The article aims at presenting the sources of Catalan nationalism as well as its evolution, putting strong emphasis on social, economic and cultural characteristics of the region. It tackles some historic aspects of building national identity of the Catalans, but mostly focuses on factors determining Catalan nationalist ideology (i.e., including language and culture, economy, foreign policy and social issues). Conducted research and analysis gives strong basis to draw a conclusion that Catalan aspirations for autonomy lack a separatist element. They are rather dominated by affirmation of separate national identity, which is a result of Catalan ambition to play the most important role in Spain as well as to trace the path of development for the whole country according to the Catalan concept. Economic advancement generates the desire to possess more influence on Spanish policy, especially in the field of economy and the EU matters. Catalonia shows strong 'individualism' and would like to have a possibility of holding independent decision making processes, especially concerning the region, as there is the conviction about being exploited by the rest of the country, which has its roots in the history.