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Located between France and Spain in the heart of Pyrenees, Andorra is the sixth smallest country of Europe. This landlocked country located in the south western part of Europe has a total area of 180 square miles. It is a land of rugged mountains with narrow valleys. Andorran enjoys temperate, cold, and snowy climate. Its geographic coordinates are 42° 30’ N, 1° 30’ E.
History holds that Emperor Charlemagne granted a charter to the people of Andorra in appreciation for their fight against the Moors. In 988 AD, the Count of Urgell, passed Andorra to the Bishop of Diocese of Urgell in exchange of a territory. In 1095, the bishop sought protection from a Spanish nobleman, Lord of Caboet, out of fear that the Count of Urgell would take Andorra back. The both then signed a declaration of their co-sovereignty over the country. Later a French nobleman, Count of Foix, became heir to the Lord of Caboet through marriage and claimed authority over Andorra; this dispute was resolved in 1278 with the signing of a pareage, which declared country’s sovereignty be shared between the Count of Foix and Bishop of Urgell. In accordance with the agreement Andorrans were ruled till 1993 by co-princes from France and Spain. In 1993, the government changed into parliamentary democracy, with honorary position of ‘head of the state’, remaining with the co-princes of France and Spain.
Economy and Challenges
Economically this small country, Andorra, is prosperous. It is mainly supported by tourism, which contributes about 80% to the country’s GDP. Duty-free shopping attracts millions of visitors to this country. Retail sales, banking, and finance are other important sectors, which contributes substantially to the country’s economy. Andorra has also been popular for its tax haven status; this however, has been affected by the opening of the borders of Spain and France resulting in availability of a variety of goods at lower tariffs. Andorra’s agricultural contribution is a mere 2 % to the GDP. Sheep rearing is the main livestock activity. Andorra enjoys a special relation with European Union, it is regarded as a non-EU member for agricultural products and an EU member for trade of manufacturing goods with no tariffs. Andorra uses Euro as a currency. In 2010-2011, Andorra’s tourism business dropped, resulting in immediate action in the form of strict measures from the government.
Travel and Tourism
Tourism contributes substantially to the country’s economy. Magnificent mountains, narrow beautiful valleys, cool temperate climate, shopper’s paradise, makes this land a perfect tourist destination. Summer and winter resorts attract millions of tourists to this country. Andorra also has many major ski resorts. Andorra is popular not only for its natural beauty but also for its culture and festivals. Visitors enjoy folk dances like marratxa and contrapas. Overall, this country can be visited throughout the year.
Last Updated On : March 05, 2013
Official NameOfficial Name
CapitalAndorra La Vella
Largest CityAndorra La Vella
Area180 square miles
Population85,082 (2011 est.)
GDP (PPP)3.169 Billion (2011 est.)
Form of GovernmentParliamentary Democracy with co-principality
Administrative UnitsSeven Parishes
National HolidaySeptember 8, 1278 (Our Lady of Meritxell Day)
Head of GovernmentPrime Minister Antoni Marti Petit
Major LanguageCatalan, Spanish, French, Portuguese
Major ReligionsRoman Catholicism
Major Agricultural ProductsOats, wheat, rye, vegetables, barley, sheep etc.
Major IndustriesSkiing industry (related to tourism), banking, cattle raising, tobacco