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The comarca is a purely cultural and economic unit, without political or any other official identity.In what are known as market communities in other parts of the world, villages or towns in a Spanish comarca patronize the same markets and fairs, worship at the same regional shrines in times of shared need (such as drought), wear similar traditional dress, speak the language similarly, intermarry, and celebrate some of the same festivals at places commonly regarded as central or important.
The Catalan language, like Spanish, is a Romance language, lacking the mysterious distinction that Basque has.But other measures of difference, in addition to a separate language, distinguish Cataluña from the rest of Spain.Among these is Cataluña's deeply commercial and mercantile bent, which has underlain Catalan economic development and power in both past and present.Such general geographic distinctions as north/ south, coastal/interior, mountain/lowland/plateau, and Mediterranean/Atlantic are overwhelmed by the variety of local geographies that exist within all of the larger natural and historical regions.Great local diversity flourishes on Spanish terrain and is part of Spain's essence.
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Perhaps because of this power, Cataluña has suffered longer from periodic repression at the hands of the central Castilian state than has any other of modern Spain's regions; this underlies a separatist movement of note in contemporary Cataluña.