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Barrera Costa, Heribert

Barcelona 1917 - Barcelona 2011. Chemist, Politician

He graduated in Chemistry from the University of Barcelona, and also obtained degrees in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Montpellier. He was a chemical engineer at the Institute of Chemistry of the University of Montpellier (1941) and obtained a PhD in Physical Sciences from the Sorbonne (Paris, 1948).

He was assistant professor in change of the electrochemistry course at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Montpellier, assistant researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, and post-doctoral fellow at New Hampshire University (USA). He was teacher (1970) and later professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the Autonomous University of Barcelona until his retirement (1970-1984). There he started several lines of research in coordination chemistry with sulphur atoms as ligands and formed several disciples. Author of numerous papers in specialised journals, he won the Prat de la Riba award of the Institute for Catalan Studies (1949) for his work Noves contribucions a la síntesi d'àcids arilalifàtics i a la teoria de l'acilació intramolecular (New contributions to the synthesis of arilaliphatic acids and to the theory of intramolecular acylation). He was president of the Catalan Society of Physical, Chemical and Mathematical Sciences and member of the Institute for Catalan Studies.

Political career

His father, Martí Barrera i Maresma was a member of the Parliament and Minister of the Autonomous Government of Catalonia. Heribert began his political activity in 1934 in the National Federation of Students of Catalonia and in the Nationalist School Block. He joined the Young Republican Left of Catalonia in 1935. During the Civil War he was an artillery soldier in the Aragon and Segre fronts. He went into exile in France in 1939 until 1952. In 1952 he undertook the clandestine reorganisation of the Republican Left of Catalonia and became the maximum leader of the Secretariat of Interior and later as Secretary General (1976-1987). Member of the Catalan Council of the European Movement and member of the Parliament of Catalonia (1977-1980), and, in the first term, president of the Parliament of Catalonia (1980-1984). He was also member of the European Parliament (1991-1994), and, from 1991 to 1995, president of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (Republican Left of Catalonia). He was also a member of the advisory board of Òmnium Cultural, president of the Friends of UNESCO Club in Barcelona (1989-1997) and president of honour of Barcelona's Ateneu. He was also president of the Association of Former Members of the Parliament of Catalonia (1997-2003) and in 2000 he received the Gold Medal of the Parliament of Catalonia. Posthumously, he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Barcelona City Council and the Gold Medal of the Autonomous Government of Catalonia. 

Main works

Political thinking

  • Barrera, H. (2011). Cambó. Barcelona: Dèria.
  • Barrera, H. (2012). Tenim pressa, molta pressa. Barcelona: Dèria.

More information

  • Heribert Barrera. Barcelona: Dèria. Sinca, G. (2002). 
  • Heribert Barrera, l'últim republicà. Barcelona: Columna.


We would like to thank the collaboration of Prof. Salvador Alegret for his assistance in the preparation of this biography.  

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