Country Briefs: A beautiful place lying in the Southwestern Europe, tucked in the middle of France and Spain, covering a small area of 464 sq km, Andorra, is a wonderful European state. Andorra enjoys not just a charismatic beauty but also owing to its position on the East side of the Pyrenees and diverse landscape, Andorra has a rich variety of flora and fauna. With huge rugged mountains that are dissected by narrow valleys and are scattered here and there and a population of mere 66,900 people, Andorra is a place that offers perfect serenity and comfort.
Apart from beauty, this mountainous state also has a rich history. On the basis of various artifacts gathered, historians speculate that the valleys of Andorra were inhabited for thousands of years. According to them the original inhabitants of Andorra were related to the Basque people of northern Spain and even the name Andorra has a Basque origin. Other inhabitants of the region include the Celt tribal migrations, Iberians from south and the Andosinos tribe.
However by and large it is deemed that the history of Andorra commences with the Moor invasion of Spain. The Moors defeated the Spanish king Roderick and spread like wildfire throughout Spain. The Moors did not cease here. They continued to raid into southern France. Threatened by the Moors, the inhabitants of Andorra went to Charlemagne seeking help.
Charlemagne drove the Moors out of Andorra. He also created buffer states to detain the Moors from advancing into Christian France. It is said that Charlemagne granted a charter to the Andorran people in return of their fighting the moors. Charlemagne also wrote Carta de Fundacio d?Andorra, the most famous and significant document in the history of Andorra. After writing this crucial piece, Charlemagne handed it over to his son, Louis the Pious. This document that thereby established Andorra?s independence, contained Andorrans? claims to freedom against claimants from both Spain and France. Later in 800s, Charles the bald, the grandson of Charlemagne, named the Count of Urgell as the overlord of Andorra.
The Counts of Urgell spent most of their time and energy in plotting against the Moors. The first Count of Urgell, Ermengol I, waged a war against the Moors in 1010. The other Ermanagol kings too sacrificed their lives fighting the Moors.
In 819, the Bishop Posidinius revamped and resurrected the cathedral of Urgel that was destroyed during Moorish invasion. He also supplemented it with certain lands by Sunifred of Urgell on behalf of the Holy Roman Emperor, including the six Parishes, which made up the whole of Andorra. The Counts of Urgell bestowed the Bishop with many powers.
In 11th century, the Bishop, scared by military action of neighboring lords, placed himself under the protection of the Lord of Caboet, a Catalan nobleman. Later the Count of Foix became heir to the Lord of Caboet by way of marriage and a dispute over Andorra arose between the French Count and the Catalan bishop.
The conflict was however resolved in 1278 by virtue of signing a pareage, according to which Count of Foix and the Bishop of La Seu d?Urgell were both to share Andorra?s sovereignty.
With the passage of time Andorra came under the rule of kings of Navarre and the king of France Henry IV. Later in 1607 a rule established the head of the French state and the Bishop of Urgell as co-princes of Andorra. But the French rule was overthrown in 1793.
In 1933 the judicial authority came to prominence in Andorra. This was a result of King Boris I proclaiming himself the king of Andorra and his immediate removal by the guardsmen of Bishop of Urgell.
From 1936 to 1940 the French defended Andorra against influences of Spanish civil war and Franco Spain.
During the Second World War, Andorra remained neutral and was an important route for smuggling between Spain and Vichy France.
In 1958 Andorra declared peace with Germany.
Elections were held in Andorra and in 1970 women were granted the right to vote and hold office.
Andorra witnessed political changes in 1981 when an organization named the Government of Andorra was created. This organization is the executive branch of the government. It comprises of the Head of the Government, ministers or councilors who are assigned specific areas such as education, health etc. to look after.
Over the years Andorra developed in various ways. At present Andorra is a developed European state that is also an ideal holiday destination.
- HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes. If periods are replaced by hyphens, these are the same as the parish codes from the draft standard ISO/DIS 3166-2.
- FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4, a U.S. government standard.
- Post: Parish postal codes. Prefix them with AD for the full code. (This is a new postal code system implemented in 2004.)
- Population: 1999 census, compiled from local registers.
- Area: My source for areas antedates the creation of Escaldes-Engordany, so its area is included in that of Andorra la Vella.