Despite this oppression, the Catalan language survived with strength. Survival was helped by Catalonia's easy acceptance of immigrants who came from other parts of Spain to work in the factories of Barcelona. Unlike Basques, who turned their backs on outsiders from the rest of Spain, the Catalans encouraged the immigrants to speak the Catalan language and absorbed them into Catalan culture.
After the death of [Francisco Franco] in 1975 and the grant of some autonomy to Catalonia, the Catalan language won legal status. The 1979 Statute of Catalan Autonomy states that "the Catalan language is the official language of Catalonia in the same way that Castilian Spanish is the official language of all of Spain."
The Catalan quest for autonomy is deeply rooted in history. In the middle ages, Catalonia was a powerful trading nation with consulates throughout the Mediterranean. When King Ferdinand of Aragon (which included Catalonia) married Queen Isabel of Castile in 1479, Catalonia had a status equal to the rest of Spain.