1. Prehistory (3.500 B.C.-2nd.
2. Ancient Age (2nd century
B.C. till 7th century A.D.)
3. Middle Age (700 A.D.-1.1512
4. Modern Age (1.512 A.D.-1.899
5. Twentieth Century
1. Prehistory (3.500 B.C.-2nd. century
There are no findings regarding populations
in this area during the Paleolithic age, nevertheless
nomad tribes crossed undoubtedly the area
at that time. The valleys in the Pyrenees
where inhabitated at a later time. The prehistoric
glacial period delayed the population of the
During the period known as Neolithic (3.500
B.C.-2.000 B.C.) small groups of people lived
by the Valira river, mainly at "Sant
Julià de Lòria". Some other
groups dwelled caves placed at "Cim de
Pal", "Roc de Llunsí",
"Massana" and "Arinsal".
During the year 1.959, was found the oldest
skeleton of Andorra. It was a woman that lived
about 4000 years ago, and found at the "Balma
de la Margineda", where they also found
arrow tips, flinstone industry, bone tools,
ceramic fragments, etc.
During this period, we can affirm the existence
of the first stabilization of the population,
that adopt the particular characteristics
that will identify in the future as the genuine
"andorrans", the "Andosins".
The Andorra dwellers at the time, passed from
a depredation economy to a steady and constructive
one, building hamlets at the foot of "Serra
d'Enclar", "Roureda del Cedre"
and others, receiving from the passing by
travellers, the "Bronze-culture"
(taking advantage of all the metals found
On the other hand, there is the evidence of
progress in the Megalithic industry, as shown
by some dolmens ("Encamp"), cave
paintings as the "Roca de les Bruixes",
"Prats", "Ordino" and
"Massana". They spoke an Iberic
dialect (Basque-type), that is still present
at the toponymy of the zone (Andorra, "Ordino",
"Erts", "Certers", etc.).
We know that the primitive Andorrans adore
the forces of nature, the forests, the lakes,
etc. From this time they found as well "16"
Iberic coins at "Sant Julià de
2. Ancient Age (2nd century B.C.
till 7th century A.D.)
Centuries passed away. At 220 B.C. Romans
and Carthaginians fought each other to conquer
the Iberian Peninsula. Polybius, the greek
historian, refers to the Roman expedition
of Hannibal, that went through the Pyrenees
(219 B.C.-218 B.C.):
"After he made all preparations during
the winter, and once he had guaranteed the
absolute security of Africa and Spain, and
when the day arrived, he advanced his army
with 90.000 infantry-men and 12.000 cavalry-men.
(...) He passed and crossed the "Segre"
river, submitted the tribes of "Ilergetes",
and "Andosins" till he arrived to
the Pyrenees, having many battles and a great
deal of losses in his army ..."
But Hannibal failed and Rome strengthen its
Empire. The Roman influence is evident in
Law, language origin, coins of the period
and toponimic names as "Escaldes",
"La Massana", "Encamp",
"Incles", "Sispony", "Tristaina",
"Valira", "Runer", etc.
Regarding the language, this was originally
at the "Valleys" probably a conjunction
"Basque Iberic", as shows the "Andorran
toponymy", with some "basque"
evidences. The agricultural improvements that
came from outside, make a great deal of benefit,
in the archaic mountain crops.
During 414 A.D. barbarian Visigoths took "Narbone"
and passed to "Hispania". Andorra,
was dependant of Visigoths Monarchs as said
in the "Manual Digest".
3. Middle Age (700 A.D.-1.1512 A.D.)
Three hundred years later, the Visigoths were
eliminated by other invaders, the "Muslims".
The take over of the Muslims getting into
Andorra, through the Segre valley, was absolutely
minimal, at least in a direct way, and the
real evidences are the minute remnants of
Arab population used the Valleys of Andorra
as a shortcut to reach Toulouse, Narbonne,
Carcassone and Nimes.
The famous battle of Poitiers, where Carles
Martell defeated Arabs, and that of "Roncesvalles"
marked the end of those expeditions to the
other part of the Pyrenees (732 A.D.-778 A.D.).
Andorra, is considered to be founded by the
Emperor Charlemagne. As tradition says, five
thousand andorrans, conducted by Marc Almugàver,
appeared at the "Vall de Carol"
to help the army of Charlemagne, located at
"Pimorent" and "Campcardòs"
in order to fight Muslims. The emperor thankful
to the Andorran army gave his protection to
Andorra and declare it as "Sovereign
People" (788 A.D.).
"Fiter i Rossell" writes in the
"Manual Digest" that the Valleys
were recovered to the Arabs by Charlemagne,
and so were submitted to his supreme dominion.
The emperor give the "dècimes"
(tenths) and some other rights to the Bishops
of Urgell. There exists a "Bill of Andorra's
Foundation", kept by the archive of the
Principate; this bill was issued by Charlemagne
to his son "Lluís" and it
is not accepted by all the historians, because
it was written and given in a late period.
This document establish that Andorran people,
where his tributaries, but however he specifies
that they only have to pay "one or two
fishes as tribute", this fact is quite
peculiar, because is the first reference to
the "Valira's trouts".
Nevertheless, Andorra yet reminds the protection
of the great emperor, and at the National
"The great Charlemagne, my father, set
me free from the Arabs"...
The fact is that Andorra as well as L'Urgell
and "La Cerdanya" passed in 817
A.D. to depend of the Carolingian Sovereignty
integrating themselves in the "Marca
of Tolosa". We suppose that when the
Carolingian Empire disappear, during the kingdom
of "Carles el Calb" (Charles the
Bald) (823 A.D.-877 A.D.) this king gave the
Andorran territory to Sunifred the first,
count of Cerdanya and Urgell (843 A.D.), thanking
him specifically his help in the fights against
The year 839 A.D. is the moment to rebuild
the territory of the Pyrenees. Forty six years
before, the Arabs have destroyed the cathedral
of Urgell. At this time, they set up a new
one in the place called "Vicus".
The first unquestionable document regarding
the history of Andorra is the "Act of
Consecration and Assignment of the Cathedral
of Urgell" done by the bishop in front
of the Count Sunifred the first of Urgell.
In this document, they specifically cite the
six andorran parishes, as being dependant
of such diocese:
"Tradimus namque ipsas parroquias de
Valle HAndorransis id est ipsa parroquia de
Lauredia atque Andorra cum Sancta Columba
sive illa Maciana atque Hordinaui uel Hencamp
sive Kanillaue cum omnibus ecclesiis atque
villulis uel uilarunculis earum."
("We give as well the parishes of the
Valleys of Andorra, this is to say, Loria
and Andorra, and Santa Coloma, Massana, Ordino,
Encamp, and Canillo with all their churches
and possessions, big or small.")
During this century and the next, by means
of purchases and permutes, the successors
of the counts of Urgell, enlarge their possessions
The year 988 A.D. count Borrell the second
of Barcelona and the bishop Sal.la, reach
an exchange agreement for their property:
the first mentioned gave lands of Lòria,
Santa Coloma and Ordino in change of several
rights for "Berga" and "Cerdanya".
While the "romanic" evolves at the
Principate, the episcopal dominions increase
at Andorra, thanks to several concessions
from private people and from the counts of
Urgell, always backed by the Popes, ending
this situation in 1133 when count Ermengol
the 4th of Urgell, gave to the bishop "Pere
Berenguer" and the Cathedral of Urgell,
by means of an indemnification of 1.200 "sous",
all the rights that have or may have in the
future to the Valleys of Andorra, "in
perpetuity and without any reservation"
and orders to the inhabitants of the Valleys
to swear fidelity to the bishop and his successors,
and respect all the duties of good vassals.
Altogether with count Ermengol guarantee this
donation the six andorran delegates, "Arnau"
count of the "Pallars", "Pere
de Castellbó" viscount d'Urgell
and "Cerdanya" and "Miró
Guitard", Master of the "Valls de
Cabó and Sant Joan".
The territorial dominion of the bishop of
Urgell, was then transformed into a "jurisdictional
mastership" and their relations with
Andorra will be in the future of "feudal
style". So Andorra, converts in an episcopal
The "Caboet", Masters of the "Valls
de Cabó and Sant Joan" convene
with the bishop "Bernat Sanç",
the supremacy of the "Mitre of Urgell"
over his rights at the Valleys of Valira.
But when the mastery power exercised the "mitre",
rose the trouble. During 1162 A.D. being bishop
"Bernat Sanç", an agreement
regarding the election of mayors was signed,
compromising a yearly tribute: "four
hams, forty breads and a little bit of wine".
In 1176 a new agreement with bishop "Arnau
de Preixens", completes and explains
fully the above mentioned one, the people
from Andorra accepted the compromise of giving
the bishop "one hundred 'diners' every
two years", in Christmas day. This concordant
agreement was signed by 838 "house heads"
from Andorra, and thanks to this data we can
establish the existing population at the Valleys
at that time (1176), 2.298 inhabitants approx.
But, since the middle of the XIth century,
the Bishops of Urgell had lived quite worried,
because they could not secure their dominions,
so the bishop entrust the "Caboet"
the defense of Andorra, giving in change properties
and some rights in the Valleys. So, in 1096,
"Guitard Isarn de Caboet" swear
fidelity to the bishop "Bernat Sanç",
in 1110 "Guillem Guitard" did the
same, and in 1159 "Arnau de Caboet".
In 1185, "Arnaua", lady of the "Caboet
family", married "Arnau de Castellbó"
(heir at law of the viscountcy of Castellbó),
and this unite his name to the destiny of
Taking advantage of the antiecclesistical
climate, promoted by the heresy, the troops
of the "Viscountcy of Castellbó"
and those of the "Count of Foix",
steal and destroy the cathedral of Urgell
and many other churches, because "Arnau"
as well as his heiress and only daughter "Ermessenda"
practice "Catarism". Anyhow, during
1201 A.D. the bishop "Bernat de Vilamur"
and "Arnau de Castellbó"
reach an agreement, and the bishop granted
the Viscount and his daughter the "investiture"
of the Valley of Andorra, asking in change
to swear fidelity to him by both. Seven years
later, "Ermessenda" marries "Roger
Bernat II" count of Foix. Now they unite
states and rights of the "Caboet",
"Castellbó" and "Foix".
The matrimonial alliances, enlarge even more
the "House of Foix". In 1257, "Roger
Bernat III", marries "Margarida
de Bearn" and convert himself in one
of the mightiest magnates of Southern France,
as well as from the kingdom of Catalunya-Aragó.
Considering himself that he had no ties and
submission to the bishop, initiates a period
of struggle in some cases serious and bloody.
The situation get worse when "Pere III
el Gran" from Aragó, gives support
to the rights of the bishop, while his brother
"Jaume II" of Mallorca, "Rosselló"
and "Cerdanya", married to "Esclarmonda"
(sister of "Roger Bernat III) protected
his brother in law, the Count of Foix. "Pere
II" of Catalunya forced the count of
Foix and the bishop of Urgell to reach an
agreement, by which the last party gave part
of his rights, and both rested as co-sovereigns
of Andorra. The signature was done at "Lleida"
the 8th of September of 1278 A.D.
This agreement is known as "primer pariatge"
(first co sovereignty) being a very important
deed in the history of the Principate of Andorra.
Several years after, on December the 6th of
1288, both co masters signed a "second
pariatge". The andorran people had the
moment two sovereigns. Thanks to this situation,
that remain through history, Andorra has maintained
its independence if front of powerful nations
on both border-lines.
Both co-princeps, living outside Andorra,
named their councilors every other year alternatively,
receiving the tribute of the "Questia",
given by the andorrans. Andorra, then conforms
as the actual co principate. The andorran
people at that time feed normally of bread,
milk, and some vegetables, as well as cheese
"de llesca" (laminated), used usually
to pay tributes.
In year 1419 A.D., "Andreu d'Alàs"
as a messager of the Valleys of Andorra, got
from the bishop co-prince "Francesc de
Tovia" and the count of Foix, "Joan
I" the permission to create the "Consell
de la Terra" (Earth Council) -origin
of the "General Council"-. At the
same time they granted the right to the people
of Andorra (in this election the only able
to vote were the house-heads of the most important
"houses or families") to elect several
people to represent them in the Council. This
Council may be considered one of the oldest
Parliaments in Europe.
In the year 1469, "Ferran" of Aragó
married "Isabel de Castella", and
in 1479 on the other hand, "Gastó
IV de Foix" viscount of "Castellbó"
and of "Foix", co-prince of Andorra,
marries "Joan d'Albret". The "Albrets"
became the kings of Navarre, dominating as
well "Foix", "Bearn" and
"Bigorre", being at the same time
co-princes of Andorra.
The attempts of annexation of the catalan
lands dependant of the countcy of "Foix"
to the crown catalano-aragonesa, done by Pere
II de Catalunya (and IIIrd of Aragó)
(1280-1283), "Alfons II" (1333-34)
and "Marti the Human" (1396-1400)
did not arrive, having account their temporary
character, to interrupt the continuity of
the peculiar regime of the andorran valley.
4. Modern Age (1.512 A.D.-1.899 A.D.)
5. Twentieth Century
The survival, after the definite union of
those territories to the royal patrimony,
decreed a century later by "Ferran II
of Catalunya Aragó" (1512), results
To say the truth, however "Ferran II
the Catholic" (1512) conquers the southern
part of Navarre and later obtains the viscountcy
of "Castellbó" and the valleys
of Andorra, and although he gave this as donation
next year to his second woman, "Germana
de Foix" as life present converted in
perpetual by "Carles V" (1519 and
1523), the andorran people, continues being
loyal and paying regularly the "Questia"
to the kings of Navarre-counts of "Foix"
as established in the previous "pariatges".
In 1589, "Enric III" king of Navarre
and count of "Foix", became king
of France, with the name of "Enric IV".
This king, educated in the protestantism by
his mother "Joana D'Albert", embraced
the catholicism, in order to reach the French
throne. "Lluís XIII" successor
of "Enric IV" incorporates during
1607 the countcy of "Foix" to the
French Crown, and this fact converted him
in co-prince of Andorra with the bishop of
Urgell, dignity that two centuries later,
once disappeared the monarchy in France, passed
to the following heads of the State.
Fortunately for Andorra, none of its mighty
neighbours, never attempted to make reivindications
that could go further that those established
in the medieval "pariatges".
This let Andorra keep its co-sovereignty,
and obtain as well a "corpus" of
privileges, juridical (citizens of a neutral
country, no military service, no war contributions
or of a foreign country occupation) as well
as commercial (basically, free circulation
of goods between both border-lines and very
The first years of the 18th century, Andorra
maintains neutral during the war of Spanish
Succession, that affected so much Catalunya.
During 1715 the bishop of Urgell, "Simeó
de Guinda" dictates several orders, indicating
the consuls of the Valleys of Andorra not
to obey any order dictated by third parties
others than the king of France or himself
co-princes of the Valleys of Andorra.
Later on, appears in Andorra the most important
person of the "Il.lustració",
"Antoni Fiter i Rossell", attorney
at law, born in Ordino, that compiled "the
uses and costumes" of Andorra in the
"Manual Digest", published during
1748. In this book, he transcripted everything
that was in the andorran archives starting
with the documents of "Charlemagne"
and "Lluís el Piadós".
The original manuscript is kept at the House
of "Ordino", but there are two more
copies: one at the closet of the seven keys
of the House of the "Valls d'Andorra"
(1580), and the other one at the bishopric
of "Seu D'Urgell".
In 1763, clergy "Antoni Puig", born
in "Les Escaldes", writes another
very important book for the history of Andorra,
inspired in that of "Fiter i Rossell",
entitled "Politar Andorrà",
a costumes book describing the privileges
of the Principate and the attributions of
the authorities in other topics. These two
books, well understood that have to be contextualized
at that time, show evidence that Andorra did
not live isolated of the european ideological
currents in the 18th century.
In 1789, the French Revolution places Andorra
between two powerful nations, France and Spain,
confronted permanently. Beheaded "Lluís
XVI" (1-21st-1793) the "pariatge"
was interrupted because the french revolutionaries
considered the acceptance of tributes of the
"Questia", as simple feudal remnants.
So, France decided to renounce to all her
master rights on Andorra not accepting the
payment of the "Questia", this fact
put in a serious risk the neutrality of the
Valleys as well as the privileges attained
from the french kings in the past.
In 1794, during the war with Spain, french
troops penetrate till "Soldeu" in
an attempt to occupate the "Seu D'Urgell".
Representatives from Andorra, went to "Puigcerdà",
where General "Chabret" had his
headquarters, and convinced him to renounce
to the operation. Years later, on Andorran
request, in 1806, "Napoleon Ist"
re-established the positions of "Veguer"
and "French Batlle", the "Questia"
and the custom exemptions given in the past
by king "Lluís XVth".
This definite re-establishment of the "co-sovereignty"
marked a new period in the history of Andorra.
We can say that the Valleys of Andorra get
open to the world. The first european travellers,
get interested by the beauty of landscapes
and their customs. Appear the first books,
as "Relació sobre la Vall d'Andorra"
written by "Fray Tomas Junoy". Even
the music crosses the border-lines: in 1848
the opera of Paris plays Halevy's piece "La
Val d'Andorra", and in 1852 in Madrid
was presented the "sarsuela" "El
Valle de Andorra" from "mestre Gaztambide".
At the same time, the andorran neutrality
was seriously threatened by the Spanish dynastic
conflict, and their associated battles. Frequently,
"liberals" and "Charlists"
look for shelter in the Valleys, as for example
"Dalmau de Baquer" that even wrote
a book entitled "History of the Republic
In the year 1866, "Guillem de Plandolit
i d'Areny" nobleman and rich landowner,
headed the "Nova Reforma", that
was accepted by the bishop "Josep Caixal
i Estradé" in April 14th 1866.
This deep reform of the institutions gives
a more active participation of the people
in the government of Andorra. The "General
Council" is composed by 24 "Consellers",
that will be elected by the "síndics".
Three years later, the co-prince "Napoleon
IIIrd" ratified the reform done.
During the last years of the last century,
the economic difficulties, forced many people
to migrate, at the same time they inaugurated
the first telephone and telegraph lines. At
the end of the 19th century, Andorra, was
an almost unknown and isolated country, that
from time to time was visited by some travellers
that frequently wrote down the accounts of
The institutions, maintain their spirit, and
curiously are respected, as "Civil Justice"
administered by "batlles" appeal judges
and superior courts; "Criminal Justice"
administered by the "Tribunal de Corts";
and the "Administrative-neighbour to neighbour"
by the Court of "Veeduria" and places
as "Sant Julià de Lòria"
are witnesses. In 1899 they constitute the "Road
Administrative Joint" that during 1907
found a definite impulse by the new co-prince,
"Joan Benlloch i Vivó". Starting
in 1914, Andorra, begins to break its traditional
isolation, by the construction of the first
road communicating Andorra and the "Seu
d'Urgell". During 1933, this road is continued
till the "Pas de la Casa", border-line
Meanwhile, in 1914, the "Virgin of Meritxell"
is declared "Patrona de les Valls d'Andorra",
reckoning this way an andorran tradition of
unknown origin, by Pope "Pius X".
The Cardinal "Vidal i Barraquer",
archbishop of Tarragone, altogether with the
bishop co prince "Justí Guitart",
crown the image of the "Mother of God from
Meritxell" on September the 8th (National
Holiday of the Principate) of 1921. We must
emphasize as a highlight the first public interpretation
of the National Anthem of Andorra, during the
above mentioned act. In 1928, the Spanish Government
creates a postal service between Andorra and
Spain, printing stamps on andorran topics. France
will do the same three years later. In 1929,
are installed the first electric plants, because
up to this point every parish made its own electricity
with small electric generators. The new society
"Forces Hidroelèctriques d'Andorra,
S.A. (FHASA)", acquired all the exploitation
rights of the andorran waters. The concession
of this hydroelectric plant attracts workers
from outside the Principate.
The aspiration of the Andorran people to exercise
their universal right to vote (universal suffrage)
not restricted, causes during 1933, a great
political and social tension. On June the 10th,
the "Tribunal de les Corts" removes
the "Council", and the permanent delegates
of the co-princes convoke elections.
The electoral system, was reformed in July 17th,
and from now on every man older than 30 years
would be eligible, voting only men 25 years
As a curious happening we must say that during
1934, a Russian citizen called "Boris Skossyreff"
Count of Orange, propose the "General Council"
to be nominated King of Andorra, stating that
he would accomplish the transformation and modernization
of the country. The bishop of "Seu d'Urgell"
disapproved it, and as an answer he declare
the war, proclaiming himself "Sovereign
Prince", and convoking general elections.
The bishop of "Seu d'Urgell" let a
group of civil guards to enter in the Principate,
under the command of sergeant, arresting the
Russian citizen. He was sent to Barcelona, and
once judged was sent out of Spain. During 1935,
the "General Council" establish the
concession of a radio: "Radio Andorra".
Between 1936 and 1945 (Spanish Civil War and
Second World War) Andorra continues with its
strict neutrality, and gave shelter to the continuous
arrival of political refugees and immigrants.
During 1937 Andorra suffered severe floods.
In 1940, during the second world war, German
troops arrived till "Pas de la Casa",
and Spanish garrison established at "Seu
d'Urgell", but the intervention of the
apostolic nuncio "Monseigneur Antoniutti",
In 1943, was done the last execution of a death
penalty in the Valleys. In 1944, German troops,
without any permission by the bishop of "Seu
d'Urgell", and a group of Spanish Civil
Guards stationed in Andorra, but they did not
have any confrontation until they left in 1945.
The standard of living at the Principate starts
being that of a modern state. Population duplicates
in 12 years arriving to 12.199 in 1964. At this
point begins the commercial and touristic take
off, as a consequence of the increase in the
standard of living. They developed the first
ski resorts to practice winter sports. The ski
is declared national sport. New generations
of andorran people educated in foreign countries
start to appear. In 1968, is created the "Caixa
Andorrana de Seguretat" (CASS), and the
automatic telex and telephone service. In 1967,
the co-prince "Charles de Gaulle"
was received enthusiastically at the Principate.
Three years later, during 1970 the electoral
law is reformed again, and women are allowed
to vote from now on.
Now, men and women older than 21 years are allowed
to vote, being eligible as well. In 1973, the
first encounter of the co-princes since the
13th century S.S.E.E. "Joan Martí
i Alanis" and "George Pompidou".
In 1978, the parish "Escaldes-Engordany"
segregates from "Andorra la Vella",
and became the seventh civil parish of the Principate.
Years after, Andorra enter the "World Tourism
Organization"; separate executive and legislative
powers, and in January the 14th 1982 establishes
the first government of Andorra, with "Mr.
Oscar Ribas" as President. During this
year, Andorra suffered severe floods, that left
uncommunicated the Principate and caused a great
number of dead and injured. During 1984, the
Head of the Government, resigned and in 1989,
the nationalist candidates won the elections.
Between 1990 and 1992, Andorra signed an agreement
with the European Economic Community, approves
the "Penal Code", and the population
census increases a great deal.
The year 1993, Andorra lived a great moment,
approving the "Constitution", and
the entry in the United Nations, and all their
entities. The representative of the Principate,
raises the catalan language to the highest European
institutions, using this language (official
language of Andorra) in his speech at the U.
Nowadays, Andorra, under the government of the
"Molt Honorable Sr. Marc Forné i
Molné", consolidates as a great
touristic and commercial center, as well as
in the practice of winter and mountain sports,
as well as an incomparable place to enjoy some
days with its thermoludic complex "Caldea".