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 Thumbnail for version as of 16:10, 3 February 2012
Principality of Andorra
Principat D'Andorra - Co-Princes
Bishop of Urgell - President of France
Andorra /ænˈdɒrə/ (help·info), officially the Principality of Andorra (Catalan: Principat d'Andorra), also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, is a small country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of 468 km2 (181 sq mi) and an estimated population of 83,888 in 2009. Its capital, Andorra la Vella, is the highest capital city in Europe, being at an elevation of 1023 metres. The official language is Catalan, although Spanish, French, and Portuguese are also commonly spoken.

The Principality was formed in 1278. The rôle of monarch is shared between the President of the French Republic and the Bishop of Urgell, Catalonia, Spain. It is a prosperous country mainly because of its tourism industry, which services an estimated 10.2 million visitors annually, and also because of its status as a tax haven. It is not a member of the European Union, but the euro is the de facto currency. The people of Andorra have the 2nd highest human life expectancy in the world - 82 years at birth.


A Brief History of Andorra

Andorra is the last independent of the buffer states (Marca Hispanica) that were created by Charlemagne (742-814) to keep the Moors from invading France. In the 9th century the counts of Urgell became overlordof Andorra. Later on they gave the land to the Diocese of Urgell. Andorra was in 1396 and 1512 briefly annexed by the Kingdom of Aragon. The Counts de Foix were co-prince from 1278 to 1517, the royal house of Navarre from 1517 to 1572.


 Afterwards the kings of France became co-prince. An edict of 1607 officially established the head of the French state and the Bishop of Urgell as co-princes of Andorra.Tradition holds that Charles the Great (Charlemagne) granted a charter to the Andorran people in return for fighting against the Moors. Overlordship of the territory was by the Count of Urgell and eventually by the bishop of the Diocese of Urgell. In 988, Borrell II, Count of Urgell, gave the Andorran valleys to the Diocese of Urgell in exchange for land in Cerdanya. Since then the Bishop of Urgell, based in Seu d'Urgell, has owned Andorra.


Before 1095, Andorra did not have any type of military protection and the Bishop of Urgell, who knew that the Count of Urgell wanted to reclaim the Andorran valleys, asked for help and protection from the Lord of Caboet. In 1095, the Lord of Caboet and the Bishop of Urgell signed under oath a declaration of their co-sovereignty over Andorra. Arnalda, daughter of Arnau of Caboet, married the Viscount of Castellbò and both became Viscounts of Castellbò and Cerdanya. Years later their daughter, Ermessenda, married Roger Bernat II, the French Count of Foix. They became Roger Bernat II and Ermessenda I, Counts of Foix, Viscounts of Castellbò and Cerdanya, and also co-sovereigns of Andorra (shared with the Bishop of Urgell).


In the 11th century, a dispute arose between the Bishop of Urgell and the Count of Foix. The conflict was resolved in 1278 with the mediation of Aragon by the signing of the first paréage which provided that Andorra's sovereignty be shared between the count of Foix (whose title would ultimately transfer to the French head of state) and the Bishop of Urgell, in Catalonia. This gave the principality its territory and political form. Over the years, the French co-title to Andorra passed to the kings of Navarre. After Henry of Navarre became King Henry IV of France, he issued an edict in 1607 that established the head of the French state and the Bishop of Urgell as co-princes of Andorra. In 1812-13, the First French Empire annexed Catalonia and divided it in four départements, with Andorra being made part of the district of Puigcerdà (département of Sègre).


20th Century Andorra

Andorra declared war on Imperial Germany during World War I, but did not actually take part in the fighting. It remained in an official state of belligerency until 1957 as it was not included in the Treaty of Versailles. In 1933, France occupied Andorra as a result of social unrest before elections. On July 12, 1934, adventurer Boris Skossyreff issued a proclamation in Urgell, declaring himself "Boris I, King of Andorra", simultaneously declaring war on the Bishop of Urgell.


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. Francoist troops reached the Andorran border in the later stages of the war. During World War II, Andorra remained neutral and was an important smuggling route between Vichy France and Spain.


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 transport and communications have removed the country from its isolation. Its political system was modernised in 1993, when it became a member of the United Nations and the Council of Europe.


First Sovereign: Joan Enric Vives i Sicília, Bishop of Urgell (Barcelona, Spain, July 24th, 1949). Son of Francesc Vives y Pons and Cornèlia Sicília Ibáñez. Succeeds Joan Martí Alanis, who was co-prince from 1971 to 2003. Co-Prince since: 12 May 2003. 


Second Sovereign: Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarkozy (Paris, France, January 28th, 1955). Son of Pál Sárközy and Andrée Mallah. Succeeds Jacques Chirac, who was co-prince from 1995 to 2007. Co-Prince since: 16 May 2007. 

The List Co-Princes of Andorra

The Principality of Andorra in the Pyrenees Mountains on the French-Spanish border, was established in 1278 by the Treaty of Joint Suzerainty between the Catalan Bishop of Urgell and the Occitan Count of Foix, whose descendants inherited Navarre in 1479 and then the French Monarchy in 1589. These Princely rights and the Dummvirate have been continued under the executive heads of the various monarchies in France, most recently under the French Republices. Hence even today, France's elected head of state also becomes the Co-Prince of Andorra, the other Co-Prince still being the Bishop of Urgell.


Episcopal Co-PrinceReignFrench Co-PrinceReign
Bishops of UrgellCounts of Foix
 House of Foix
Pere d'Urtx1278-1293Roger-Bernard III1278-1302
Guillem of Montcada1295-1308
House of Foix-Béarn
Gaston I1302-1315
Ramon Trebaylla1309-1326
Gaston II1315-1343
Arnau de Llordà1326-1341
Pere de Narbona1341-1347
Gaston III Fébus1343-1391
Nicolau Capoci1348-1351
Hugó Desbach1351-1361
Guillem Arnau de Patau1362-1364
Pere de Luna1365-1370
Berenguer d'Erill i de Pallars1371-1388
Galcerand de Vilanova1388-1396
First Annexation to Aragon
Andorra was briefly annexed to the Crown of Aragon in 1396.
Bishops of Urgell (restored)Counts of Foix (restored)
House of Foix-Béarn (restored)
Galcerand de Vilanova (restored)1396-1415Mathieu (restored)1396-1398
House of Foix-Grailly
Jean I1413-1436
Francesc de Tovia1416-1436
Gaston IV1436-1472
Arnau Roger de Pallars1437-1461
Jaume de Cardona i de Gandia1462-1466
Roderic de Borja i Escrivà1467-1472
Pere de Cardona1472-1512Kings of Navarre
Second Annexation to Aragon
Andorra was briefly annexed to the Crown of Aragon in 1512-1513.
Bishops of Urgell (restored)Kings of Navarre (restored)
House of Foix-Grailly (restored)
Pere de Cardona (restored)1513-1515Catherine (restored)1513-1517
Joan Despés1515-1530
House of Albret
Henry II1517-1555
Pedro Jordà de Urríes1532-1533
Francesc de Urríes1534-1551
Miquel Despuig1552-1556
Jeanne III1555-1572
Joan Pérez García de Oliván1556-1560
Pere de Castellet1561-1571
Joan Dimas Loris1572-1576 House of Bourbon
Henry III
Henry IV of France
Miquel Jeroni Morell1577-1579
Hugó Ambrós de Montcada1580-1586
Andreu Capella1587-1609
Bernat de Salbà i de Salbà1610-1620Louis II
Louis XIII of France
Luís Díes Aux de Armendáriz1621-1627Kings of France
Louis XIII1620-1643
Antoni Pérez1627-1633
Pau Duran1634-1651
Louis XIV1643-1715
Joan Manuel de Espinosa1655-1663
Melcior Palau i Boscà1664-1670
Pere de Copons i de Teixidor1671-1681
Joan Desbach Martorell1682-1688
Oleguer de Montserrat Rufet1689-1694
Julià Cano Thebar1695-1714
Simeó de Guinda y Apeztegui1714-1737
Louis XV1715-1774
Jordi Curado y Torreblanca1738-1747
Sebastià de Victoria Emparán y Loyola1747-1756
Francesc Josep Catalán de Ocón1757-1762
Francesc Fernández de Xátiva y Contreras1763-1771
Joaquín de Santiyán y Valdivielso1772-1779
Louis XVI1774-1792
Juan de García y Montenegro1780-1783
Josep de Boltas1785-1795
French First Republic
France renounces the position of co-prince.
Francesc Antoni de la Dueña y Cisneros1797-1816
Emperors of the French
 House of Bonaparte
Napoleon I1806-1814
Kings of France (restored)
House of Bourbon (restored)
Louis XVIII1814-1815
Emperors of the French (restored)
House of Bonaparte (restored)
Napoleon I (restored)1815
Napoleon II1815
Bernat Francés y Caballero1817-1824Kings of France (restored)
House of Bourbon (restored)
Louis XVIII (restored)1815-1824
Bonifaci López y Pulido1824-1827Charles X1824-1830
Simó de Guardiola y Hortoneda1827-1851
House of Orléans
Louis Philippe1830-1848
Presidents of the French Second Republic
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte1848-1852
Emperors of the French (restored)
House of Bonaparte (restored)
Napoleon III1852-1870
Josep Caixal i Estradé1853-1879
Presidents of the French Third Republic
Louis-Adolphe Thiers1871-1873
Patrice MacMahon1873-1879
Salvador Casañas i Pagés1879-1901Jules Grévy1879-1887
Sadi Carnot1887-1894
Jean Casimir-Perier1894-1895
Félix Faure1895-1899
Émile Loubet1899-1906
Ramon Riu i Cabanes1901
Toribio Martín (acting)1902
Joan Josep Laguarda i Fenollera1902-1906
Josep Pujargimzú (acting)1907Clément Armand Fallières1906-1913
Juan Benlloch y Vivó1907-1919
Raymond Poincaré1913-1920
Jaume Viladrich i Gaspa (acting)1919-1920
Justí Guitart i Vilardebó1920-1940Paul Deschanel1920
Alexandre Millerand1920-1924
Gaston Doumergue1924-1931
Paul Doumer1931-1932
Albert Lebrun1932-1940
Ricard Fornesa (acting)1940-1943Heads of the French State
Henri Philippe Pétain1940-1944
Ramon Iglesias i Navarri1943-1969
Chairmen of the Provisional Government
Charles de Gaulle1944-1946
Félix Gouin1946
Georges Bidault1946-1947
Presidents of the French Fourth Republic
Vincent Auriol1947-1954
René Coty1954-1959
Presidents of the French Fifth Republic
Charles de Gaulle1959-1969
Ramón Malla Call (acting)1969-1971Georges Pompidou1969-1974
Joan Martí Alanis1971-2003
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing1974-1981
François Mitterrand1981-1995
Jacques Chirac1995-2007
Joan Enric Vives Sicília2003-
Nicolas Sarkozy2007-

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