First, some background
What is dotCAT?
September 27, 2021
5 minute read
Generic | Sponsored Generic | Country Codes | Internationalized Country Codes
Top Level Domains (TLDs), sometimes called extensions, are the "dot," and what comes after the dot, in website domain names. There are thousands of TLDs, and more approved every week. They fall into different categories:
Generic Top Level Domains - gTLDs - can be used without restrictions. .Com, .org, .net, for example, are Generic, or Unsponsored Generic, TLDs. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) , the independent governing body that keeps the worldwide web chugging along, approves and oversees gTLDs.
Country Code Domains - ccTLDs - are the two character TLDs that use ISO (International Organization for Standardization) abbreviations, like .us, .uk, .cn.
Internationalized Country Code Domains display the full name of the country, in non-Latin characters. For example, .中國 (mainland China), .рф (Russia), and لسعودية (Saudi Arabia) are Internationalized ccTLDs.
Finally, Sponsored Generic TLDs - sgTLDs - are created by organizations for specific purposes. As such, there are rules around their use. .Gov is sponsored by the US government, and for use only by US government departments and agencies.
There are still more nuances to the different types of TLDs. But, this is enough nerd-brain-dump for our purposes.
In the late 1990s, a Barcelona law professor, Amadeu Abril i Abril, had the idea to use this newfangled thing called "the Internet," to launch the Catalan people into the 21st Century. He saw dotCat (or puntCat, in Catalan) as a way to serve and to promote the Catalan cultural and linguistic community well into the future. He formed a foundation, Fundació puntCAT, and started the long, expensive process of bringing .Cat online.
This was a radical idea unto itself. Never had there been a TLD dedicated to serve the needs of a specific population. Toss in the tumult of Catalan history, and it's downright revolutionary.
Catalans are the people who live in the “Paisos Catalans,” Catalan Countries. These include,
- The Catalonian region in eastern Spain, of which Barcelona is the capital;
- The Spanish region of Valencia; parts of Aragon and Murcia;
- The Balearic Islands;
- The French Department (read, "state"), Pyrénées-Orientales, in southeastern France;
- The city of Alghero in Sardinia (Italy);
- The Principality of Andorra
While spoken all over the Paisos Catalans, Catalan is the official tongue of Andorra. A Romance language, it's descended from Latin, just like Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian, Portuguese, and lesser known children of the Roman linguistic diaspora. The Valencian language, spoken (guess where!) in Valencia, is a Catalan dialect.
In 800 CE, Charlemagne snatched the foundations of today's Catalonia from the Muslims of the Iberian Peninsula. Over the centuries, Catalan fortunes waxed and waned. Surviving famine, plague, occupation, and multiple attempts at cultural genocide, the Catalan people hold fast to their unique identity. The advent of puntCat fortifies the survival of Catalan language and culture for that community, and brings tot el català to light for a global audience.
In 2005, ICANN approved .Cat as a sgTLD, and socio-linguistic-political-cyber-history was made! As a sponsored community TLD, .Cat domain owners agree to honor the rules set forth by Fundació puntCAT and ICANN:
The .cat TLD is intended to serve the needs of the Catalan Linguistic and Cultural Community on the Internet.
The Community consists of those who use the Catalan language for their online communications, and/or promote the different aspects of Catalan culture online, and/or want to specifically address their online communications to that Community.
For the privilege of owning Smarty.Cat, a domain with the most badass of all TLDs, I dedicate this page to the Catalan Community. Subscribe for new post alerts
While you're around, check out Veronica's blog. She's a Cat with lots to say!
So, what's the story with .Cat?
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