185139413When high school students study the Principality of Andorra in their geography and history classes, the one thing that seems to stand out is how this sovereign microstate in Southwestern Europe seems to function effectively with so many varied languages and cultures.  For instance, Andorra is bordered by Spain to its south and France to its north; while the official spoken language is Catalan but residents also speak Spanish, French and Portuguese.  Students also think it’s awesome that Andorra was created under a charter way back in 988 A.D., and became the present “Principality of the Valleys of Andorra” in A.D. 1278.

Unique History of Andorra

Another aspect of history that seems to intrigue high school students is linked to the origin of the country’s title “Andorra” because historians say it is “unknown” but probably related to pre-Roman tribes that were located in the “valleys of Andorra.”  Moreover, there are numerous historical references to Charles the Great giving a special charter to the Andorran people back some two thousand years ago in exchange for Andorra’s support when fighting the invading Moors.  In general, today’s Andorra is a peaceful Principality that is run with the help of the President of France and the Bishop of Urgell in Catalonia, Spain.

 

Although varied history reports state that Andorra declared war on Germany during World War I, Andorrans are proud of the fact that “we never took part in the fighting.”  In fact, there are many Andorran websites that link its history to that of Switzerland and other pacifist countries or nation states.  Still, there is the history of how Andorra suffered during both the World Wars and afterwards because its people wanted peace and not war.  In 1958, the Principality was included in the famed Treaty of Versailles with language that stated how Andorrans do not want or believe in war.  The people who visit Andorra today often remark about how “friendly and peaceful” the locals are in a very content sort of living.

Geographic and Cultural Isolation

Because Andorra is both isolated in its geography and culture, there are few people outside of Southwestern Europe that even know that this Principality exists.  For example, the capital, Andorra la Vella, is considered to be the “highest capital city” in all of Europe at an elevation of about 3,300 feet about sea level.  According to the country’s website, more than 90,000 people live in the Principality as of the end of 2014.
Meanwhile, what is also interesting to high school students who discover Andorra in their studies is this highly prosperous country has become a tax haven for people living in other regions of Europe.  The country’s economy is based on its tourism and hospitality industry that attracted more than 12 million visitors in 2014.  The country seems to draw visitors who are keen to learn more about why Andorrans have one of the highest life expectancies in the world.

Overall, the history of Andorra is both fun and interesting to discover for teens wanting to know more about their world, say teachers who encourage all people to explore education topics and lesson ideas online today.