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For the 1961 play by Max Frisch, see Andorra (play).
Principat d'Andorra
Flag of Andorra Andorra: <a href=
(In Detail) (Full size)
National motto: Virtus Unita Fortior
(Latin: Virtue united is stronger)
Official language: Catalan
 - Population:
 - Coordinates:
Andorra la Vella
20,437 (1990 est.)
42°30′ N 1°31′ E
French Co-Prince: Jacques Chirac
Episcopal Co-Prince: Joan Enric Vives Sicília
Head of Government: Albert Pintat
 - Total:
 - % water:
Ranked 178th
468 km²
 - Total (2003)
 - Density:
Ranked 182nd
Independence: 1278
National Day: 8 September
Religions: Roman Catholic (established religion)
Currency: Euro (€)¹ = 100 cents
Time zone
 - in summer
National anthem: El Gran Carlemany, Mon Pare
Internet TLD: .ad
Calling Code: +376
1 Prior to 1999: French franc and Spanish peseta. Some of their own currency, 1 diner of 100 centim was minted after 1982.
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The Principality of Andorra (Catalan: Principat d'Andorra, French: Principauté d'Andorre, Spanish: Principado de Andorra) is a small, landlocked principality in south-western Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by France and Spain. Once isolated, it is currently a prosperous country mainly because of tourism and its status as a tax haven. Andorra is not to be confused with the Comune di Andora.


Origin and history of the name

The name "Andorra" probably originates from a Navarrese word andurrial, which translates as shrub-covered land.


Main article: History of Andorra

Tradition holds that Charlemagne granted a charter to the Andorran people in return for their fighting the Moors. Overlordship over the territory was passed to the local count of Urgell and eventually to the bishop of the diocese of Urgell. In the 11th century a dispute arose between the bishop and his northern French neighbour over Andorra.

In 1278, the conflict was resolved by the signing of a parage, which provided that Andorra's sovereignty be shared between the French count of Foix (whose title would ultimately transfer to the French head of state) and the bishop of La Seu d'Urgell, in the Catalonia region of Spain. This gave the small principality its territory and political form.

Over the years the title passed to the kings of Navarre. After Henry of Navarre became King Henry IV of France, he issued an edict (1607) that established the head of the French state and the Bishop of Urgell as co-princes of Andorra.

In the period 1812–13, the French Empire annexed Catalonia and divided it in four departments. Andorra was also annexed and made part of the district of Puigcerdà (département of Sègre).

In 1933 France occupied Andorra as a result of social unrest before elections. On July 12, 1934, an adventurer named Boris Skossyreff issued a proclamation in Urgel, declaring himself Boris I, sovereign prince of Andorra, simultaneously declaring war on the bishop of Urgel. He was arrested by Spanish authorities on July 20 and ultimately expelled from Spain. From 1936 to 1940, a French detachment was garrisoned in Andorra to prevent influences of the Spanish Civil War and Franco's Spain.

In 1958 Andorra declared peace with Germany, having been forgotten on the Treaty of Versailles and remaining legally at war.

Given its relative isolation, Andorra has existed outside the mainstream of European history, with few ties to countries other than France and Spain. In recent times, however, its thriving tourist industry along with developments in transportation and communications have removed the country from its isolation and its political system was thoroughly modernized in 1993.


Main articles: Politics of Andorra; Constitution of Andorra.

Until very recently, Andorra's political system had no clear division of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Ratified and approved in 1993, the constitution establishes Andorra as a sovereign parliamentary democracy that retains the co-princes as heads of state, but the head of government retains executive power. The two co-princes serve coequally with limited powers that do not include veto over government acts. They are represented in Andorra by a delegate.

View of the Pas de la Casa
View of the Pas de la Casa

The way in which the two princes are chosen makes Andorra one of the most politically distinct nations on earth. One co-Prince is the man or woman who is currently serving as President of France, currently Jacques Chirac (it has historically been any Head of State of France, including Kings and Emperors of France). The other is the current Catholic bishop of the Spanish city of La Seu d'Urgell, currently Joan Enric Vives i Sicilia. As neither prince lives in Andorra their role is almost entirely ceremonial.

Andorra's main legislative body is the unicameral General Council of the Valleys (Consell General de les Valls), a parliament of 28 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote, 14 from a single national constituency and 14 to represent each of the 7 parishes, with members serving four-year terms. The Andorran government is formed by the General Council electing the Head of Government (Cap de Govern), who then appoints ministers to the cabinet, the Executive Council (Govern). Currently, government is held by the Liberal Party of Andorra, with Albert Pintat as Prime Minister. The Social Democratic Party (Andorra) is in opposition.

Defense of the country is the responsibility of France and Spain.

See List of Co-Princes of Andorra

Administrative Divisions

Map of Andorra
Map of Andorra

Main article: Parishes of Andorra

Andorra consists of seven communities, known as parròquies (singular parròquia Engl.: parish)


Main article: Geography of Andorra

Befitting its location in the eastern Pyrenees mountain range, Andorra consists predominantly of rugged mountains of an average height of 1,996 m with the highest being the Coma Pedrosa at 2,946 m. These are dissected by three narrow valleys in a Y shape that combine into one as the main stream, the Valira river, leaves the country for Spain (at Andorra's lowest point of 870 m).

Andorra's climate is similar to its neighbours' temperate climate, but its higher altitude means there is on average more snow in winter and it is slightly cooler in summer.


Main article: Economy of Andorra

Tourism, the mainstay of Andorra's tiny, well-to-do economy, accounts for roughly 80% of GDP. An estimated 9 million tourists visit annually, attracted by Andorra's duty-free status and by its summer and winter resorts. Andorra's comparative advantage has recently eroded as the economies of adjoining France and Spain have been opened up, providing broader availability of goods and lower tariffs.

The banking sector, with its tax haven status, also contributes substantially to the economy. Agricultural production is limited – only 2% of the land is arable – and most food has to be imported. The principal livestock activity is domestic sheep raising. Manufacturing output consists mainly of cigarettes, cigars, and furniture.

Andorra is not a full member of the European Union, but enjoys a special relationship with it, for example it is treated as an EU member for trade in manufactured goods (no tariffs) and as a non-EU member for agricultural products. Andorra lacks a currency of its own and uses that of its two surrounding nations. Prior to 1999 these were the French franc and the Spanish peseta, which have since been replaced by a single currency, the euro. Unlike other small European states that use the euro, Andorra does not yet mint its own euro coins; in October 2004, negotiations between Andorra and the EU began on an agreement which would allow Andorra to mint its own coins.


Main article: Demographics of Andorra

Andorrans constitute a minority in their own country; only 33% of inhabitants hold Andorran nationality. The largest group of foreign nationals is that of Spaniards (43%), with Portuguese (11%) and French (7%) nationals the other main groups. The remaining 6% belong to several other nationalities.

The only official language is Catalan, the language of the nearby Spanish autonomous region of Catalonia, with which Andorra shares many cultural traits, though Spanish, Portuguese and French are also commonly spoken. The predominant religion is Roman Catholicism.


Main article: Culture of Andorra


Andorra's long history has provided it with a rich mythology and an abundance of folk tales, with roots originating in as far as Andalusia in the south and Netherlands in the north.

Miscellaneous topics

See also

External links

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