Legend tells that
Charlemagne founded Andorra in 805 in recognition of aid given by its inhabitants against the Saracens.
Tradition... 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.
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.
Equilibrium... 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.
Evolution... 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.
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