For 715 years, from
1278 to 1993, Andorrans lived under a unique co-principality, ruled
by the French chief of state and the Spanish bishop of Urgel. 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, mountainous Andorra
achieved considerable prosperity since World War II through its
tourist industry. Many immigrants (legal and illegal) are attracted
to the thriving economy with its lack of income taxes. . LOCATION:
Southwestern Europe, between France
and Spain LOCATION: Temperate;
snowy, cold winters and warm, dry summers BORDERS:
France 56.6 km, Spain 63.7 km Andorra is administratively divided
into seven districts. The people are made up of Andorrans of Catalan
stock (about 25%), Spanish (over 50%), and French (6%), the remaining
being mostly Portuguese and recent immigrants from other countries.
Catalan is the official language, although Spanish and French are
also spoken. Most of the population is Roman Catholic. Until the
1950s, farming, woodcutting, and smuggling were the main occupations.
Andorra now has a prosperous tourist industry; skiing is particularly
popular. Trade is duty-free and lack of taxation is attractive
to foreign investment. There are three large hydroelectric facilities,
and the country exports electricity to Spain. Sheep are raised,
and Andorra's farms produce tobacco, grains, corn, and grapes.
Furniture is manufactured and distilleries produce brandy and anisette.
Iron and lead are mined.