Autonomous regionAn autonomous region is a subnational region with special powers of self-rule. Typically an autonomous region contains a national minority which is different from the national majority.
In the case of Spain, after the drafting of the Spanish Constitution of 1978, the first areas to become autonomous communities were highly nationalistic, ethnically distinct ones such as the Basque Country and Catalonia. It was not intended that all Spanish regions should become autonomous communities; however, this is what ended up happening, in what was dubbed café para todos ("coffee for everyone"). However, the more ethnically distinct autonomous communities have more powers than ones that are less so.