|Catalan (Valencian varieties), Spanish|
|Roman Catholicism, Atheism, Agnosticism|
The Valencians are a cultural and national group whose homeland is the Valencian Community, which is recognised as an historical nation in eastern Spain. The official languages of Valencia are Spanish and Catalan (Valencian dialect). The Valencian Community is politically divided in three provinces, from South to North: Alicante, Valencia and Castellón. The current version of the Valencian Statute of Autonomy declares the Valencian Community a nationality, and its capital is the city of Valencia.
In 1237, the Moorish taifa of Valencia was taken by king James I the Conqueror of the Crown of Aragon. The population of the new kingdom was by far mostly Muslim, so the crown started a campaign of repopulation of the lands with Christians, as usual in the Reconquista. The new Christian arrivals came from Catalonia and Aragon. Aragonese presence was most dominant in the interior parts of the kingdom (as can be assumed by geaographical factors); it should be noted that those Aragonese from the eastern shires of Aragon (Matarranya, Caspe, Bajo Cinca, Llitera and Ribagorza) would have brought with them Catalan language varieties, whereas the rest of Aragonese settlers would've brought eastern Spanish and Aragonese varieties which would mix into Churro Spanish, which in much of the interior is the traditional language, as Valencian is in the coast, where most of the new inhabitants had Catalan or, less usual, Occitan origins.
The Baix Segura and Vinalopó comarcas were a territory disputed between the crowns of Castile and Aragon since the Reconquista, this being because they were conquered by Aragon but reserved for Castille under a treaty, hence they were repopulated by people from both crowns at different times, and the Alto Vinalopó was actually part of Murcia (Albacete province) until the nineteenth century. Following the Black Death and later the Expulsion of the Moriscos, the then valencian-speaking Baix Segura (to which Orihuela and Torrevieja belong) is said to have been resettled mostly by people from the Murcia region, eventually defining the language border there (see Panocho Spanish). The Requena shire was, like the Alto Vinalopó, part of Castille (Cuenca Province) until the mid-nineteenth century (1851).
Moorish presence in the Kingdom of Valencia was very high, making one third of the entire population at the time of the expulsion (the highest proportion in all of Spain). The coexistence between the Christian and Muslim was mostly good, despite some chapters of religious intolerance like the massive Baptism of Muslims during the first Revolt of the Brotherhoods; however, Valencian moors never ceased to speak Arabic. The Christian Valencian elites disapproved the King Philip plans of Expulsion of the Moriscos in 1609, because the sudden lack of the traditional workforce would lead to the kingdom's ruin.
The Valencian population traditionally concentrated in localities with fertile cultivation and growing lowlands by the most important rivers (Júcar, Turia, Segura, Vinalopó), also in harbor cities important to the agricultural trade.
The most important population centers used to be, during the Roman times, Sagunt or Dénia; later on in history, Valencia, Alicante, Xàtiva, Orihuela, Elx, Gandia, or Vila-real and, more recently recently, Alzira and Castellón de la Plana.
The population density which is higher in the central and southern regions and minor in the northern and inner ones, is derived from the traditional distribution of people which originated in the orographic characteristics of the Valencian territory and the possibility to obtain irrigated land agriculture. Demographics were also affected by (being perhaps the exception to the mentioned distribution) the great industrial activity and the commerce of agriculturally derived products during the 20th century of noncoastal cities like Alcoi, Elda, Ontinyent, Petrer, Villena, and La Vall d'Uixó.
In the last years, concentration in the great capitals and its metropolitan areas has augmented considerably (e.g. Torrent, Mislata, Paterna, Burjassot, Sant Vicent del Raspeig, etc.) especially in all the coastal cities and towns. Thus, traditionally small populations such as Benidorm or Torrevieja have undergone a considerable population increase (still more remarkable during summertime) due to the seasonal migration of tourists.
- List of Valencians
- Nationalities of Spain
- Catalan people
- Catalan countries
- Aragonese people
- Spanish people
- Art. 1 of the Valencian Statute of Antonomy: "1. El poble valencià, històricament organitzat com a Regne de València, es constituïx en Comunitat Autònoma, dins de la unitat de la nació espanyola, com a expressió de la seua identitat diferenciada com a nacionalitat històrica i en l'exercici del dret d'autogovern que la Constitució Espanyola reconeix a tota nacionalitat, amb la denominació de Comunitat Valenciana."
- Art. 6.2 of the Valencian Statute of Autonomy
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