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Country Facts About Andorra for Kids
Introduction to Andorra
Andorra is a co-principality located in Europe. It shares borders with France and Spain. There was a dispute in the past between France and Spain over who should rule Andorra. They decided to share it.
Principality of Andorra is a parliamentary democracy. People elect members of the parliament. The parliament makes the laws or rules of the country. The heads of state are two princes or co-princes. The co-princes are the president of France and the bishop of Seu d'Urgell, in Spain. The capital city is Andorra la Vella.
Andorrans are a minority in their own country. They make up only 4 out of 10 people in the country. Children in Andorra attend either French, Spanish or Andorran primary (elementary) schools. Most children in Andorra are multilingual, which means they can speak more than one language. About half of Andorran children consider themselves to be Andorran. Many other children in Andorra mainly think of themselves as Spanish or Catalan.
Andorra has a population of about 84 thousand people. The people are called Andorran. Catalan is the official language. French, Castilian and Portuguese are also spoken. Most of the population practice a religion called Roman Catholicism.
Spanish and Andorran are the largest ethnic groups. People of Portuguese and French background make up about 20 percent of the population (1 out of 5 people).
The population of Andorra is mostly urban. About 90 percent of the population (9 out of 10 people) lives in urban areas. Most Andorrans are literate, which means they can read and write.
Way of Life
The nation of Andorra is very small. It covers about 180 square miles. As a comparison, New York City covers about 320 square miles. Andorra used to be a mainly agragrian (farming) country. It has now become a center for tourism and banking. Because it is high in the mountains, it is a popular destination for skiers in winter.
Festivals are popular in Andorra. Most towns hold festivals with singing, dancing and food. Some big festivals are the Escaldes-Engordany International Jazz Festival and the ChamJam Music Festival. ChamJam (pronounced shamjam) is a mix of music and winter sporting events, like skiing and snowboarding.
Many Andorrans learn to ski at an early age. Even though many Andorrans live in valleys, activities in the mountains are a short drive away.
Climate and Topography
Andorra has mild summers and cold winters. The weather is usually dry. Most rainfall occurs in fall (autumn). Snow falls in winter.
Andorra is located in the Pyrenees Mountain range. These mountains separate France and Spain. Pic de Coma Pedrosa is the highest peak. Andorra is a landlocked country. It has no access to a sea or ocean. It is surrounded by France and Spain. Because Andorra is mountainous, Andorra la Vella is the highest capital city in Europe. Forests cover about one third of Andorra’s land area. The Gran Valira River is the longest river. It flows through Andorra la Vella.
Andorra’s economy is built on tourism. About 9 million people visit every year. Skiing is very popular. There is also a manufacturing sector that mainly produces cigars, cigarettes and furniture. Andorra exports furniture.
The nation's natural resources are hydropower (which generates almost half of Andorra’s electricity), timber, iron ore and lead. Hydropower is also called hydroelectric power. Hydropower uses falling water to make electricity.
Only 2% of Andorra’s land is arable, which means suitable for farming. So, most food is imported from other countries. Electricity is imported from Spain.
The Euro is the currency of Andorra and many other countries in the European Union (EU).