Pictures of Catalan People -

In 1500 BCE the area that is now known primarily as Catalonia was, along with the rest of the Iberian Peninsula, inhabited by Proto-Celtic Urnfield people who brought with them the rite of burning the dead. These Indo-European people were absorbed by the Iberians beginning in 600 BCE in a process that would not be complete until the fourth century BCE. These groups came under the rule of various invading groups starting with the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, who set up colonies along the coast, including Barcino (present-day Barcelona) itself. Following the Punic Wars, the Romans replaced the Carthaginians as the dominant power in the Iberian eastern coast, including parts of Catalonia, by 206 BCE. Rome established Latin as the official language and imparted a distinctly Roman culture upon the local population, which merged with Roman colonists from the Italian peninsula. An early precursor to the Catalan language began to develop from a local form of popular Latin before and during the collapse of the Roman Empire. Various Germanic tribes arrived following nearly six centuries of Roman rule, which had completely transformed the area into the Roman province of Tarraconensis. The Visigoths established themselves in the fifth century, making their first capital in the Iberian peninsula Barcelona, and they later would move to Toledo. This continued until 718 when Muslim Arabs conquered the region in order to pass through the Pyrenees into French territory. With the help of the Frankish, a land border was created commonly known nowadays as Old Catalonia (which would consist of the counties County of Barcelona, Ausona, County of Pallars, County of Rosselló, County of Empúries, County of Cerdanya and County of Urgell) which faced Muslim raids but resisted any kind of settlement from them. "New Catalonia" and its native peoples were fully in control of the Arab invaders for around a century. The Franks on the other side of the Pyrenees held back the main Muslim raiding army which had penetrated virtually unchallenged as far as central France at the Battle of Tours in 732. Frankish suzerainty was then extended over much of present-day Catalonia. Larger wars with the Muslims began in the March of Barcelona which led to the beginnings of the Reconquista by Catalan forces over most of Catalonia by the year 801. Barcelona would then become an important center for Christian forces in the Iberian Peninsula.