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Thursday, 12 September, 2002, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
Catalan nationalism hits the web
Catalan president Jordi Pujol
Catalan president Jordi Pujol: Backing the changes
The Spanish region of Catalonia has made a declaration of independence in cyberspace.

The regional government in Barcelona has changed the address of its website from .es for Spain to .net.

The change is largely symbolic and will make little difference to visitors to the site as the former web address still works.

But the domain switch is an example of Spanish regional pride popping up in unexpected places.

Economic powerhouse

Officials said they decided to dump the national domain in favour of .net as it sounded more international.

Catalonians would have preferred the .cat domain, but this was not available as the region is not a country.

In any case, national suffixes are restricted to just two letters.

Catalonia is one of Spain's wealthiest and most powerful semi-autonomous regions.

It is controlled by a centre-right nationalist coalition that is pushing for more autonomy from central government.

Smaller parties in the regional parliament are more outspoken in demanding independence.

The change was timed to coincide with the region's national holiday.

The regional government's new web address is www.gencat.net.

See also:

23 Jul 02 | Country profiles
23 Mar 00 | Middle East
23 Aug 02 | Archive
12 Dec 00 | Science/Nature
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