Madrid: Pro-independence groups won control of Catalonia`s regional parliament in an election on Sunday that they vowed will lead to secession from Spain by 2017.
Following are key dates in the history of Catalonia`s independence drive:
1479: The marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon -- a region including Catalonia at the time -- to Isabel of Castile unites the two regions, bringing Catalonia under the crown.
1714: Barcelona falls to Spanish and French forces in the War of Succession and its autonomous institutions are dissolved.
19th century: During industrialisation, Catalonia experiences a cultural renaissance and the start of a movement to revive Catalan traditions and language.
1932: Spain`s parliament grants Catalonia a statute of autonomy granting it broad powers over its internal affairs. Both Spanish and Catalan are recognised as official languages in the region.
October 6, 1934: Left-wing republican Lluis Companys declares the region "a Catalan state in the federal republic of Spain," which lasts just a few hours before he is arrested.
January 24, 1939: General Francisco Franco`s forces take control of Barcelona after a three-year civil war.
Catalan autonomy is suppressed and the speaking of Catalan in public is banned across Spain until Franco`s death in 1975.
October 31, 1978: Spain`s new constitution recognises Catalonia among various distinct communities in Spain but lays down the "indissoluble unity" of the Spanish nation.
October 25, 1979: In a referendum, Catalans approve a new autonomy statute for greater powers in areas such as healthcare, education and culture.
June 18, 2006: Catalans approve a new autonomy charter, negotiated with the then Socialist government and approved by the national parliament, increasing their fiscal and judicial powers and describing Catalonia as a "nation."
September 2009: The small town of Arenys De Munt becomes the first in Catalonia to hold a symbolic local vote on regional sovereignty. Hundreds more towns follow.
June 2010: Responding to an appeal by the conservative Popular Party, Spain`s Constitutional Court approves parts of the 2006 autonomy charter, but rules that the word "nation" to describe the region has "no legal value."
September 11, 2012: At the height of Spain`s economic crisis, more than a million people protest in Barcelona demanding independence for Catalonia. Similar mass rallies recur on the same date in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
September 20, 2012: Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rejects Catalan president Artur Mas`s call for greater tax-and-spend powers for Catalonia. Five days later, Mas calls a snap regional election promising to hold a referendum on Catalonia`s future.
November 26, 2012: Mas`s centre-right CiU alliance wins the snap election overall but loses its absolute majority in the regional parliament, forcing it to broker an alliance with the left-wing nationalists ERC.
January 23, 2013: Catalonia`s parliament approves a declaration of sovereignty that it says permits the region to vote on self-determination, but Spanish judges rule that unconstitutional in March 2014.
November 9, 2014: Catalonia defies Madrid and presses ahead with a symbolic referendum on independence despite a court order that it be suspended. Turnout is just 37 percent, of which over 80 percent vote in favour of independence.
September 27, 2015: The pro-independence Together For Yes alliance secures 62 seats in the regional assembly and the radical left-wing separatist group CUP wins 10, giving them an absolute majority.
But the separatist block falls short of winning a majority of votes, handing its adversaries in Madrid a strong argument to resist the push for independence.