HISTORY AND POLITICAL MAP OF ANDORRA: A SPECIAL COUNTRY
Its location, culture and history make the Pyrenean Country uniquely special. Find out more about the history and political map of Andorra. Its small size compared with its neighbours, its location in the heart of the Pyrenees, its extraordinary advanced development, its history and its territorial organisation... Andorra is special for all these reasons and more. Here you’ll find the most important facts about our past and the modern political map of Andorra.
HISTORY OF ANDORRA: A COUNTRY WITH A MEDIEVAL PAST
Legend has it that Charlemagne founded Andorra in the year 805 in recognition of the help provided by its inhabitants in their struggle against the Saracens.
However, the first document that mentions the country is the act of consecration of the Cathedral of Santa María de Urgell in the year 839, which appointed the parishes of Andorra as the fiefdom of the counts of Urgell.
After years of intense struggles between the local counts and the Church to achieve sovereignty over Andorra, hostilities were brought to an end by the signing of two treaties called the Pareatges. They were signed in 1278 and 1288 by the Archbishop of Urgell, Pere d'Urg, and the Count of Foix, Roger Bernat III. The Pareatges established shared sovereignty between the two lords of the land, and thus the Principality of Andorra was born.
Over the course of time, the figure of Co-Prince of Andorra passed from the Count of Foix to the crown of France, and with the Republic to the President of France. The Archbishop of Urgell, however, has retained its title of Co-Prince of Andorra to the present day.
DID YOU KNOW...? SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ANDORRA
Our credentials as a unique country don’t end there. Here are some interesting facts that are sure to surprise you about the history and modern-day political map of Andorra:
- Did you know that... Andorra is one of only a few countries in the world with two heads of state? These are the Archbishop of Urgell and the President of the Republic of France, and they are known as the Coprinces.
- Did you know that ... the Consell General is considered one of the oldest parliaments in Europe? Its roots go back to the Consell de la Terra, the Council of the Land, constituted in 1419 to solve the problems of Andorra’s citizens. The headquarters was at Casa de la Vall in Andorra la Vella for three centuries (from the 18th century until 2011). It’s open for visits from tourists.
- Did you know that… the Andorran Parliament has 28 members called Consellers and Conselleres Generals? The Consell General of Andorra exercises legislative power in the Principality and consists of only one chamber made up of both national and territorial representatives. Its members are elected by universal suffrage for a period of 4 years.
- Did you know that... Andorra entered the UN in 1993, which ensured international recognition across the globe?
- Did you know that... Andorra la Vella is officially Europe’s highest capital? It’s 1,023 metres, or 3,356 feet, above sea level.
THE PARISHES AND "COMUNS”
Though much smaller than most independent states, the political map of Andorra is divided into seven administrative divisions known as parishes. These are Canillo, Encamp, Ordino, La Massana, Sant Julià de Lòria, Escaldes-Engordany and Andorra la Vella, where the capital is located. Each parish has its own consul and administrative headquarters, known as the Comú.