The manufacturing sector underwent rapid expansion and diversification since the 1950s, however, and metalworking, food-processing, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries had overtaken textiles in importance by the 21st century.
Textile, papermaking and graphic arts, chemicals, and metalworking industries are concentrated in Barcelona; Sabadell and Terrassa are also textile centres.
Catalonia was one of the first Roman possessions in Spain.
Occupied during the 5th century by the Goths, it was taken by the Moors in 712 and at the end of the 8th century by Charlemagne, who incorporated it into his realm as the Spanish March, ruled by a count.
Frankish suzerainty over Catalonia was merely nominal, however, and was completely rejected during the reign of Count Borrell (died 991).
The government consists of a Generalitat (an executive council headed by a president) and a unicameral parliament. The Catalanides have historically separated the industrial towns of the coast from the predominantly agricultural settlements of the hinterlands.
North of the Catalanides is a high tableland that comprises most of Lleida province.