Country history – Creation and history
With a long and beautiful history, Andorra is a country that attracts attention due to its particularities. A history that has been marked and influenced by external factors that have contributed to the transformation of this small European state. The creation of the principality goes back a long way with various events. It is one of the oldest countries in the world. After a succession of struggles, the country became independent, organized and became what it is today. Would you like to learn more about the history of Andorra? Discover here the essential stages of its history, since its creation.
Andorra, one of the oldest countries in the world: a look at its origins
The roots of the present Principality of Andorra date back several thousand years. The first people of this country settled in prehistoric times, during the Neolithic era. Settled in caves, the first inhabitants left traces of their passage in several regions. Their presence has been noted from La Balma de La Margineda to El Antuix in Escaldes-Engordany, passing by El Cedre in Santa Coloma.
Various objects such as carved flints, rock paintings have been discovered. The inhabitants of present-day Andorra were called the Andosins in the first century B.C. It is in fact the account of the Greek Polybius on the crossing of the Spanish river that mentions the Andosins for the first time. The year 839 brought important changes to Andorra with the creation of six parishes and marked the definitive departure of the Arabs.
The earlier departure of the Arabs allowed the cathedral of La Seu d'Urgell to be rebuilt. When it was inaugurated, the inhabitants decided to entrust all six parishes to the bishop. Confrontations between the Church and the neighboring counties broke out over the sovereignty of Andorra. A common ground was later found thanks to two treaties signed in 1278 and 1288.
On these treaties, called Pareatges, we find the signatures of the archbishop of Urgell, Pere d'Urg and Roger Bernat III, the count of Foix. The Pareatges symbolize the sovereignty of the two leaders, but also the creation of the Principality of Andorra.
Governance in Andorra
Andorra's mode of governance is quite unique and has its roots in the history of the principality. In fact, Andorra is one of the few countries to have two heads of state at the same time. This status had been adopted since the signing of the treaty by the Archbishop of Urgell and the Count of Foix. The French president is the French prince and the Bishop of Urgell the episcopal coprince. Since then, some changes have been noted, but the principality still has two leaders.
It is called a constitutional and parliamentary unitary diarchy model. The two heads of state are called "co-princes" and are supported by a head of government and ministers. The government is responsible for managing the principality's national and international policy. It is also responsible for the administration of the state and for drawing up the budget.
The principality's parliament is called the General Council, which is made up of 28 members. Andorra is divided into 7 parishes which act as communes (Escaldes-Engordany has become the 7th parish). Every 4 years, the authorities of the country organize elections at the national level.
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A principality neutral in conflicts and which does not have an army
Andorra has several particularities in terms of organization, but also in terms of its choices. The principality has chosen not to intervene in conflicts. It remains neutral and does not intervene in external crises. The country stuck in the Pyrenees is also one of the few countries that do not have an armed force. This may seem surprising considering the country’s long history of conflict.
However, the principality is not defenseless and can be protected in case of need. France and Spain are in charge of its defense and can intervene only if its territorial integrity is violated. It should be noted that Andorra also has a police force that can intervene in case of terrorist attack or hostage taking.
The recognition of Andorra by the other countries of the European continent
It was in 1993 that Andorra became a constitutional state with a new constitution. It is this newly acquired status that has allowed the principality to benefit from international recognition. The European countries have recognized the small country of the Pyrenees and have facilitated collaboration with it. Since then, the European institutions have allowed it to benefit from certain facilities at the continental level.
Since 1990, Andorra has been able to sign numerous agreements with the European Union. The main objective is simply to maintain beneficial relations with the latter. The principality has also put in place strategies to facilitate trade with other European countries. These are its main economic partners and it makes many efforts to keep good relations.
Towards a country that stands out as a reference in terms of political and economic stability
If Andorra is so admired by visitors, it is certainly not by chance. The country attracts visitors because of its stable political framework, but above all for its particularly dynamic economy. There is no political tension that could represent an obstacle for investors or anyone wishing to settle in the country. With independent state institutions, it has what it takes to reassure and attract foreign investment.
This state has been able to organize itself for its development and is profitable. Tourism and the economic sector are two very important pillars of the financial system. Tourism represents nearly 80% of the GDP with several million visitors each year. Andorra is one of the countries with one of the highest GDP per capita. In terms of economic growth, the principality has a lot to offer and everyone agrees.
In recent years, the authorities have created facilities to further open up its economy for investors. It is beneficial to set up a business project in the country. The tax system is also very favorable and makes the principality a particularly attractive destination for private investment.