History of Andorra

History of Andorra

Andorra is the last independent survivor of the Marca Hispanica, the buffer states created by Charlemagne to keep the Islamic Moors from advancing into Christian France. Tradition holds that Charlemagne granted a charter to the Andorran people in return for their fighting the Moors. In the 800s, Charlemagne's grandson, Charles the Bald, named the Count of Urgell as overlord of Andorra. A descendant of the count later gave the lands to the Diocese of Urgell, headed by Bishop of Urgell.

In the 11th century, fearing military action by neighboring lords, the bishop placed himself under the protection of the Lord of Caboet, a Catalan nobleman. Later, the Count of Foix became heir to the Lord of Caboet through marriage, and a dispute arose between the French Count and the Catalan bishop over Andorra.

In 1278, the conflict was resolved by the signing of a pareage ("pariatges"), which provided that Andorra's sovereignty be shared between the Count of Foix and the Bishop of La Seu d'Urgell (Catalonia, Spain). The pareage, a feudal institution recognizing the principle of equality of rights shared by two rulers, gave the small state its territory and political form. In return, Andorra pays an annual tribute or "questia" to the co-rulers consisting of four hams, forty loaves of bread, and some wine. As of the year 2006, Andorra's borders have remained unchanged since 1278 [http://www.un.org/webcast/ga/61/pdfs/andorra-e.pdf] .

Andorra was briefly annexed to the Crown of Aragon twice, in 1396 and 1512.

In 1472 the title passed to the kings of Navarre, starting with François-Fébus, and then under the king of France Henry IV by an edict in 1607 that established the head of the French state and the Bishop of Urgell as co-princes of Andorra.

In the period 1812–13, the French Empire annexed Catalonia and divided it in four departments. Andorra was also annexed and made part of the district of Puigcerdà (département of Sègre).

In 1933 France occupied Andorra as a result of social unrest before elections. On July 12, 1934, an adventurer named Boris Skossyreff issued a proclamation in Urgel, declaring himself Boris I, sovereign prince of Andorra, simultaneously declaring war on the bishop of Urgel. 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.

In 1943 Andorra carried out its first execution since the 19th century, that of Antoni Arenis for double fratricide by firing squad (because a trained executioner was unavailable to operate the legal method - Garrote .

During the Second World War, Andorra remained neutral and was an important smuggling route between Vichy France and Spain.

In 1958 Andorra declared peace with Germany, having been forgotten on the Treaty of Versailles that ended the First World War and, the conflict being extended by the lack of a peace treaty, remaining legally at war. ["World War I Ends in Andorra", UPI story in the "New York Times", Sep 25, 1958. p. 66]

Andorra began as a modern state in its current form in 1993. Its status as a co-principality was reduced to symbolism, and modern parliamentary government was instituted.

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.

"See also: List of Co-Princes of Andorra"



External links

* [http://eudocs.lib.byu.edu/index.php/History_of_Andorra:_Primary_Documents History of Andorra: Primary Documents]
* [http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3164.htm Background Note: Andorra]
* [http://www.historyofnations.net/europe/andorra.html History of Andorra]
* [http://www.rulers.org/rula2.html#andorra]

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