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SPAIN: The Catalan Anthem



Lluis Bosch calls attention to the similarity between Mexico's "Grito of Hidalgo" and the Catalan anthem:

"Curious, because one of the oldest Catalanist slogans is precisely "Visca la Terra i mori el mal govern!" -i.e. "Long live our (mother) Land and death to misgovernment!", or, if preferred "...down with bad government!". This was a war cry of rebellious Catalans as old as the 1640's, in the unrest which led to the Guerra dels Segadors (War of the Reapers), the first full-blown Catalan anti-Spanish rebellion and origin of the present Catalan National anthem, "Els Segadors" ("The Reapers"). The same slogan was used consistently for the next two centuries, until the advent of Carlism, Liberalism and Republicanism.

By the way, some academics here and abroad claim that "Els Segadors" is the oldest national anthem in Europe -and some even say in the world. Certainly its mid-seventeenth-century origins are a proven fact, but I am dubious about the claim of it being the oldest "living" national anthem. It seems somewhat bizarre that the oldest national anthem should belong to a nation without a State structure to uphold and promote it. Can anybody shed some light on this? Are there any other ancient anthems to compete?"

My comment; I am sorry to disappoint Lluis: The Catalan anthem calls on the peasants to cut the Spanish oppressors down with their scythes. It is similar to "The Marseillaise". I believe that anthems should promote peace and not keep old hatreds alive.

Ronald Hilton - 11/2/01


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