The Catalans are the people from Catalonia, an Autonomous Community of Spain, including people originating in that region but living elsewhere. The inhabitants of the adjacent portion of southern France ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ known in Catalonia proper as Catalunya Nord (Northern Catalonia), and in France as the Pays Catalan ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ are often included in this definition.
However, it should be noted that for the majority of Catalans, a sense of Catalan identity is not viewed as being mutually exclusive with the Spanish one; a large majority of people feel both Catalan and Spanish. Comparable examples exist in other large European states with strong regional identities, such as Bavaria within Germany and Sicily within Italy. In contrast, the situation in France has been sharply different as French policies have favored the assimilation of Catalans. This has reduced the number of citizens who identify themselves as such within the French Republic, which has sought to make all within France feel French exclusively since its very inception.