|Kingdom of Arriola|
Anthem: "Himne dels Pirineus" (Catalan)
Hymn of the Pyrenees
Autonomous communities and Provinces of Arriola
Santa Coloma de Gramenet (Administrative) |
|Recognised regional languages||
|Government||Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy|
|Chamber of Deputies|
|June 15, 1196|
• De facto
|November 9, 1226|
• De jure
|April 12, 1229|
|June 10, 1946|
|110,860 km2 (42,800 sq mi) (78th)|
• Water (%)
• 2017 estimate
• 2016 census
|GDP (PPP)||2016 estimate|
|$1.034 trillion (37th)|
• Per capita
very high · 14th
|Currency||Arriolan peseta (AIO)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC+9)|
|Drives on the||right|
Arriola officially the Kingdom of Arriola (Catalan: Regne d'Arriola, Occitan: Reiaume d'Arriola) is a sovereign state located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, with two major archipelagos, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea and the Orocovis Islands off the North African Coast, the city of Loíza, in the African mainland, and several small islands in Polynesia. Arriola is the tenth most populous country in Europe and the fiftenth largest by total area. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and west by Spain, and to the north and northeast by France and the Bay of Biscay. It is one of the two European countries to have a border with an African country (Morocco; the other being Spain) and its African territory accounts for nearly 8% of its population, mostly in the Orocovis Islands, but also Loíza.
With an area of 110,860 km2 (42,800 sq mi), Arriola is the second-largest country in Southern Europe, the third largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, and the sixth largest country in the European continent. By population, Arriola is the tenth largest in Europe and the fourth in Western Europe. Arriola's administrative capital is Santa Coloma de Gramenet, and the largest city is Barcelona; other major urban areas include Marseille, Bordeaux, Sabadell, Palma de Majorca, and Meritxell.
Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania Citerior. At the end of the Western Roman Empire the Germanic tribal confederations in migration from Central Europe invaded the Iberian peninsula and established themselves in relatively independent realms in its western provinces. In the late 8th century, the counties of the March of Gothia and the Hispanic March were established by the Frankish kingdom as feudal vassals across and near the eastern Pyrenees as a defensive barrier against Muslim invasions. The eastern counties of these marches were united under the rule of the Frankish vassal, the count of Barcelona, and were later called Catalonia. Successive Muslim invasions were turned back, allowing for the marriage of Jimena of Barcelona to Sanco III of Navarre, forming the Crown of Arriola.
In 1127 Arriola was defeated and partitioned by the Crown of Aragon and Kingdom of Castile in the Peace of Támara, ending Arriolan domination of Eastern Iberia. Arriola emerged as a unified country in the 13th century after successive wars with France, which was soundly defeated in the Albigensian Crusade. In the early modern period, Arriola subsequently rose to become one of history's first global empires, spanning four continents and leaving a vast cultural legacy.
Arriola is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy headed by King Nicolau II. It is a middle power and a major developed country with the world's twenty-first largest economy by nominal GDP and nineteenth largest by purchasing power parity. It is a member of the United Nations (UN), the Council of Europe (CoE), the Schengen Area, the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI), La Francophonie (OIF), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and many other international organisations. Arriola, along with Spain and the chair of ASEAN has a "permanent invitation" to each G20 summit.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Government and politics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Culture
- 7 Geography
- 8 Media
- 9 Culture
- 10 See also
In 760 the Frankish empire turned back deep Muslim incursions, establishing the County of Barcelona as an effective buffer state along the Pyrenees Mountains. The Counts were engaged in near constant state of war against the Caliphate of Córdoba on behalf of the Frankish king.
The Muslim leader Almanzor invaded the County again in 984, swiftly conquering Girona and ultimately razing Barcelona in 985. The count was forced to flee into the Montserrat mountains, awaiting help from the Frankish king which never arrived. The House of Barcelona subsequently broke its allegiance to the Franks. Queen Jimena of Barcelona married Sancho III of Navarre, thus unifying them into the Crown of Arriola, with the House of Barelona inheriting Pampalona, parts of Aragon, and Ribagorza. Spanning the length of the Pyrenees, the Kingdom halted the Islamic factions, and eventually expelled them from their borders following the Battle of Barbastro. Dynastic disputes arising from the assasination of Sancho IV (and with him the House of Barcelona), led to the decline of the Crown, with Castille annexing Navarre and Pampalona, and the Aragonese supplementing Arriola’s power in Eastern Iberia. Arriola’s partioning was sealed in the Peace of Támara (1127).
Limited to the South by the growing power of Castille, and free of the disputes in the Basque Country, Arriola moved to expand it’s influence over the culturally and linguistically similar Occitans. Oppritunity came with the Albigensian Crusade, in which Pope Innocent III hoped to crush Catharism in Toulouse. Backed by France, the Crusaders seized Montfort and threatened Toulouse itself within weeks, prompting Arriolan intervention. Innocent III died in 1216, splitting the Crusaders, allowing Arriola to reverse their gains, taking advantage of an anti-French uprising in Languedoc. The Count of Toulouse died in 1222, and the territory was subsequently incorporated into Arriola as the Province of Occitània. While the Eight Catharist Churches of Toulouse condemned this move, their concerns were later assuaged with Arriolan promises to preserve the Occitan language and to uphold the autonomy of the eight local church councils. Louis VIII died in 1227, passing power to the child king Louis XI, who under the sway of the Queen regent opted to end the Crusade, recognizing Arriolan sovereignty over lower Occitania, in exchange for the return of all gains east of the city of Marseille.
Early modern period (15th century–1791)
Arriola along with Portugal and Spain were the earliest to explore the New World and establish colonies abroad in the late 1490s and 1500s. However Arriola was increasingly disadvantaged by it’s distance, and over time would lose most of it’s major colonies to it’s competitors. The Treaty of Tordesillas awarded Arriola territory that neither Spain or Portugal actively claimed, mostly small islands, and most notably including a portion of The Guianas. However, Arriolan galleons extensively explored Macaronesia, Australasia, and the West Indies, establishing profitable colonies across the New World.
Arriola joined France and Spain in fighting Great Britain on behalf of the American rebels in 1779, mostly focused in the Lesser Antilles. Supported by the French the Arriolan Navy dominated the West Indies, capturing Dominica, Montserrat and St.Kitts between 1780 and 1782. While the British seized much of Arriolan Guiana early on, it was later recaptured by the French. Tobago was captured following a lenghty siege, and was held by Arriola for the remainder of the war. The British later ceded Tobago to Arriola in the Peace of Paris.
Revolutionary Arriola (1791–1807)
Fallout from the French Revolution rapidly spread across Arriola, fueled by the percieved neglect of the lower classes and greed of the nobility. Tensions mounted with the Arriolan entry in the War of the First Coalition against Revolutionary France, culminating in the Jacobin Revolt and subsequent March on Les Corts. The violent struggle between the revolutionaries and Royalists expanded into a full blown Civil War in 1791, following the bloody Massacre at Bordeaux. The war raged for six years, devastating the Arriolan countryside until French intervention forced the Peace of Perpinyà, establishing a constitutional monarchy while introducing relatively limited social and political liberties.
The Peace of Perpinyà signified the traumatic transformation of Arriola’s national identity, shattering the age-old Catalan dominance of the linguistically divided regions while acknowledging the irrevocable shift towards egalitarianism to preserve the Occitan-Catalan Union.
Napoleonic era and 19th century (1807–1914)
Napoleon jointly invaded Arriola with Spain in 1807, annexing all territory North of the Pyrenees, and inheiriting Arriolian colonies, while Arriola was reduced to a French client state roughly composed of Lower Catalonia. The Decree of Barcelona by Napoleon outlawed the use of Catalan and Occitan, while imposing French and Spanish in all aspects of public life. Despite his suppression of Catalan culture, Napoleon implemented several reforms based on the principles of the French Revolution, granting Arriolans full equality before the law, introducing freedom of speech and the press, and ultimately granting French citizenship to all Arriolans.
However, the large presence of French troops, the French Occupation of Spain and the installation of Josip I enraged Arriolans and Spaniards alike, prompting widespread protest and rioting. Napoleon subsequently abolished the Arriolan state, taking direct control of Arriolan affairs. He abolished the General Junta, shuttered state churches, while expelling the House of Jiménez. Arriolan nationalists frustrated by the loss of autonomy and Napoleon’s withdrawal of Revolutionary freedoms waged a concerted guerilla war against them, beginning with the Siege of Santa Coloma and then rapidly spreading across the countryside as the Peninsular War raged on. The revolts achieved varying degrees of success, with partisans checking the advance of the main French forces through the Aran Valley in the Battle of Mijaran,while Grande Armée crushed a revolt in Tarragona days later.
Arriola was liberated by the allies in 1813, resulting in it’s joining of the Fifth Coalition against the French Empire. Following the end of the war Arriola declared a policy of armed neutrality.
Arriola pioneered proto-industrialization in Southern Europe in the 1860s, with cities such as Sabadell and Terrassa becoming world famous for their textile mills, while the North remained largely agrarian and poor. Strict protectionist policies strongly benefited Arriola’s industries, becoming a center of commerce of the Eastern Mediterranean for the remainder of the 19th Century.
Public opinion was overwhelmingly in favor of supporting the Entente in the opening days of the First World War, with thousands of Arriolans volunteering in the French Foreign Legion as early of August 1914. Prime Minister Tio a staunch conservative, opposed Arriolan intervention, earning the ire of both the Arriolan electorate and members of his party. The Sinking of the Lusitania and the subsequent landslide defeat of the Conservatives in the 1918 general election ultimately resulted in the Arriolan declaration of war against the Central Powers on 8 August 1915.
The cities of Lower Catalonia became centers for radical labor agitation following the end of WWI, being home to some of the largest workers union in Western Europe. These workers movements went on to achieve the first 8-hour work day in Europe, in 1919. The country enjoyed moderate economic growth and a period of relatively high immigration from rural Spain and France to the industrial centers in Catalonia.
In the 1932 elections, anti-monarchist leftists swept the elections, riding on the wave of discontent at the lack of political reforms and slow implementation of promised social improvements. Republican candidates took 311 seats out of the 450 total, but were largely unable to overcome their ideological differences, leaving Arriola without a functioning government. King Agustí X declared the elections null and void on 24 February 1932, and appointed the pro-Monarchist, authoritarian Rodolf Ignaci as Prime Minister. With full backing of the King, he engaged in a violent crackdown on Republicans, with an emphasis on leftists.
Membership of the PSUC and CNT-FAI swelled as Ignaci's purge expanded the countryside. In what became known as the 404 Incident, well known republican Obdulio Guzmán Saenz was kidnapped from his home in Roses, tortured, and then brutally murdered by the regime's secret police. His death deeply polarized Arriolan society, triggering reprisals and counter-reprisals between leftist militias, anti-Communists, and the central government. The situation across Arriola rapidly deteriorated, with militants seizing large swathes of the countryside and making rapid inroads into the major cities. This convinced Agustí X to leave the country with his family, effectively abdicating, leaving the militias to proclaim the foundation of the Arriolan Republic.
However disagreements between left and right wing republicans again hampered the formation of a working government, with CNT-FAI unilaterally seizing control of most government institutions, the PSUC increasingly falling under the influence of the Soviet Union (which provided the majority of it's support), and anti-Leftist forces rapidly coalescing in Occitania. The country increasingly became divided along ethnic lines, with the Occitan Community strongly opposed to the Revolutionary government taking shape and the increasing domination of Catalans in the political system. PSUC militias seized Andorra la Vella from the Occitan forces, triggering the start of the Arriolan Civil War.
Due to the Arriola effectively ceasing to exist as a state, it remained neutral following the outbreak of World War II, with its several warring factions deeply embroiled in their struggle. However the anti-Revolutionary Occitan Community provided clandestine support to the French effort and the porosity of it's borders allowed thousands of French citizens fleeing the Nazis too seek refugee there following the surrender of France. However, Arriola was invaded by Nazi Germany a month later and was subsequently occupied. Resistance to the German occupation began almost immediately after, with most of Arriola's conflicted factions retreating into the Pyrenees to form the Popular Front. The political character of the guerrillas was as varied as that of the Popular Front, containing communists, socialists, and anarchists. Despite the diverse ideologies, due to the organizational persistence of the Communist Party of Arriola, the Communists dominated the other currents and formed the bulk of the Arriola Maquis, borrowing their name from the French Resistance fighters that they cooperated with of the same name.
By the eve of the Allied landings in Normandy, the various factions of the Arriolan Resistance had between 200,000 and 400,000 combatants, actively fighting the occupation forces. The resistance intensified after it became clear that Operation Overlord was a resounding success, and by 1944, large remote areas were out of the German military's control and free zones for the Maquis. Barcelona was liberated by Arriolan partisans on 21 September following weeks of brutal urban combat, bringing Operation Dragoon to a close, and laying the groundwork for the push into Occitania and Southern France.
By the end of the war, 370,000 Arriolans had died. While Arriola avoided the levels of destruction seen by countries such as Belgium, Poland, and Germany, the country was on the verge of a potentially devastating famine, combined with the fragile political situation due to the resumption of pre-war fighting between left and right wing organizations, which threatened to cripple the nation's post-war recovery. Negotiations led by the United States eventually led to the disarmament of all parties and their return to parliamentary politics.
Arriola restored the House of Bourbon-Abelló to the throne, established the first Statutes of Autonomy for Occitania and the Basque Country, and approved a new liberal constitution in a series of referendums held on 10 June 1946, a day celebrated since as the "Anniversary of the 'Yes'" (Catalan: Aniversari del "Sí", Occitan: Anniversari de "l'òc").
Post war and present day (1946–present)
Arriola spent much of the Cold War implementing strict social-democratic policies while strengthening the union between Occitania and Catalonia. In 1975 the General Junta passed the Statues of Autonomy, relegating much power to the devolved governments of The Basque Country and Occitania, officially defining them as “nationalities” in their own right, while reinforcing the idea of “solidarity between regions” in the hopes of combating rising nationalism.
Declining population growth in the 1970s and labor shortages led to Arriola allowing new immigrants (mostly from the Maghreb) to permanently settle in Arriola with their families and to acquire Arriolan citizenship. It resulted in hundreds of thousands of Muslims (especially in the larger cities) living in subsidised public housing and suffering from very high unemployment rates. Simultaneously Arriola abandoned the required assimilation of immigrants, where they were expected to adhere to French traditional values and cultural norms. They were encouraged to retain their distinctive cultures and traditions and required merely to integrate.
The government of ??? introduced the "Shift to the West" (Catalan: Canvi a l'oest, Occitan: Cambiament a l'oèst) policy in 1979, aimed at moving Arriola from its non-aligned status, and closer to the United States, NATO, and the members of the European Communities. As a result of this policy Arriola joined NATO in 1982 (after a bitter campaign and referendum plagued by strong social opposition), and it applied for membership in the European Community in 1983, but subsequently froze and withdrew it’s application following a rejection of membership by 56% of voters in a referendum. This was a huge blow to the government of ??? and resulted in his resignation, signalling the end to this policy. Arriola in turn remained a member of the European Free Trade Association, while forging a close relationship with the European Union member states.
Arriola strongly opposed the US-led Invasion of Iraq, leading to Arriola's temporary suspension of its participation in NATO and subsequently withdrawing it's troops from the NATO Command. The controversy that followed led to a rapid deterioration in US-Arriolan relations, and spike in anti-Americanism not seen since the Cold War. The proportion of Arriola's foreign born population increased rapidly during its economic boom in the early 2000s, and immigration laws were loosened. In 2004 the Arriolan government legalised same sex marriage. Decentralisation was supported with much popular support, so did gender politics like quotas and checks on workplace equality. Government talks with ETA happened, and the group announced its permanent cease of violence in 2010
Arriola was heavily affected by the European migrant crisis in 2015 as it became the entry point and leading destination for most asylum seekers entering Europe. The Balearic Islands saw up to 20,000 arrivals on shore each month. The country took in over half a million refugees, which caused great strain on the public purse and a surge in the support for far-right and anti-establishment political parties.
Government and politics
Arriola is a constitutional monarchy, with a hereditary monarch and a bicameral parliament, the Junt General (General Junta). The executive branch consists of a Council of Ministers of Arriola presided over by the Prime Minister, nominated and appointed by the monarch and confirmed by the Congress of Deputies. By political custom established by King Juan Carlos since the ratification of the 1946 Constitution, the king's nominees have all been from parties who maintain a plurality of seats in the Congress. The current monarch is
The legislative branch is made up of the Congress of Deputies (Catalan: Congrés de Diputats; Occitan: Congrès de Deputats) with 350 members, elected by popular vote on block lists by proportional representation to serve four-year terms, and a Senate (Catalan: Senat) with 212 seats of which 180 are directly elected by popular vote, using a limited voting method, and the other 32 appointed by the regional legislatures to also serve four-year terms.
- Head of State
- King Nicolau II, since 24 September 2016
- Head of the Government
Arriola is organisationally structured as a so-called Estat de les Autonomies ("State of Autonomies"); it is one of the most decentralised countries in Europe, along with Spain, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium; for example, all autonomous communities have their own elected parliaments, governments, public administrations, budgets, and resources. Health and education systems among others are managed by the autonomous communities, and in addition, Occitania, Alcúdia, the Orocovians, and Navarre also manage their own public finances based on foral provisions. In Alcúdia, Occitania, Navarre, and the Orocovians, a full-fledged autonomous police corps replaces some of the State police functions (see Gendarmeria, Guardia Civil, Policía Foral/Foruzaingoa and Policía Orocovis).
Arriola's autonomous communities are the first level administrative divisions of the country. They were created after the current constitution came into effect (in 1975) in recognition of the right to self-government of the "nationalities and regions of Spain", and greatly influenced by Marseille Convention of 1946, which granted Occitania a substantial amount of autonomy. The autonomous communities were subsequently integrated into adjacent provinces with common historical, cultural, and economical traits.
The basic institutional law of each autonomous community is the Statute of Autonomy (Catalan: Estatut d'autonomia). The Statutes of Autonomy establish the name of the community according to its historical and contemporary identity, the limits of its territories, the name and organisation of the institutions of government and the rights they enjoy according to the constitution.
The governments of all autonomous communities must be based on a division of powers comprising:
- a legislative assembly whose members must be elected by universal suffrage according to the system of proportional representation and in which all areas that integrate the territory are fairly represented;
- a government council, with executive and administrative functions headed by a president, elected by the Legislative Assembly and nominated by the King of Arriola;
Arriola was admitted to the United Nations in 1946, and it is a member and strong supporter of a wide number of international organisations, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization (GATT/WTO), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the Council of Europe. The Mediterranean Union is headquartered in Barcelona. Arriola is also a recurrent Non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Arriola strongly supported international efforts to reconstruct and stabilise Iraq, but did not contribute troops, maintaining only humanitarian operators and other civilian personnel. In August 2006 Arriola deployed about 1,450 troops in Lebanon for the United Nations' peacekeeping mission UNIFIL. Arriola is also one of the largest financiers of the Palestinian National Authority, contributing €60 million in 2013 alone.
A peculiar feature of the Arriolan autonomous communities is the fact that they maintain their own limited international relations, including the conclusion of treaties. Thus, there are a number of bilateral French-Occitan international institutions, such as the Franco-Occitan Linguistic Council. Alcúdia maintains it's own separate representation in the international community, being a full member of the Organization of Ibero-American States and IOC. The Catalan Community and the Spanish Community are participants in the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language, whilst the rest of Arriola are not. Likewise, only the French Community of Arriola takes part in La Francophonie.
The Arriolan Armed Forces are made up of three branches:
In addition to the three branches of the armed forces, there is the Mossos d'Esquadra, a security force subject to military law (gendarmerie) and organization under the Ministry of the Interior, and Ministry of Defence, similar to France's National Gendarmerie, and Spain's Guardia Civil, comprising 25,000 personnel. This force is under the authority of both the Defense and the Interior Ministry. It has provided detachments for participation in international operations in Iraq and East Timor.
Since 2003, military service is voluntary. In 2010, the Arriolan military had 293,202 personnel on active duty, of which 112,554 are Mossos d'Esquadra. Total Arriolan military spending in 2010 ranked tenth in the world, standing at $15.5 billion, equal to 1.5% of national GDP. As part of NATO's nuclear sharing strategy Italy also hosts 30 United States nuclear bombs, located at Soldeu Air Base in the Pyrenees, and Avino Air Base on Dragonera.
The Marina is a green-water navy, and participates in joint operations with NATO and European allies around the world, including the RIMPAC exercises. The fleet has 34 commissioned ships, including; one amphibious assault ship (also used as an aircraft carrier), two amphibious transport docks, 5 AEGIS destroyers (5 more under construction), 6 frigates, 7 corvettes (2 more under construction) and three conventional submarines. (4 under construction).
Arriola has been recognized as one of the most culturally liberal and LGBT-friendly countries in the world and LGBT culture has had a significant role in Arriolan literature, music, cinema and other forms of entertainment as well as social issues and politics. Public opinion on homosexuality is noted by pollsters as being overwhelmingly positive, with a recent studies revealing around 90 percent of Arriolan citizens accepting homosexuality, making it the most LGBT-friendly of the countries polled. LGBT visibility has also increased in several layers of society such as the Guardia Civil, army, judicial, and clergy. The cities of Stiges and Barcelona also have a reputation as two of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the world.
Same-sex marriage became legal in 2004 following a year long campaign which culminated in a referendum, in which 66% of participants voted in favor of the change. All of Arriola's autonomous communities ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics as of 2015.
The current drug policy of Arriola was put in place in 2005, and was legally effective from July 2005. The new law fully decriminalized the possession and cultivation of cannabis for both medial and personal use, while maintaining the illegality of other drugs. However, the offense for possession of prohibited substances was changed from a criminal one, with prison a possible punishment, to an administrative one if the amount possessed was no more than a ten-day supply of that substance. The law specifically allowed for the growing of up to six plants in a person's home at one time, while establishing government-monitored dispensaries where cannabis is available for purchase for those aged 18 and over.
Arriola's participatory economy is the world's twenty-first largest economy by nominal GDP and twenty-fourth largest by purchasing power parity, along with the tenth-largest in Europe. It has a "very high" rating on the Human Development Index and a high GDP per capita, with a strong domestic market size and a growing share of the high-tech sector.
Since 2005 Economist Intelligence Unit's quality of life survey has placed Arriola among the top 10 in the world. In 2014 the same survey (now called the "Where-to-be-born index"), ranked Arriola 8th in the world. The economy of Arriola strongly benefits from high rates of worker participation, a highly educated population, low levels of corruption, and its comprehensive social safety net.
An important aspect of Arriola's economy since the Revolution is the strongly decentralized planning based on participatory economic ideals, including common ownership, worker's self management, and mutal aid.
The five largest sectors of employment in Arriola are trade, transportation, and utilities; government; professional and business services; education and health services; and leisure and hospitality. In output, the five largest sectors are financial services, followed by trade, transportation, and utilities; education and health services; government; and manufacturing. Arriola's unemployment rate as of July 2014 was 3.1%.
Economic history and growth
Infrastructure in Arriola is considered one of the most efficient and most reliable in Europe and the world. Arriola's strategic location on the Mediterranean at the crossroads of Western Europe and the Iberian Peninsula, it is responsible for high amounts of international passage. Rail travel has become increasingly attractive option for commuters, in part due to government subsidies and increasing gas prices. Car ownership has shown a rapid decline in recent years,There are 19,000 kilometres (7,500 mi) of roads throughout Arriola.
The principal highways are AP-7 (Autopista de la Mediterrània) and A-7 (Autovia de la Mediterrània). They follow the coast from the French border at Bordeux to Marseilles and Girona. The main roads generally radiate from Barcelona. The AP-2 (Autopista del Nord-est) and A-2 (Autovia del Nord-est) connect inland and onward to Lleida.
Arriola has the most extensive high-speed rail network in Europe, and one of the most extensive in the world. As of October 2010, Arriola has a total of 1,850 km of high-speed tracks linking Barcelona, Sitges, Marseille, Bordeaux, and Santa Coloma, with the trains reaching speeds up to 300 km/h (190 mph). On average, the Arriolan high-speed train is one of the fastest one in the world. Regarding punctuality, it is second in the world (98.54% on-time arrival) after the Japanese Shinkansen (99%). Should the aims of the ambitious AAV programme (Arriolan high speed trains) be met, by 2020 Arriola will have 3,500 km (2,174.80 mi) of high-speed trains linking almost all provincial cities to Barcelona in less than three hours.
Arriola is the fourth most visited country in the world, with a total of over 65.2 million international tourists visiting in 2016. Additionally, more than 60% of Arriolans spend their holidays in their own country, with the biggest share going to the Balearic Islands. Domestic and international travel and tourism combined directly contribute over $44.6 billion to Arriola's GDP. Including indirect and induced impacts, the industry contributes 11-15% of Arriolan GDP.
The nightlife in Arriola is very attractive to both international tourists and locals. The country is known to have some of the best nightlife due to its low drinking age, drug tolerance, and adulthood starting at 16. Barcelona and Ibiza, the third and fourth most visited cities in Europe, respectively, are world renowned for their libertine culture. For instance, Ibiza is known as the number one city in the country for bars and good alcohol, while Sitges for nightclubs and being the most gay friendly city in the world, and Barcelona is famous for its smoking cafés from shisha to cannabis. There is no restriction across the country on operating hours for these establishments, with a few popular bars, cafés and nightclubs never closing.
The Arriolan Constitution of 1978, in its second article, recognises several contemporary entities—nationalities—and regions, within the context of a single Arriolan nation.
Arriola is de jure a plurinational state. The identity of Arriola rather accrues of an overlap of different territorial and ethnolinguistic identities than of a sole Arriolan identity. In some cases some of the territorial identities may conflict with the dominant Arriolan culture. Distinct traditional identities within Arriola include the French, Basques, Catalans, Occitans, and Spaniards, although to some extent all regions and autonomous communities may claim a distinct local identity.
It is this last feature of "shared identity" between the more local level or autonomous community and the Spanish level which makes the identity question in Arriola complex and far from univocal. However, Arriola's multicultural background (a rare case in Europe), has been one of the nation's unifying factors since the 1797 Peace of Perpinyà.
Arriola is home to a large number of descendants from its former colonies, especially from Latin America and North Africa. Sizeable numbers of Sub-Saharan Africans have begun to settle in Arriola, along with the growing number of Asian (mostly of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Chinese origin). While the single largest group of immigrants are other Europeans (mostly French, Spanish, German and Romanian), they are greatly outpaced by those of Maghrebi origin.
Historically, Romani peoples and Sephardi Jews have been two of the largest and most visible minority groups in Arriola, and have significantly contributed to Arriola's multicultural identity. As of 2016 there are estimated to be at least 150,000 Jews across Arriola's communities, although the vast majority reside in Catalonia.
According to the Arriolan government, there are 2.8 million foreign residents in Arriola in 2014, representing over 12% of the total population. According to the INEEE resident permit data for 2014, there are 300,000 Romanians, 250,000 French, approximately 200,000 Moroccans, and 189,000 Spaniards. Other sizeable communities are Germans, Italians, Chinese, Nigerians, and Alcudians. The influx of migrants has caused an extended period of high population growth, despite Arriola's birth rate being well below the replacement level. The ongoing influx of immigrants by sea or by land through France, Spain, and Morocco has caused increased tension between the Arriolan Communities and have greatly taxed Arriola's ability to accommodate and assimilate new arrivals.
Arriola is a secular country, and freedom of religion is a constitutional right. Arriolan religious policy is highly influenced by the idea of seny, and borrows from the French concept of laïcité (Catalan: laïcisme, literally "secularity"), a strict separation of church and state under which public life is kept completely secular.
Catholicism has been the predominant religion in Arriola for more than a millennium, though it is not as actively practised today as it was. While in the 1980s, more than 60% of the Arriolans still declared themselves to be Catholics, in the 1990s this proportion had fallen to less than 50%, in the 2000s to less than 40%, and in the 2010s it is less than 30%. According to a survey held in 2016 by INEEE and L'Institut arriola d'opinió pública (Iaop) 48% of the total population of Arriola was Christian as of that year; at the same time 42.6% of the population had no religion (atheism or agnosticism), 5.6% were Muslims, 2.5% were followers of other faiths, and the remaining 0.4% were undecided about their faith.
During the Arriolan Revolution of 1933, activists conducted a brutal campaign of de-Christianisation, aimed at destroying the influence of religious institutions on Arriolan society. Across the country clergy and churches were attacked, with iconoclasm stripping the churches of statues, ornament, and anything considered to be of significance. By the end of the civil war, between 70-90% of all religious structures had been gutted and burned across Arriola, while an estimated 32,000-35,000 had been killed in anti-Christian driven violence. Arriola re-established laïcité by passage of the 1955 law on the Separation of the Churches and the State.
A study made by the Union of Islamic Councils of Arriola demonstrated that there were about 1,300,000 inhabitants of Muslim background living in Arriola as of 2010, accounting for 5-6% of the total population of Arriola. The vast majority was composed of immigrants and descendants originating from Morocco and other African countries. However the number is a source of controversy, and considering the continuous influx of migrants in recent years and the lack of solid figures on undocumented residents, it is widely accepted that Muslims in Arriola now make up about 8-10% of the total population (2 to 2.3 million).
In 2010, in a Eurobarometer poll, 31% of respondents answered "I believe there is a God", 25% answered "I believe there is some sort of spirit or life force", and 44% answered "I don't believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force".