History of Andorra

For 715 years, from 1278 to 1993, Andorrans have lived under a unique co-principality, ruled by French and Spanish leaders (from 1607 onward, the French chief of state and the Spanish bishop of Urgell). In 1993, this feudal system was modified with the titular heads of state retained, but the government transformed into a parliamentary democracy. Long isolated and impoverished, Andorra achieved considerable prosperity since World War II through its tourist and banking industry.

Andorran Flag


The earliest document known that mentions Andorra is the act of consecration of the cathedral of Santa Maria of Urgell in 839, which mentions the parishes (administrative and territorial divisions) of Andorra as the fief of the Counts of Urgell.

History of counts, bishops and nobles...

Between the 9th and 10th centuries, the Andorran valleys belonged to the counts of Urgell, who ceded them to the See of Urgell in 988 in exchange for other possessions in the Cerdanya, although it was not until the 12th century that Andorrans recognised the sovereignty of the See of Urgell in an agreement signed with the bishop Bernat Sanç in 1176. A period of struggle for sovereignty over the Andorran valleys began, particularly with the counts of Urgell, which caused the bishops to call on the closest nobles for aid and protection. As a result of their cooperation with the bishop, the House of Caboet received the valleys of Andorra in fief. Through the marriages of various generations, the house of Caboet became linked with the houses of Castellbò, Foix and Béarn. The 13th century was a time of bitter struggle between the counts of Foix and the See of Urgell to reduce the rights of the bishops over Andorra.

Andorran Blazon


Hostilities came to an end with the signature of two arbitration judgements, known as the Pariatges, signed in 1278-1288 between the bishop of Urgell, Pere d’Urg, and the count of Foix, Roger Bernat III. The Pariatges establish the co-sovereignty of the bishop of Urgell and the count of Foix over Andorra: thus bringing the Principality of Andorra into existence.

Change and surroundings...

During the 15th century the counts of Foix became the rulers of Navarre and in 1589 Henry, king of Navarre and count of Foix, viscount of Béarn and lord of Andorra, became king of France, so that the rights of co-lordship over Andorra, whicA? h belonged to the counts of Foix, passed to the crown of France. In 1793, due to the feudal origin of the bonds uniting Andorra with France, the French republicans refused to maintain relations with the Andorrans and receive their tribute. In 1806, Napoleon re-established the feudal tradition and the French rights of co-lordship over the Principality of Andorra.


With its historical and political development, Andorra continues to be a co-principality, with the bishop of Urgell and the president of the French Republic as the co-princes by personal title and in absolute equality.


From the creation of the Land Council in 1419 as a first parliamentary form, when representatives from all the parishes met together to deal with the problems of the community, and right up to the present day, the Andorrans have not ceased to move forward in modernising and updating their institutions. In the second half of the 19th century, the so-called New Reform brought substantial changes in the fields of politics and administration; the right to vote was given to all heads of houses and the power of the General Council was increased. In 1981, with the creation of the Executive Council, the most recent and decisive reforms in the Principality of Andorra began; they would culminate in the desire of the Andorrans to have a written Constitution. The process ended on 14 March 1993, with the first written Constitution of Andorra, which transformed the Principality into an independent state of law, democratic and social, with a new definition of the competences attributed to the institutions.

Andorran Councillors 1419

Key Dates

10.500 - 700 bC - From prehistoric times to the pre-Roman period: first inhabitants of the territory of Andorra.

805 - The legend says that Charlemagne founded Andorra in recognition for the help given by its inhabitants against Saracens.

Mid-9th century - Consecration of the cathedral of Santa Maria d’Urgell, the first document which mentions the parishes of Andorra.

1133 - The Count of Urgell gives the Bishop of Urgell his claim to the Andorra valleys.

13th century - Constant struggles between the counts of Foix and the Church of Urgell.

1278 and 1288 - The Bishop of Urgell, Pere d’Urg and the Count of Foix, Roger Bernat III, signed the Pareatges establishing their co-sovereignty over Andorra.

1419 - Creation of the Consell de la Terra (Council of the Land) as the first Parliamentary form.

1589 - Henry, King of Navarre, count of Foix, Viscount of Bearn and Lord of Andorra, becomes king of France, and unites the rights of joint Lordship of the counts of Foix with the French crown.

1793-1806 - The French Revolution breaks the bonds between Andorra and France, but Napoleon restores the feudal tradition and the rights of joint Lordship of France.

1866 - Approval of the New Reform, which brings substantial changes in the political and administrative areas.

1933 - Male universal suffrage is established.

1970 - Female universal suffrage is established.

1978 - Escaldes-Engordany becomes the seventh parish of Andorra.

1981 - Creation of the Executive Council, the Government of Andorra.

14th March 1993 - First Constitution of Andorra, which turns the Principality into an independent democratic and social state in law, and with the new definition of competencies for the institutions.

1993 - Andorra joins the UN and other International organisations.

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