History of Andorra
Andorra is the last independent survivor of the March states, a number
of buffer states created by Charlemagne to keep the Muslim Moors from
advancing into Christian France. Tradition holds that Charlemagne
granted a charter to the Andorran people in return for their fighting
the Moors. In the 800s, Charlemagne's grandson, Charles the Bald, named
the Count of Urgel as overlord of Andorra. A descendant of the count
later gave the lands to the diocese of Urgel, headed by the Bishop of
In the 11th century, fearing military action by neighboring lords, the
bishop placed himself under the protection of the Lord of Caboet, a
Spanish nobleman. Later, the Count of Foix, a French noble, became heir
to Lord Caboet through marriage, and a dispute arose between the French
Count and the Spanish bishop over Andorra.
In 1278, the conflict was resolved by the signing of a pareage, which
provided that Andorra's sovereignty be shared between the Count of Foix
and the Bishop of Seo de Urgel of Spain. The pareage, a feudal
institution recognizing the principle of equality of rights shared by
two rulers, gave the small state its territory and political form.
Over the years, the title was passed between French and Spanish rule
until, under the French throne of Henry IV, an edict in 1607 established
the head of the French state and the Bishop of Urgel as co-princes of
In its mountain fastness, 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.
Prime Minister: Antoni Martí (2011)
Chiefs of State (Coprinces): Francois Hollande for France and Joan Enric Vives Silília for Spain
Population (2012 est.): 85,082 (growth rate: 0.27%); birth rate: 9.26/1000; infant mortality rate: 3.76/1000; life expectancy: 82.5; density per sq mi: 412
Probably the best source
of history and
facts for Andorra.
Literacy rate : 100%-
Now that couldn`t be no better!
In the late 20th century, Andorra became a popular tourist and winter sports destination and a wealthy international commercial centre because of its banking facilities, low taxes, and lack of customs duties. In 1990 Andorra approved a customs union treaty with the EU permitting free movement of industrial goods between the two, but with Andorra applying the EU's external tariffs to third countries.
Andorrans speak both French and Spanish, but the official language of the country is Catalan, the only country in the world which has Catalan as it's national language.
Andorra formally became a parliamentary democracy in May 1993 following approval of a new constitution by a popular referendum in March 1993. The new constitution retained the French and Spanish co-princes although with reduced, and narrowly defined, powers. Civil rights were greatly expanded including the legalization of political parties and trade unions, and provision was made for an independent judiciary. Andorra entered into a customs union with the European Communities (now the EU) in 1991 and was admitted to the UN on 28 July 1993 and a member of the Council of Europe in 1994.
On June 3, 2009, Jaume Bartumeu was elected the new head of government with 14 votes in the 28-seat Parliament which makes the country's laws, but only with the consent of the two princes and in return, the country is required to pay the princes a small sum of money every other year. The bishop is also given 6 hams, 6 cheeses and 12 hens !!
Population: (2005) 74,800. A recent UN survey reported that Andorra is the number 1 country for life expectancy at 82 years ! NOTE: You will find this posted on many websites, actually the survey was never updated for Andorra meaning our oldest living person is now 121 years old. So factually incorrect but nevertheless an extremely healthy environment.