• S. H Steinberg
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


The independence of the valleys of Andorra is of Carolingian origin. Their political status was regulated by the Paréage of 1278, according to which they were placed under the joint suzerainty of the Comte de Foix and of the Bishop of Urgel. The rights vested in the house of Foix passed by marriage to that of Béarn and, on the accession of Henri IV, to the French crown; they are now exorcised by the President of the French Republic. The country consists of gorges, narrow valleys and defiles, surrounded by high mountain peaks of the Eastern Pyrenees. Its maximum length is 17 miles and its width 18 miles; it has an area of 191 square miles and a population of 5,231, scattered in 6 villages. The surface of the country is rough and irregular, with an altitude varying between 6,562 and 10,171 feet. The country is governed by a Council-General of 24 members elected for 4 years; half of the council is re-elected every 2 years. The council nominates a First Syndic (Syndic procureur des Vallées) to preside over its deliberations; in the First Syndic is vested the executive power. A Second Syndic is also nominated as deputy of the First Syndic. The judicial power is exercised in civil matters in the first instance by 2 civil judges (Bayles) appointed by France and by the bishop. There is a judge of appeal appointed alternately by each co-prince, and in the third instance a supreme court of Andorra at Perpignan and an ecclesiastical court of the Bishop at Urgel. For criminal suits 2 magistrates, assisted by the judge of appeal, preside over a criminal court at Andorra-la-Vieille. The valleys of Andorra pay an annual due of 960 francs to France and 460 pesetas to the bishop. The co-princes are both represented in the valleys of Andorra by the ‘Viguier de France’ and the ‘Viguier Episcopal.’ A permanent delegate, the Prefect of the Pyrénées Orientales, controls the public services established by France, such as education, posts and telegraphs. A good road traverses the country, connecting the Spanish and French frontiers by way of Sant Julia, Andorre-la-Vieille, les Escaldes, Encamp, Canillo and Soldeu: it crosses the Col d’Envalira (2,407 metres). Another road connects Andorre-la-Vieille with Ordino. Catalan is the language spoken. French and Spanish currency are both in use.

Books of Reference on Andorra

  1. Brutails, La Coutume en Andorre. Paris.Google Scholar
  2. Corts Peyret (J.), Geografîa e Historia de Andorra. Barcelona, 1945.Google Scholar
  3. Herring (R.), The President’s Hat. London, 1926.Google Scholar
  4. Moreno (L.), Andorra. Madrid, 1931.Google Scholar
  5. Newman (B.), Round about Andorra. London, 1928.Google Scholar
  6. Piesold (W.), Andorra. Berlin, 1937.Google Scholar
  7. Weilenmann (F.), Die Wahrheit über die Pyrenäenrepublik Andorra. Zurich, 1939.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1948

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. H Steinberg

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