Background Notes: Southern Europe, October 2005 [Secure eReader]
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eBook by U.S. Department of State
eBook Category: Travel
eBook Description: Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs country background notes for international travelers to Andorra, Cyprus, France, Greece, Holy See, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, and Turkey. Each country's brief, factual background note summarizes its geography, people (population, ethnic groups, languages, health, and religion), history, culture, government and political conditions (type, political parties and principal government officials), economy (GDP; land, climate, and demographics; agriculture and natural resources; trade, industry, and investment; and transportation), defense, human rights, and foreign relations. Each country's background note also provides travel and business information, including principal U.S. officials (ambassador, public affairs officer, counselor for economic affairs, etc.); embassy location, telephone, and fax numbers; and passport information.
eBook Publisher: InfoStrategist.com/InfoStrategist.com
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2005
Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
Background Note: Andorra
Principality of Andorra
Area: 468 sq. km. (180 sq. mi.); about half the size of New York City.
Cities: Capital – Andorra la Vella.
Climate: Temperate, cool, dry.
Nationality: Noun and adjective – Andorran(s).
Population: 76,875 (as of 2004).
Annual growth rate: 1.4%.
Ethnic groups: Catalan, Spanish, French, Portuguese. Religion: Roman Catholic.
Languages: Catalan (official), Spanish, French.
Education: Years compulsory – to age 16. Attendance – 100%. Literacy – 100%.
Health: Infant mortality rate – 3/1,000. Life expectancy – 76 yrs. male, 81 yrs. female.
Type: Parliamentary democracy that retains as its heads of state two co-princes.
Constitution: Ratified in March 1993.
Branches: Heads of State – Two co-princes (President of France, Bishop of Seu d'Urgell in Spain). Executive--Head of Government (Cap de Govern) and twelve ministers. Legislative – Parliament (founded 1419) consisting of 28 members. Judicial-Civil cases heard in first instance by four judges (batlles) and in appeals by the one-judge Court of Appeals. The highest body is the five-member Superior Council of Justice. Criminal cases are heard by the Tribunal of Courts in Andorra la Vella. Subdivisions: Seven parishes (parroquies) – Andorra la Vella, Canillo, Encamp, La Massana, Ordino, Sant Julia de Lòria, and Escaldes make up the districts represented in the General Council.
Political parties/groups: Andorran Liberal Party (PLA), CDA (Democratic Center of Andorra), and the Social Democratic Party (PS).
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
GDP: $2.3 billion (2002).
Natural resources: Hydroelectric power, mineral water, timber, iron ore, lead.
Agriculture: Products--tobacco, sheep.
Industry: Types--tourism, (mainstay of the economy), tobacco products, furniture.
Trade: Major activities are commerce and banking; no official figures are available. Duty-free status.
Official currency: Euro.
Andorrans live in seven valleys that form Andorra's political districts. Andorrans are a minority in their own country; Spanish, French, and Portuguese residents make up 60% of the population.
The national language is Catalan, a romance language related to the Provençal groups. French and Spanish are also spoken.
Education law requires school attendance for children up to age 16. A system of French, Spanish, and Andorran public schools provides education up to the secondary level. Schools are built and maintained by Andorran authorities, but teachers are paid primarily by France or Spain. About 50% of Andorran children attend the French primary schools, the rest attend Spanish or Andorran schools. Andorran schools follow the Spanish curriculum, and their diplomas are recognized by the Spanish education system. In July 1997, the University of Andorra was established. The number of students makes it impossible for the University of Andorra to develop a full academic program, and it serves principally as a center for virtual studies, connected to Spanish and French universities. The only two graduate schools in Andorra are the Nursing School and the School of Computer Science.
Andorra is the last independent survivor of the March states, a number of buffer states created by Charlemagne to keep the Muslim 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, made Count of Urgell overlord of Andorra. A descendant of the count later gave the lands to the diocese of Urgell, headed by Bishop of Seu d'Urgell.
In the 11th century, fearing military action by neighboring lords, the bishop placed himself under the protection of the Lord of Caboet, a Spanish nobleman. Later, the Count of Foix, a French noble, became heir to Lord Caboet through marriage, and a dispute arose between the French Count and the Spanish bishop over Andorra.
In 1278, the conflict was resolved by the signing of a pareage, which provided that Andorra's sovereignty be shared between the Count of Foix and the Bishop of Seu d'Urgell of 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.
Over the years, the title was passed between French and Spanish rule until, in the reign of the French King Henry IV, an edict in 1607 established the head of the French state and the Bishop of Urgell as co-princes of Andorra.
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 transportation and communications have removed the country from its isolation.
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