Comarques of Catalonia
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (January 2013)|
This is a list of the comarques (singular "comarca" Catalan pronunciation: [kuˈmarkə]) of Catalonia. A comarca is roughly equivalent to a US "county" or a UK "district". However, in the context of Catalonia, the term "county" can be a bit misleading, because in medieval Catalonia, the most important rulers were counts, notably the Counts of Barcelona and of Urgell. Comarques have no particular relation to the "counties" that were ruled by counts.
Although today the comarques are officially recognized, for centuries they had existed unofficially, with citizens identifying with a particular comarca in the same way that people in other parts of the world might identify with a particular region.
In some cases, comarques consist of rural areas and many small villages centering around an important town, where the people of the region traditionally go to shop or to sell their goods. This is the case of comarques such as the Pla d'Estany, centered on the town of Banyoles, or the Ripollès, centered on the town of Ripoll. In other cases, comarques are larger areas with many important population centers that have traditionally been considered part of the same region, as in the case of the Empordà or Vallès.
The current official division of Catalonia into comarques originates in an order of the semi-autonomous Catalan government under the Spanish Republic in 1936. It was superseded after the 1939 victory of Francisco Franco's forces in the Spanish Civil War, but restored in 1987 by the re-established Generalitat of Catalonia. Since the definition of comarques is traditionally a non-official and sometimes ambiguous, many new proposals have been made since the comarques were first officially designated as different towns attempt to adjust the official comarques with what they consider to be their traditional comarca. As a result, some revisions to the official division were made in 1988, adding Pla de l'Estany, Pla d'Urgell and Alta Ribagorça in 1990, when some borders were adjusted. As of 2004[update] there was discussion of possibly further subdividing some of the comarques. 
Because the Catalan language has a relatively complex set of rules for the form of the definite article, and because (in Catalan) the names of comarques (except for Osona) typically take the definite article in any position except as the subject of a sentence, the following list indicates the appropriate form of the definite article for each comarca. Because Val d'Aran is an Aranese-speaking area, it is often written as "era Val d'Aran", using the Aranese definite article.
|l'Alt Penedès||Vilafranca del Penedès||105,670||592.4|
|l'Alt Urgell||La Seu d'Urgell||22,008||1,446.9|
|l'Alta Ribagorça||Pont de Suert||4,284||426.8|
|el Baix Camp||Reus||191,947||695.3|
|el Baix Ebre||Tortosa||82,634||987.9|
|el Baix Empordà||La Bisbal d'Empordà||133,116||700.5|
|el Baix Llobregat||Sant Feliu de Llobregat||803,705||486.5|
|el Baix Penedès||El Vendrell||101,115||295.5|
|la Conca de Barberà||Montblanc||21,290||648.9|
|el Garraf||Vilanova i la Geltrú||146,469||184.1|
|les Garrigues||Les Borges Blanques||20,306||799.7|
|el Pallars Jussà||Tremp||14,374||1,290.0|
|el Pallars Sobirà||Sort||7,548||1,355.2|
|el Pla de l'Estany||Banyoles||31,169||262.7|
|el Pla d'Urgell||Mollerussa||37,265||304.5|
|la Ribera d'Ebre||Móra d'Ebre||23,889||825.3|
|la Selva||Santa Coloma de Farners||172,280||995.5|
|la Terra Alta||Gandesa||12,847||740.0|
|era Val d'Aran||Vielha e Mijaran||10,192||620.5|
|el Vallès Occidental||Sabadell, Terrassa||892,260||580.7|
|el Vallès Oriental||Granollers||399,900||851.9|
The following municipalities changed comarca in 1990, mostly following local referendums:
There are some other comarques which are often referred as historical comarques of Catalonia, because their present territory was part of the former Principality of Catalonia, but they are not currently within the Autonomous Community of Catalonia.
|el Rosselló (Roussillon)||Perpinyà (Perpignan)||Northern Catalonia / Part of France|
|l'Alta Cerdanya||Font-romeu (Font-Romeu-Odeillo-Via)||Northern Catalonia / Part of France|
|el Capcir||Els Angles (Les Angles)||Northern Catalonia / Part of France|
|el Vallespir||Ceret (Céret)||Northern Catalonia / Part of France|
|el Conflent||Prada de Conflent (Prades)||Northern Catalonia / Part of France|
- (Catalan) The Institut d'Estadística de Catalunya is an excellent source of statistical information for Catalonia, down to the level of individual municipalities. It is also our source for which municipalities are in which comarca. Parts of the site are in English and Spanish, although most of it is in Catalan.
- (Catalan) Comarcàlia - Information about the various comarques in a variety of languages, including English. Includes good maps down to the level of individual municipalities (or, as they choose to translate, "boroughs").
- (Catalan) History of present comarcal division. Catalonia, La Franja and Northern Catalonia.