If you haven’t heard of Andorra before, this post will give you an insight on this small and perculiar country.
Andorra is an European country and the 16th (sixteenth) smallest country in the world, with its capital as Andora la Vella. It is a little, autonomous territory between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains. It’s known for its ski resorts and an expense safe house status that energizes obligation free shopping.
The official language of Andorra is Catalan but they also speak French and Spanish naturally because of shared boundaries. They are religiously affiliated to the Roman Catholic Church. With just a small extent of Andorra’s territory cultivable, the customary economy focused on the feeding of sheep and the gathering of unassuming amounts of tobacco, rye, wheat, olives, grapes, and potatoes. Industry was restricted to preparing these items and to painstaking work. In light of the absence of customs obligations and low or nonexistent duties, Andorra has gotten a significant worldwide focus of retail exchange that has pulled in large number of customers from everywhere Europe with its obligation free imported buyer merchandise, including mixed drinks, electronic gadgets, tobacco, and attire. The tourism is another of Andorra’s driving businesses, and the region has great freedoms for winter sports.
HISTORY OF ANDORRA
Andorra’s independence is traditionally ascribed to Charlemagne , who recovered the region from the Muslims in 803, and to his son Louis I (the Pious), who granted the inhabitants a charter of liberties. Charlemagne’s grandson, Charles II, granted Andorra to the counts of Urgel, from whom it passed to the bishops of Urgel. Andorra’s dual allegiance to two princes, one in Spain and one in France, originated in the late 13th century in a proprietary quarrel between the Spanish bishops of Urgel and the French heirs to the countship of Urgel. Andorra was subsequently governed jointly by representatives of the Spanish bishop of Urgel and of the French head of state, each of whom received an annual payment of a token tribute. This feudal system of government remained intact until 1993, when a constitution was adopted that greatly reduced the power of the coprinces and established separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. Andorra subsequently joined the United Nations (1993) and the Council of Europe (1994).
THE FLAG OF ANDORRA
An agreement in 1278 between the bishop of Urgel (now in Spain) and the count of Foix (now in France) gave them joint jurisdiction over this small community in the Pyrenees between their own domains. Consequently, the coat of arms of Andorra incorporated their symbols: the mitre and crosier of the bishop appear next to the three red bars on yellow that constitute the arms of the count. The yellow shield with four red bars of Catalonia, Spain, and the two red cows of Béarn, France, complete the design. Below is the Latin motto “Virtus unita fortior” (“Strength united is stronger”). A centuries-old carving of this coat of arms appears on the outside wall of the national parliament building, which is known as the General Council of the Valleys.
The national flag is said to date from 1866, but the first legal authority for it is unknown. Early versions often had horizontal instead of vertical stripes, and private citizens usually flew the flag without the coat of arms in the centre. The design was standardized in July 1993 at the time Andorra joined the United Nations. The flags of Andorra’s neighbours, France and Spain, cannot be ignored as possible influences for the three flag colours. The Spanish flag has horizontal stripes of red-yellow-red, while the French Tricolour has blue-white-red vertical stripes. According to the constitution of 1993, the Spanish bishop of Urgel and the president of France remain the coprinces and heads of state of Andorra, although their roles are now largely ceremonial.
FUN FACTS ABOUT ANDORRA
1. Andorra is the world’s only co-principality.
A principality is a place ruled by a prince. Monaco is an example of a principality. Andorra, however, is a co-principality. They have two princes who jointly share the title of prince. Surprisingly, neither of the two princes are from Andorra. One prince is the President of France, Emmanuel Macron. The other co-prince is the Bishop of Urgell, who is currently Joan Enric Vives Sicília. The position is a constitutional one similar to the British Monarchy and holds no real power.
2. Andorra is the only country using Catalan as the official language
3. Andorra has never been in a war in almost 1,000 years
Given its non-strategic location in the Pyrenees Mountains and lack of natural resources, Andorra has been without conflict almost since Charlemagne came through to fight the Moors. Technically, Andorra did declare war on Germany in WWI, but it never sent anyone into the conflict.
4. Andorra has no national bank and has never had its own currency.
Andorra currently uses the Euro as its currency. Before that, it primarily used the Spanish Peseta and sometimes the French Franc. There is no national bank in Andorra, so it has to use private banks if the country wants to incur debt.
5. Andorra is not a member of most of the major European associations. Even though it uses the Euro, the country is not technically part of the Eurozone. It has a special relationship with the EU in which it follows the trade rules for industry, but not for agriculture.
6. Andorra was neutral in WWII.
Andorra took no sides in WWII. After the German invasion of France, the Germans had an outpost on the French side of the Andorran border but never had troops inside the country. Andorra was often used for smuggling during the war, and French partisan forces often took downed allied pilots there to safety.
7. Andorra has never won an Olympic medal.
Despite having been represented at every Olympic Games since 1976, Andorra has never won an Olympic medal.
A peculiar country it is. Hope you had a good read and if you did, would you ever consider visiting ANDORRA? As an inquisitive mind, I wouldn’t mind joining you. Now you know.