principat d'andorra

2

Principat d'Andorra

Principality of Andorra

General information

    Situated in Southwestern Europe between France and Spain, Andorra is a small and independent nation. The capital and largest city is called Andorra la Vella. The country has one official language, Catalan, which is a romance language much like Spanish or French. The country covers an area of roughly 180 square miles, or 467 square kilometres, making it one of the smallest nations in the world. It is inhabited by roughly 85,000 people.

Government

    Andorra is a diarchy, much like San Marino, though Andorra possesses a system which has two Princes. It is further unique in that one of the two princes is the only monarchs is elected; though not by the people of Andorra, but rather by the people of France, as one of the two monarchs is the President of France. This also makes the President of France to be the only person who is both a monarch and head of state of a republic at the same time.

The other head of state is the Bishop of Urgell, which is in Spain. This makes him one of the only people who is both the head of temporal and national organisations, the other notable person with such a distinction being the Pope.

The current princes are Francois Hollande, President of France, and Joan Enric Vives Sicília, the Bishop of Urgell.

Aside from them, the country is run mainly by the General Council, which is a unicameral organisation consisting of 28 members elected by the people.

Andorra, being a small country, does not possess much of an armed forces, and the only permanent component of their army is a twelve-man ceremonial unit. Beside them, they do not particularly have a standing army, and it consists mainly of volunteers.

Demographics

    As previously stated, the country has a population of roughly eighty five thousand souls. 88% of these inhabitants are Roman Catholic, and other Christians make up a smaller amount, with other religions making up the smallest. As to languages, roughly 38% of the souls speak Catalan, 35% speak Spanish, 15% speak Portuguese, 5% speak French, and the remainder speak various other languages.

The country is divided into 7 Parishes (parròquies). The three largest cities are Andorra la Vella (also the capital; with 22,000 souls), Escaldes-Engordany (with 14,000), and Encamp (with 13,000).

History

    According to tradition, the Great King Charlemagne granted a charter to the people of Andorra for their assistance in fighting against the Moors. Dominion was originally given to the Count of Urgell and eventually the Diocese of Urgell when Borrell II gave the land to the Diocese in exchange for land in Cerdanya. Since then, the Bishop of Urgell has been (co-)Prince of Andorra.

In the year 1095, the Lord of Caboet and the Bishop or Urgell signed an oath whereby the former would become co-sovereign of the Valleys. Later, the right of Caboet transferred to the Count of Foix. In the 13th century, this political standard was solidified when conflict arose between the Count and Bishop, which was mediated by Aragon.

In 1607, Henry of Navarre (who was one of the Princes of Andorra) became King Henry IV of France, and signed a edict which made any future ruler of France be Co-Prince alongside the Bishop of Urgell.

In more recent history, Andorra declared war upon the German Empire during WWI, though they did not actually take part in fighting. Since Andorra was not included in the Treaty of Versailles, belligerency wasn’t actually concluded until 1958.

On July 12, 1934, the “adventurer” (read, eccentric) Boris Skossyreff declared himself the King of Andorra. He was arrested some days later by Spanish authorities.