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
The origin of our country as an independent political entity dates back to the Early Middle Ages. Legend says it was Charlemagne who founded Andorra in 805 to thank the local population for their help in the fight against the Saracens.
The first document that specifically mentions our country, though, appears later in 839, in the act of consecration of the Cathedral of Urgell. The centuries that followed were marked by hostilities between the local counts and the Church for the sovereignty of Andorra. Sovereignty would eventually be shared between the Archbishop of Urgell and the Count of Foix thanks to a Solomon-style agreement that resulted in the Pareatges treaties between 1278 and 1288.
Centuries later, the King of France, and later the President of the Republic, would take on 50% of the country's sovereignty. Regardless of these two figurehead sovereign heads of state, Andorra has its own democratic government, led by the Cap de Govern, or Head of Government, and the Consell General, the General council, which acts as its parliament and legislative body.
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 28 members of the Andorran parliament are evenly split across genders? There are laws on gender parity and proportionality of representation across the parishes that make up the modern-day political map of Andorra.The Principality holds elections every 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.