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offtopic:andorra

Andorra

The Principality of Andorra is a small nation in the Pyrenees, bordering Spain to the south and France to the north. It is one of the six (or so) small European countries. Like many of them, Andorra's survival into modern times has been mostly a thing of pleasant coincidence and of isolation from big continental politics. The principality was sparsely populated even in the early 20th century, but has grown since then both in terms of population and wealth. Andorra is a tri-lingual society (Catalan, Spanish and French) and the only independent nation with Catalan as its official language. Today, the small country has roughly 60 000 or so inhabitants and lives mostly off tourism, skiing and winter-related sports centres and duty-free shops in the bigger towns. Andorra la Vella has the highest elevation of any European capital. There is barely any flat land in the entire principality, so Andorra lacks an airport and nobody bothered about railways either.


In AH.com Culture

AH.commers have often stated that Andorra's politicial customs are… rather peculiar and amusing. Many archaic traditions survived long into the 20th century and some of them are (at least symbolically) still a part of the country's official political conduct. For instance, while the country is officially a monarchy of sorts, it essentially functions as a republic. It lacks its own head of state - the function is traditionally shared by the so-called “co-princes”, one being the current bishop of the Diocese of Urgell in modern day Spain, the other being the current count of Foix in France. Naturally, the latter was replaced by the president of France after the dissolution of the French monarchy. While the co-princes have only representative power, it has been customary for the government since the Middle Ages to pay the co-princes a small tribute of four hams, 40 loaves of bread and some wine (!).

The first modern written constitution in Andorra only came into effect in 1993. The first modern elections were held in 1933, but didn't become a regular part of national politics until the 1980s. Until 1993 all effective government tasks were made by village councils elected using medieval-era procedures and there was barely any central government at all. The procedure to obtain Andorran citizenship is insanely long and convoluted. One of the prerequisites is permanent residence within the country for 10 years if you're French, Spanish or Portuguese and 20 years for any other nationality. Oddly, even being born in Andorra doesn't immediately make you its citizen. Because of all these restrictions, only 13 000 Andorrans have actual full citizenship.

Most amusing of all, while Andorra has no standing army, there has been an emergency conscription law for at least a few centuries: Any citizen of the principality who owns a firearm automatically becomes a soldier in times of foreign military aggression. The hypothetical Andorran army is the only one in the entire world where all members are officers.


Andorra in alternate history

As a country, Andorra rarely pops up in timelines, and when it does, it mostly has something to do with the history of Spain or France. More often than not, Andorra gets the shaft and loses independence, being annexed by one of the two aforementioned countries. However, several WWII timelines had featured Andorra heroically resisting a Nazi or Francoist invasion in an (predictably hopeless) guerilla war.

The exception is Jared's Decades of Darkness, where it becomes the namesake of the Andorra Pact, a defensive alliance between Britain, France and Aragon.


AH.commers

None that we know of.


See Also

offtopic/andorra.txt · Last modified: 2019/03/29 15:13 (external edit)