As said in Wikipedia, “It remained in a state of belligerency until 1939” as it was not part of the Treaty of Versailles.
I love that. They declared war against the Germans but never fought. Just were belligerent.
I’d like to see how that worked out. Did Andorrans sit about in their pubs and say things like, “Damn Germans,” and spit in their drinks? Did they practice German insults and stand on the border hurling epithets?
I’ve been belligerent in my time, but never for years on end. It could be hard on a person.
See, they don’t have an army to send, really. There’s an honour guard and they have a rule that there must be one person in every family that has to respond to country emergencies; thus each family has a gun. Maybe they use them to shoot squirrels.
Andorra is perched high in the mountains between France and Spain and is governed in an almost incomprehensible way with splits between parliament, out of country leaders and who knows what else. The origin of the country is similarly muddled with royalty messing about in it and all sorts of splitting up shenanigans. At least, I can’t understand it. They have two princes, for example, role unclear: the President of France and the Bishop of Seu D’urgell, Spain. Plus a parliamentary democracy. I’m confused.
But who cares?
It’s a tourist paradise, a tax haven, it’s filled with Alps and snow and probably edelweiss and singing nuns (though they probably sing in Spanish or French). They get 300 days of sun a year! 300! You’d be glad of a bit of shade on those dark dark 65 days of non-sun, wouldn’t you?
They have a charming, if rustic, patron saint – Our Lady of Meritxell (the name comes from some word meaning sunny pasture) – she’s the patron saint because her statue kept running away to sit under an out of season rose. The people were so startled by this they took the appearance to mean they should build a chapel on the site of the rosebush. So they did (no mention of whether they saved the rosebush) and put the statue in the chapel. The chapel burned down in 1972 but they’ve rebuilt it and made a new statue. Tourists flock, etc.
So, confusing government, confusing saint. And they speak Catalan, a language spoken only by a select few. Or French or Spanish. Or all three.
According to the Lonely Planet guide, it’s famous for skiing, shopping, and smuggling. Something about the 2000 shops in the main city. But, apparently, they are also very good at competitive roller skating.
And native Andorrans live longer than almost anywhere else in the world – average length of life is 82 years. So they must be doing something right.
It must be all that pure up high air and the sun. Mind you, you should visit soon. Apparently the tourist based economy is running on development and pretty soon the place will be overrun with condo time shares and people from colder rainy places snorting about their tax-free purchases.