As the trial of twelve Catalan separatist leaders involved in a bid to split from Spain starts on Tuesday, 19th February, the AFP reported the key dates in the push for independence in Spain's wealthy north-eastern region, on February 12th:
• March 2006: the Spanish parliament approves a new statute strengthening Catalonia's autonomy by increasing its fiscal and judicial powers, also describing the region as a "nation".
• 2010: Hundreds of thousands of Catalans demonstrate in protest against Spain's Constitutional Court rule that using the word "nation" has "no legal value".
2012-2014: Separatists rise
• September 11, 2012: More than one million people demonstrate in Barcelona on Catalonia's "national day" to call for their region to become a new state, during a severe financial crisis. Conservative prime minister Mariano Rajoy refuses to negotiate greater budgetary autonomy.
• November 2014: Catalonia defies Madrid with a symbolic, non-binding referendum on independence. Turnout is just 37 percent, of which more than 80 percent vote in favour.
2015-2016: Pro-independence majority
• September 2015: pro-independence parties win an absolute majority in the Catalan regional assembly for the first time.
• November 2015: pro-independence lawmakers vote to start the process to secede by 2017 at the latest.
• January 2016: Separatist Carles Puigdemont becomes the region's president.
2017: Banned referendum
• June 2017: Puigdemont calls a self-determination referendum for October. Spain's Constitutional Court bans the vote.
• October 1: On referendum day, security forces seize ballot boxes in 100 polling stations. Images of police violence are broadcast around the world.
• Turnout is about 43 percent, of which 90 percent backed independence, according to Catalan authorities. Rajoy dismisses the referendum and King Felipe VI denounces the independence bid.
2017: Independence declared
• October 27: The majority-separatist Catalan parliament declares independence from Spain. Madrid suspends regional autonomy, ousts Puigdemont's separatist executive, dissolves the Catalan parliament and calls snap regional elections.
• December 21: With three separatist candidates in prison and others, including Puigdemont, in exile, pro-independence parties again win an absolute majority in regional elections.
• Quim Torra becomes Catalonia's new president, paving the way for the region's autonomy to be restored.
2018: Rajoy overthrowal
• June 1, 2018: Rajoy is toppled in a no-confidence vote in parliament. He is replaced by Pedro Sanchez, a Socialist, who adopts a softer tone on Catalonia.
• July 2018: Sanchez and Torra meet as part of the start of negotiations over the ongoing secession crisis. The talks eventually break down on February 8, 2019.
• September 11: A million people march through Barcelona in support of independence.
• October 9: Separatists lose their majority in the Catalan parliament as Puigdemont and his supporters refuse to replace four lawmakers suspended by a court over the secession bid.
2019: Separatists' trial
• February 12: Twelve Catalan separatists involved in the secession bid are due to go on trial in Madrid, nine facing the most serious charges of rebellion that could lead to 25 years in jail.