in 1492.
Catalan is the official language of Ibiza and its flag hangs outside civic offices alongside the Spanish flag, but all signposts and official government business is conducted in Catalan. Ibiza town is officially named Eivissa and San Antonio translates into Sant Antoni. There are three languages spoken in Ibiza, Catalan, Spanish and Eivissenc, a local variation of Catalan. However the Catalans that live on the islands would consider themselves more chilled than their radical cousins in Barcelona and Girona. They have their own opinion of what is happening in the Catalan capital and in typical island fashion, will shrug their shoulders knowing that there are a lot of cultural and economic factors at play here on both sides, but they have been unsettled by the violence and controversial content of the Kings speech Nobody wants to loose Catalonia on their watch.
At the same time, there is no love lost between some Spanish and Catalans in Ibiza. Think of them as the Man Utd and Man City supporters of Spain. In response to the Catalan rising in Barcelona, the powerful Ibicenco family, The Matutes, who own and control much of the island and enjoy good relations with Madrid, digitally displayed a giant Spanish flag on the Worlds biggest LED curved screen, located on the side of the Hard Rock Hotel building, while the Catalans could only muster up 250 people in a demonstration in Vara de Ray to support the independence rally in Barcelona. The whole Catalan question is a complex situation that only the regional Spaniards can fully grasp, as each autonomy has its own relationship with the Republican Catalans, especially in business.
So whatever happens in Barcelona, life and business in Ibiza will go on as it did before. The Catalans and Spanish will both proudly display their flags and nationally, while each having a certain level of respect for the other. Families will send their kids to Universities in Madrid, Barcelona and Palma and everybody will get on together, as this is Ibiza an open society that tries not to judge and accept all cultures as one. Ibiza down through the centuries was considered a refuge to political outcasts, free thinkers and black sheep and I would expect that peaceful, open and welcoming attitude to remain, as dark clouds gather over European democracy and its role in allowing this to happen.