Andorra: Background & Geography

Introduction Andorra
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.
Geography Andorra
Southwestern Europe, between France and Spain
Geographic coordinates:
42 30 N, 1 30 E
Map references:
total: 468 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 468 sq km
Area - comparative:
2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
total: 120.3 km
border countries: France 56.6 km, Spain 63.7 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
none (landlocked)
temperate; snowy, cold winters and warm, dry summers
rugged mountains dissected by narrow valleys
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Riu Runer 840 m
highest point: Coma Pedrosa 2,946 m
Natural resources:
hydropower, mineral water, timber, iron ore, lead
Land use:
arable land: 2.22%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 97.78% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
Environment - current issues:
deforestation; overgrazing of mountain meadows contributes to soil erosion; air pollution; wastewater treatment and solid waste disposal
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Hazardous Wastes
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
landlocked; straddles a number of important crossroads in the Pyrenees

See Also: