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Brief history of Andorra, independence

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In this article we have written the history of Andorra in such a way that it is clear and pleasant: in the form of a timeline of dates. From the Pre-Roman era and the founding of the country to the present day, all the most relevant events, events and changes are ordered by date and time and organized by historical epoch or age. We hope you like it.

Foundation of the country

  • 1st century BC. C.: Polybius mentions a battle of the local (Andean) inhabitants against the Carthaginian Aníbal, on his way through the Pyrenees on his way to Rome.
  • 27 a. C.: The territory joins the newly created Roman province Hispania Tarraconense, to which it belonged even after the creation of the Visigoth kingdom.
  • 714: Muslims invade Andorra and drive Visigoths out of the territory. The Andorran valleys are part of the Superior brand of al-Andalus. The territory was a battlefield between Franks and Andalusis.
  • 788: Traditional date of the independence of Andorra. Charlemagne invades and consolidates the territory, after fighting against the Arab army in the Querol Valley, according to the most exhaustive data and the Andorran tradition. Although the Arabs had the advantage, a group of Andorran highlanders from the Valira River valleys coordinated by Marc Almugàver helped Charlemagne to fight against the Arabs in Pimorent and Campcardós, thus favoring victory over the Muslims. The emperor, thanked the gesture granting its protection to Andorra and declaring it sovereign people. In addition, he donated tithes and other rights to the bishops of Urgel. The Charter of the foundation of Andorra, which is preserved in the Principality Archive, was granted by Charlemagne to his son Luis, although not all historians accept it because it was written at a much later time.
  • 817: Andorra, Urgel and Cerdanya become part of the Carolingian Sovereignty.

Feudal and medieval times

  • 843: First documented mention of Andorra. The Carolingian empire is dismembered and with a precept, the emperor Carlos el Calvo gives his faithful Sunifredo, count of Urgell, among others, the valley of Andorra.
  • 839: It is time to make the regions of this region of the Pyrenees. The Act of Consecration and Endowment of the Cathedral of Seo de Urgel, where the Andorra valley is mentioned and for the first time their territorial organization by parishes as dependent districts of that diocese, at the same time that the religious relationship with the Seo de Urgel is confirmed.
  • X-XI centuries: There are constant conflicts between the nobles of Caboet, Castellbò and the bishopric of Urgell for control and sovereignty of Andorra.
  • 1133: Count Ermengol VI of Urgell transfers to Bishop Pere Berenguer and the Cathedral of Urgell all the rights that he had or could have in the Valleys of Andorra in perpetuity and without reservation, and the inhabitants of the Valleys are ordered to swear allegiance to the bishop and his successors.
  • 1162: A concord is signed with Bishop Bernat Sanç for the designation of the Batlles in consideration of an annual tribute.
  • 1176: A new concord with Bishop Arnau de Preixens completes the previous one. Due to the situation of political instability in both France and Spain during the Middle Ages due to internal conflicts between the small kingdoms and the constant invasions by the Arabs, the Counts of Urgel requested help and agreed with the counts of Caboet to protect the Andorran parishes.
  • 1095-1159: The different members of the Caboet family (Guitard Isarn de Caboet, Guillem Guitard de Caboet, Arnau de Caboet) keep loyalty to the bishopric of Urgell, consolidating the union by which, as compensation, they promise to share the domain of Andorra, which passes to be a episcopal lordship.
  • 1185: Union of the surnames Caboet and Castellbò in the destination of Andorra. Arnaua, eldest daughter of the Casa de los Caboet, married Arnau de Castellbó.
  • 13th century: The fight for the sovereignty of Andorra happens to be between the bishops of Urgell and the counts of the Foix family.
  • 1201: The contemporary Bishop of Urgell, Bernat de Vilamur, grants Viscount Arnau de Castellbó and his only daughter and heir Ermessanda, the valleys of Andorra, in exchange for the oath of fidelity.
  • 1208: Ermessanda marries the Count of Foix Roger Bernat II, thus adding to the lordship the House of Foix via marriage alliances.
  • 1257: Roger Bernat III marries Margarida de Bearn. A time of conflict arises, since Pedro III the Great of Aragon supports and protects the rights of the bishop, while his brother Jaume II of Mallorca, Roussillon and Sardinia, married to Esclarmonda (sister of Roger Bernat III), protects his brother-in-law , the count of Foix.
  • 1278: Obliged by Pere II of Catalonia, Roger Bernat III, count of Foix and Viscount of Castellbò and the Bishop of Urgel Pere d’Urtx sign an agreement, on September 8, in Lérida, for which the latter gives up part of his rights and both share the sovereignty of Andorra. This agreement is known as the "First Pariatge”, A very important fact in the history of the Principality and discussed by historians as the first European constitution. The undivided harvest over the territory. Andorra paid a feudal tribute to the Count de Foix and the Bishop of Urgel.
  • 1278: Signature of second pariatge between Pere d’Urtx, Bishop of Urgell and Roger Bernat III. Andorrans thus have two sovereigns.
  • 1396: Martin the Human, annexed the valleys of Andorra, as the power of France & Count Foix was increasing, but was returned to the house of Foix 4 years later.
  • 1419: The Earth Council is constituted and legitimized, the origin parliament of the current one, one of the oldest in Europe. It was an institution for the management of common affairs, with the power to appoint trustees and attorneys for the defense of rights and privileges.

Modern era

The sixteenth century, full of dynamism and changes, also had its effect in Andorra. The nobles and kings viewed the territory without great interest and used it as a mere exchange for firmer political strategies. The territory was the possession of various kings and monarchs. The Catholic Monarchs annexed it to the crown after the battle against the Dukes of Foix, but during the reign of Charles V, Andorra was returned to the House of the Foix.

  • 1479: Foix County passed in 1479 to be possession of the Bearnese territories of the Kingdom of Navarra, also called from Baja Navarra.
  • 1589: Henry III, King of Navarre and Count of Foix becomes King of France, with the name of Henry IV. Thus, a series of transmissions of the title within the French scope and the shared lordship acquires the co-principal range.
  • 1607-1620: Luís XIII, successor of Enrique IV, decided to unite the title of king of Navarra and his rights transmitted from the co-principal of Andorra, such as the county of Foix, to the Crown of France. So, from then on, all the titles are united and the successive heads of state of France become co-princes with the Bishop of Urgel, dignity that is maintained even when the monarchy of France disappears.
  • The first years of the 18th century: Andorra manages to remain neutral in the War of the Spanish Succession.
  • 1715: The Bishop of Urgell Simeó de Guinda dictates various regulations in which the Consuls of the Valleys of Andorra were instructed not to obey any order that was not issued by the King of France or himself.
  • 1748: Antoni Fiter i Rosell, doctor of law and natural from Ordino, writes the «Digest Manual of the Valls Neustras of Andorra»(Compendium of the history, uses and customs, privileges and political organization of Andorra), known colloquially as the Andorran Bible. Andorran historical archives such as those of Charlemagne and Ludovico Pius are transcribed in this document. It also includes a whole series of moral rules called "maxims", in a continuation of the traditional Catalan customary law based on Roman law.
  • 1763: Mosén Antoni Puig, a native of Les Escaldes, simplifying the work of Dr. Fiter i Rossell writes his version entitled "Politar Andorrà”, A work also very important in the history of Andorra and which is a description of the Principality's privileges and the powers of the authorities, among other topics.
  • 1789: The outbreak of the French Revolution leaves Andorra between two powers, France and Spain, continuously at odds. The French revolutionaries of the First Republic refused to maintain the pariatge for its feudal origin and he was interrupted, also suspending relations with France and the collection of taxes from the Qüestia, and renouncing the titles of the co-principal.
  • 1794: In full war with Spain, a French detachment entered Andorra until Soldeu in trying to occupy the Seo de Urgel. But an Andorran representation went to Puigcerda and convinced General Chabret to resign from that operation.

Contemporary age

Monument to the New Reformation, Andorra la Vella
Monument to the New Reformation, Andorra la Vella
  • 1806: Napoleon Bonaparte returned to accept his sovereignty as French head of state at the express request of the Andorran people via decree, acting as co-prince of Andorra, considering that the royal decree of 1620 had transmitted part of French sovereignty to the French state, be it monarchy or republic. It also restored the positions of Veguer and French Batlle, the Qüestia and the customs exemptions granted years ago by Louis XV. This definitive restoration of the co-principle marks a before and after in the Valleys of Andorra, which open up to the world. The first books are also published, highlighting "Relationship over the Valley of Andorra" by Fray Tomas Junoy.
  • 1812-1814: The French Empire nominally annexes Catalonia divides it into four departments (Segre, Ter, Montserrat and Bocas del Ebro). Andorra was part of the Puigcerdá district, within the Segre department.
  • 1866: Guillem de Plandolit i de Areny, noble and wealthy owner, leads the "Nova Reforma" (New Reformation) together with Antón Meastre, who was accepted by Bishop Josep Caixal i Estradé on April 14 of the same year. This deep reform of the institutions supposes a democratization process and grant a more active participation to the people in the government of the country. Among other things, voting rights were given to all the heads of the family, the incompatibility between the position of General Councilor and that of Common Councilor was admitted, and the People's Commissioner was created to control the Administration and public accounts. In addition, the “Consell General” (General Council) was composed thereafter of 24 councilors who were chosen from the trustees. The reform was accepted by the Bishop of Urgel.
  • 1869: Napoleon III accepts and ratifies the Nova Reformation as the co-prince of Andorra.
  • Late 19th and early 20th centuries: economic difficulties forced many Andorrans to emigrate from the country.
  • 1899: The Administrative Highway Board is constituted.
  • 1914: The first road connecting Andorra with foreigners, specifically with Spain (Seo de Urgel). In addition, the Virgin of Meritxell is declared as Patroness of the Valleys of Andorra.
  • 1921: In September, the Archbishop of Tarragona with Bishop De Urgel canonically crown the image of the Mare de Déu de Meritxell. This day is proclaimed as the National Holiday of the Principality.
  • 1928: The Spanish Government created a postal service with Andorra.
  • 1929: The first electrical generation facility was created, which would start operating in 1934. It is the escaldes hydroelectric power station, managed by FEDA, which uses the water from the Engolasters lake at 1,616 meters above sea level to generate electricity.
  • 1931: France creates its own postal service with Andorra.
  • 1933: Despite the workers' strikes, the route of the road that communicated with the Seo de Urgel to Pas de la Casa is completed, on the border with France. Popular altercations occur to achieve universal male suffrage and the General Council of Andorra, under pressure, agrees. After this, the Court of the Courts, considering the fact as disobedience to the co-princes, dismissed the General Council. The President of the French Republic then sent a detachment of gendarmes to restore order, and finally lthe permanent delegates of the co-princes call elections. The electoral system was reformed on July 17, the date from which any man over 30 years old could be elected, and they had right to vote all men over 25.
  • 1934: The Russian Borís Skósyrev, with the promise of wealth and improvements for a rural and backward Andorra, he proposed as king and the proposal obtained the approval of the General Council. However, the bishop of Seo de Urgel disavowed him and Borís declared war on him and proclaimed himself sovereign prince. The bishop brought into the Principality a sergeant and four agents who arrested the Russian and took him to Barcelona, where he was tried and expelled from Spanish territory. Those days were the only historical period during which Andorra did not depend on any other state.
  • 1935: The first radio station is created, Radio Andorra, with a license issued by The General Council.
  • 1936: The Spanish civil war breaks out, and the presence of french gendarmes to prevent attacks by the government of General Franco, until 1940 when France surrendered to the German army. Andorra continued its strict neutrality, also thanks to the understanding between all the parties, and welcomed the continuous arrival of political refugees and immigrants.
  • 1937: Andorra suffered severe floods.
  • 1943: The last execution in Valles lands of a condemned man to death by vile club takes place. Capital punishment was abolished.
  • 1944: Because of World War II, in which Andorra as traditionally remained neutral, a detachment of French gendarmes (without agreement with the Bishop of La Seo) and a group of civil guards settled in Andorra, but there was no outstanding confrontation between the two forces, which remained in the Principality until 1945.
  • 1958: Andorra signs a peace treaty with Germany, since it was forgotten in the Versailles Treaty and legally the two countries had been at war until then, although they had never had a conflict.
  • During the hippie decade of the 60s and 70s the Principality's standard of living advances in a great leap, resembling that of a modern country. The population doubles in twelve years and reaches 12,199 inhabitants in 1964. The great commercial and tourist development also begins, the first facilities for the practice of winter sports are developed. Skiing is declared a national sport. However, discrimination against non-nationals increases, due to increased immigration, as Andorran nationals become a minority.
  • 1967: The co-prince Charles de Gaulle he visited the Principality, and was received with great enthusiasm after the dark period of the world war conflict.
  • 1968: The «is createdCaixa Andorrana de Seguretat Social »(CASS) and the automatic telephone service and the telex are inaugurated.
  • 1970: the lowering of the voting age to 21 was approved and women were allowed to vote, although the discrimination towards the population that did not have the nationality was accentuated.
  • 1971: The new electoral reforms are applied in the elections of December 15. Andorran women vote for the first time.
  • 1973: The first meeting of both co-princes since the 13th century, Joan Martí i Alanis and George Pompidou, takes place.
  • 1978: the parish of Escaldes-Engordany was segregated from that of Andorra la Vieja, thus becoming the seventh civil parish of the Principality.
  • 1982: Entered into functions the first newly formed Andorran government, for the first time separating the legislative executive power. There were serious floods that left the Principality incommunicado and caused a good number of deaths and injuries. 
  • 1990-1992: The Principality signs an agreement with the European Economic Community and approves a new penal code.
  • 1993: The second Constitution is approved in a referendum (The first was that of Borís I, who never applied), thus leaving Feudalism definitively, declaring the Andorran people as the sole sovereign of the state, and becoming a modern country with a current parliamentary government, reducing the power of the co-princes. This allowed him to entry into the United Nations as a full member.

Present

  • 1995: The Andorra Television (ATV) and the nationality acquisition law is reformed, making it more flexible. As a result, the Andorran national population increased in the late 1990s.
  • 1997: The University of Andorra legally, although it has been operating since 1988 in the Nursing and Computer schools.
  • 2002: The Principality adopted the euro as official currency, at the same time as France and Spain.
  • 2003: They come into force agreements between the Principality, the Kingdom of Spain and the French Republic relating to the entry, movement, stay and establishment of citizens.
  • 2004: The University of Andorra acquires its own campus in Sant Julià de Lòria.
  • 2006: The Principality reaches for the first time having more than 80,000 inhabitants.
  • 2008: Entry into force of the Agreement between the Principality and Portugal regarding the entry, stay and establishment of their nationals, and of the Agreement between Andorra and the Holy See.
  • 2011: The New Parliament is inaugurated, leaving the Casa de la Vall as its historical headquarters. In the field of taxation, Andorra ratifies 17 tax information exchange agreements with the Republic of Austria, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, France, Belgium, Argentina, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Denmark, the Government of the Faroes, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Since the beginning of the 21st century and, especially since the last decade, Andorra has promoted a series of reforms that have completely changed the country. It has ceased to be a tax haven for all international institutions, has made a deep economic and political opening and is constantly opening up to the world and betting on the most innovative sectors, such as Blockchain, Big Data or digital business. The purpose is to be an open and welcoming country, complete, free but safe, sustainable and peculiar and unique. And despite the difficulties, it is succeeding.

Right now Andorra is a very attractive jurisdiction to invest, but also to live. In Andorra Insiders we collaborate with the best experts lawyers, prosecutors and accountants to establish themselves and settle in the Principality safely and carefree. In addition, we not only provide professional legal, tax and accounting services, but we offer comprehensive support, customizing your case and helping you in all the details it means changing countries: from looking for housing or premises and human resources personnel to guiding you in the day to day of the country and showing you all its services. You can contact us and tell us your case here, we will help you quickly and accurately. Thanks for reading.

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