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(ăndôr`ə), Fr. Andorre (äNdôr`), officially Principality of Andorra, autonomous parliamentary co-principality (2015 est. pop. 78,000), 179 sq mi (464 sq km), high in the E Pyrenees between France and Spain, under the joint suzerainty of the president of France and the bishop of Seo de Urgel, Spain. Andorra la VellaAndorra la Vella
or Andorra,
Span. Andorra la Vieja, Fr. Andorre-la-Vielle, city (2006 est. pop. 24,211), capital of Andorra, on the Valira River near its confluence with the Valira del Norte.
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 is its capital and only city. Drained by the Valira River, Andorra comprises several high mountain valleys. Highways link the country with Spain and France.

Andorra is administratively divided into seven districts. The people are made up of Andorrans of Catalan stock (about 33%), Spanish (43%), Portuguese (11%), and French (7%), the remaining being mostly recent immigrants from other countries. Catalan is the official language, although Spanish, French, and Portuguese are also spoken. Most of the population is Roman Catholic.

Until the 1950s, farming, woodcutting, and smuggling were the main occupations. Andorra now has a prosperous tourist industry; skiing is particularly popular. Trade is duty-free and lack of taxation is attractive to foreign investment. The banking sector is also important to the economy. Cattle and sheep are raised, and Andorra's farms produce grains, vegetables, tobacco, and grapes. Furniture and cigarettes are manufactured, and distilleries produce brandy and anisette. Iron and lead are mined. A hydroelectric facility near Encamp provides 40% of the country's power.

In the 9th cent., Holy Roman Emperor Charles IICharles II
or Charles the Bald,
823–77, emperor of the West (875–77) and king of the West Franks (843–77); son of Emperor Louis I by a second marriage.
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 is reputed to have made the bishop of Seo de Urgel overlord of Andorra. The French counts of Foix contested this overlordship, and finally in 1278 an agreement was reached providing joint suzerainty. The rights of the count passed by inheritance through the house of Albret to Henry IVHenry IV,
1553–1610, king of France (1589–1610) and, as Henry III, of Navarre (1572–1610), son of Antoine de Bourbon and Jeanne d'Albret; first of the Bourbon kings of France.
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 of France, and from the French kings to the French presidents.

Long a semifeudal state with an ancient communal agrarian organization, Andorra was traditionally governed by a syndic-led council elected by heads of families. In 1993, the country's first constitution established a parliamentary democracy with executive, legislative, and judicial branches; political parties and labor unions were legalized, and Andorra joined the United Nations. A 28-member legislature, elected by popular vote for four-year terms, now effectively governs the country. The president of France and the bishop of Seo de Urgel remain titular co-princes and serve to link the tiny country with both France and Spain.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Catalan), Les Vallées d’Andorre (French), and Valls d’Andorra (Spanish).

General information. Andorra is a state located in the Eastern Pyrénées between France (on the north) and Spain (on the south). Area, 465 sq km (by other UN data, 453 sq km). Population in 1968, 18,000. Languages: Catalan, French, and Spanish. Religion, primarily Catholic. It is divided into six administrative parishes. Capital, Andorra la Vella (Andorra). Official calendar, Gregorian.

Constitution and government. Andorra is a republic, a joint protectorate of France and Spain. The corulers are the president of France and the bishop of Urgel; Andorra pays a symbolic tribute to both. The representative organ of Andorra is the General Council with 24 members chosen for four-year terms (half of the council is renewed every two years). From among its members the council chooses the first and second syndics, who exercise executive functions. The judicial system includes two bailles (civil judges)—one French and one episcopal—an appellate judge, a supreme court, and an episcopal church court; there is also a tribunal for criminal cases.

Natural features. Andorra occupies a small hollow, open to the south and framed in the west, north, and east by steep mountain slopes. The hollow is cut by valleys of the upper and middle courses of the Valira River (in the basin of the Ebro River) and its tributaries, and also partially by the Ariège River (in the basin of the Garonne River). The lowest areas lie at 880 m, the highest peaks rise to 2,900 m and more. There are numerous lakes of glacial origin. The climate is subtropical mountain; precipitation is 1,000–2,000 mm a year. The vegetative cover is dominated by mountain broadleaf (oak, beech, chestnut) and coniferous (fir, pine, spruce) forests. There is subalpine and alpine meadow.

Historical information. The first mention of Andorra in sources dates to 805. In the Middle Ages, the territory of Andorra was mainly the feudal possession of the counts of Foix and the bishops of Urgel. In 1278 the two parties concluded an agreement providing for joint suzerainty over Andorra. Subsequently the rights of the counts of Foix passed to the kings of France. A constitution was introduced in 1866, and the next year some limitations were made on the bishop’s power over internal matters of the parishes. However, the life and customs of the people of Andorra have retained vestiges of prefeudal and feudal relations to the present day (communal property in land, law based on customs, remnants of consanguinity, and so on).

There are two opposing political groupings in the country: the “Young Group” (the Andorran National Union) and the “Old Group.”


Economy. The main occupation of the inhabitants is livestock raising, primarily of pasturable sheep. There are over 30,000 head of livestock. About 4 percent of the land is cultivated. Barley, rye, potatoes, grapes, and tobacco are cultivated in the valleys and on the lower slopes. Tree cutting and charcoal burning are secondary industries. There are food industry enterprises and handicraft production of souvenirs and household items. The only hydroelectric power plant is in Escaldes; it has a capacity of 26.5 megawatts. Serving foreign tourists—more than a million a year—is an important branch of the economy. Andorra is connected with France and Spain by highways. Andorra exports wool, cheese, and charcoal. Duty-free foreign trade is conducive to financial operations by foreign firms. There are nine banks in Andorra. The French franc and the Spanish peseta are in circulation. Andorra has a postal union with France and Spain.


Education, press, and radio. Andorra does not have its own school system. Most children receive their education in schools maintained by France and Spain; instruction is according to the French or Spanish system. There are kindergartens in Andorra (573 children in 1965). In the 1964–65 school year, there were 1,523 students 8–14 years of age in state and private elementary schools and 207 students in incomplete four-year secondary schools. Instruction is free in elementary schools; boys and girls study together in French schools, separately in Spanish schools. The study of Catalan is compulsory in all schools. The incomplete secondary schools have agricultural divisions for boys and home economics divisions for girls. The youth of Andorra can acquire a complete secondary and higher education only abroad, mainly in Spain and France.

Books and newspapers are imported from France and Spain. The station Radio Andorra is owned by French capital. There are several motion picture theaters, a museum, a library, and an archive with ancient documents of Andorra.

Architecture and art. As a result of its low level of economic development and its remoteness from large cultural centers, Andorra’s culture is not highly developed. The villages, hemmed in by the mountains and consisting primarily of stone one-story houses, contain the following monuments: two ancient Roman arched bridges on the Valira River; the ruins of Arab forts of the eighth to tenth centuries (near the cities of Encamp, Ordino, and San Julia de Loria) and of the castle of the counts of Foix (12th century) in Anclar; the Romanesque Chapel of St. Armengol ( 11—12th centuries) and the House of the Valleys (residence of the government, 1580) in Andorra la Vella; the chapels of St. Juan de Caselia (end of 11th century) near Canillo and St. Miguel near Escaldas, in the village of Santa Coloma (12th century); and the church of Nuestra Señora de Merit-xell (16th century) near Encamp. Modern hotels, the Radio Andorra building (1959), and others have been built by Spanish and French engineers. The natural setting of Andorra and the lives of its people are reflected in the realistic paintings of its artists. Old traditions of artistic casting of metal (the Canillo region) and carving in wood and stone (the Escaldas region) are developed in the folk art of Andorra today.


Matveev, G. P. Andorra, Likhtenshtein, Monako, San Marino. Moscow, 1959.
Vidal y Guitart, J. M. Instituciones politicas y sociales de Andorra. Madrid, 1949.
Baudon de Mony, C. “Origines historiques de la question d’Andorre.” (Extrait de la Bibliothèque de l’École des Chartes, vol. 46, 1885.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Official name: Principality of Andorra

Capital city: Andorra la Vella

Internet country code: .ad

Flag description: Three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), yellow, and red with the national coat of arms cen­tered in the yellow band; the coat of arms features a quar­tered shield; similar to the flags of Chad and Romania, which do not have a national coat of arms in the center, and the flag of Moldova, which does bear a national emblem

National anthem: “Hymna Andorra” (first line: “El gran Carlemany mon pare dels alarbs me deslliurà”), lyrics by Dr Benlloch, Episcopal Co-Prince of Andorra, music by Father Marfany

National motto: Virtus Unita Fortior

National flower: Grandalla (daffodil family)

Geographical description: Southwestern Europe, between France and Spain

Total area: 180 sq. mi. (468 sq. km.)

Climate: Temperate; snowy, cold winters and warm, dry summers

Nationality: noun: Andorran(s); adjective: Andorran

Population: 71,822 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: Spanish 43%, Andorran 33%, Portuguese 11%, French 7%, other 6% (1998 CIA est.)

Languages spoken: Catalan (official), French, Castilian, Portuguese

Religion: Predominantly Roman Catholic

Legal Holidays:

All Saints' DayNov 1
Assumption DayAug 15
ChristmasDec 25
Day of the ConstitutionMar 14
Easter MondayApr 25, 2011; Apr 9, 2012; Apr 1, 2013; Apr 21, 2014; Apr 6, 2015; Mar 28, 2016; Apr 17, 2017; Apr 2, 2018; Apr 22, 2019; Apr 13, 2020; Apr 5, 2021; Apr 18, 2022; Apr 10, 2023
Good FridayApr 22, 2011; Apr 6, 2012; Mar 29, 2013; Apr 18, 2014; Apr 3, 2015; Mar 25, 2016; Apr 14, 2017; Mar 30, 2018; Apr 19, 2019; Apr 10, 2020; Apr 2, 2021; Apr 15, 2022; Apr 7, 2023
Immaculate ConceptionDec 8
Labour DayMay 1
National DaySep 8
New Year's DayJan 1
St. Etienne's DayDec 26
Twelfth NightJan 6
Whitsun MondayJun 13, 2011; May 28, 2012; May 20, 2013; Jun 9, 2014; May 25, 2015; May 16, 2016; Jun 5, 2017; May 21, 2018; Jun 10, 2019; Jun 1, 2020; May 24, 2021; Jun 6, 2022; May 29, 2023
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


small state of 191 square miles, between France and Spain. [Eur. Hist.: NCE, 100]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a mountainous principality in SW Europe, between France and Spain: according to tradition, given independence by Charlemagne in the 9th century for helping to fight the Moors; placed under the joint sovereignty of the Comte de Foix and the Spanish bishop of Urgel in 1278; under the joint overlordship of the French head of state and the bishop of Urgel from the 16th century; adopted a constitution reducing the powers of the overlords in 1993. Languages: Catalan (official), French, and Spanish. Religion: Roman Catholic. Currency: euro. Capital: Andorra la Vella. Pop.: 71 000 (2003 est.). Area: 464 sq. km (179 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
In 2006 the Andorran founding partners acquired the 51 per cent of the shares held by BBVA; and MoraBanc became a 100 per cent Andorran group.
Political parties/groups: Andorran Liberal Party (PLA), Social Democratic Party (PS), and Andorra for Change (ApC) Party.
ADDED an extra dimension up front and clearly scared the Andorran defence.
The manager of the little Andorran outfit allowed his mind to drift towards Ibrox after yesterday's qualifying round draws in Nyon.
Rarely got past on the outside although to be fair the Andorrans were often double- and sometimes treble-banked against him.
No spectator could claim it was a pretty game, in fact it was extremely rough and rugged, and perhaps the visitors deserved a better score-line, but rugby is a game for grown-ups and the Andorrans will get their chance when Cyprus visits the Pyrenees next year.
The results of Andorra's elections thus far indicate that many Andorrans support the government's reform initiatives and believe Andorra must, to some degree, integrate into the European Union in order to continue to enjoy its prosperity.
SANT JULIA totally dominated their Champions League first qualifying round first leg against SP Tre Fiori in San Marino last week without making their class count, but back the Andorrans to make amends at 1-2 on home soil tonight.
3 Andorrans live longer than any other nationality in the world, with an average life expectancy of 83.5 years.
Walter Smith's side will face either Kaunas or Andorrans Santa Coloma as they begin their quest for success in Europe's premier competition.