Andorran Money Problems

Here’s a question that came to me on a rainy afternoon: I once heard that the tiny mountain nation of Andorra (between Spain and France) must pay the equivalent of $20 a year to stay independent. Is this true? What if Andorra welches one year? Would the French and Spainish team up and beat up one the little guy?

well, Andorra is not really independent anyway. Its sovereignty was shared by some bishop in Spain and some other suzerain in France. The French part was vested in the president of the Republique Francaise sometime in the past but the Spanish part remains in the bishop (of Seo D’Urgell I believe).

Their organization is still quite feudal and I believe they pay homage to their overlords every year with a few chickens and other stuff of that sort.

As for what would happen if one year they forgot to send the chickens or whatever I do not think it is likely to happen. When you are paying that kind of rent for a whole country I do not think you would forget and risk being evicted.

As I say, I believe they are pretty much stuck in the middle ages in many respects and I think women cannot vote or contradict men there. Hmmm, sounds like a good place for me… unfortunately it is almost impossible to become a resident because it is a tax haven.

Perhaps you were thinking about this?

(From A Concise History of Andorra)

I’m guessing that unless the Bishop of Urgell and the Count of Foix were savvy enough to include a clause adjusting the amount for inflation, it’s probably a pretty trifling sum these days.

As of 1984, Andorra paid 960 francs to France and 460 pesetas to the bishop of Urgel. Technically, the heads of state are the co-princes who are ex officio the President of France and the bishop of Urgel.

Man, talk about rent control!

That’s about $130 to France and about $2.50 to the bishop (at today’s exchange rates). If I were the bishop, I’d see if I could renegotiate…