|4,185,000 (Spain nationals) |
(for a total population of 5,111,706)
|Regions with significant populations|
|Spain (Valencian Community)|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Spaniards, Catalans, Aragonese, Occitans and other Romance peoples|
Valencians (Valencian: valencians) are the native people of the Valencian Community, in eastern Spain. Legally, Valencians are the inhabitants of the community.  Since 2006, the Valencian people is officially recognised in the Valencian Statute of Autonomy as a "historical nation" "within the unity of the Spanish nation". The official languages of Valencia are Valencian and Spanish.
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 geographical factors); those Aragonese from the eastern comarcas of Aragon (Matarranya, Casp, Baix Cinca, Llitera and Ribargorça) 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 lands disputed between the crowns of Castile and Aragon since the Reconquista, this being because they were conquered by Aragon but reserved for Castile under a treaty, hence they were repopulated by people from both crowns at different times, and the Alt Vinalopó (Villena influence area) 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 Bajo Segura (to which Oriola and Torrevella belong) is said to have been resettled mostly by people from Murcia, eventually defining the language border there (see Panocho dialect). The Requena comarca was, like the Alt Vinalopó, part of Castile (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, or Xúquer in Valencian, Turia, or Túria, Segura and Vinalopó), also in harbour 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, (València), (Alacant), Xàtiva, (Oriola), (Elx), Gandia, or Vila-real and, more recently, Alzira and (Castelló de la Plana).
The population density which is higher in the central and southern lands 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 lands 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 Torrevella have undergone a considerable population increase (still more remarkable during summertime) due to the seasonal migration of tourists.
Valencian and Spanish are the official languages of Valencia. Spanish is the official language of Spain, while Valencian, a dialect of the Catalan language, is the language considered by the Statute of Autonomy as llengua pròpia ("own language" or "language proper"). Valencian is traditionally spoken in the densely populated coastal areas rather than inland, where many places have Spanish as their traditional language, also those areas incorporated into the provinces of Alacant and Valencia at their creation in 1833 and which did not form part of the historical Kingdom of Valencia. Consequently, the 1984 Law on the "Use and Education of Valencian" defines certain municipalities as "predominantly Spanish-speaking", and allows them some few optional exceptions as to official use of Valencian, even though the right to use and to receive education in Valencian is guaranteed by the Statute of Autonomy (Art. 6.2) anywhere in Valencia.
- Interactivo: Creencias religiosas en España
- Art. 3 of the Valencian Statute of Antonomy: "1. A los efectos de este Estatuto, gozan de la condición política de valencianos todos los ciudadanos españoles que tengan o adquieran vecindad administrativa en cualquiera de los municipios de la Comunitat Valenciana. 2. Los ciudadanos españoles residentes en el extranjero que hayan tenido su última vecindad administrativa en la Comunitat Valenciana y acrediten esta condición en el correspondiente Consulado de España gozarán de los derechos políticos definidos en este Estatuto. Este mismo régimen se aplicará a sus descendientes, inscritos como españoles, si así lo solicitan en los términos en los que lo determine la Ley del Estado. 3. Las comunidades de valencianos asentadas fuera de la Comunitat Valenciana tendrán derecho a solicitar, como tales, el reconocimiento de su valencianidad (...)"
- Art. 1 of the Valencian Statute of Antonomy: "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 del País Valencià."
- Art. 6.2 of the Valencian Statute of Autonomy Archived 27 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- Info about Paella on About.com