Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia (or Cataluna or any number of other spellings). We had read books over the years regarding the Catalans but were not sure of the history of this region. All we knew is that there has been 'bad blood' between the Spanish and the Catalonians for centuries. And that the languages are very different. Today I finally remembered to look it up.
If you have any interest in the history of this region, here is a simple yet relatively thorough explanation: