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Andorra is one of the smallest nations, having an area of 468 square kilometres and a population of approximately 77000.
The Andorran people are a Romance ethnic group of originally Catalan descent.
The capital, Andorra la Vella, is the highest capital city in Europe, at an elevation of 1023 metres. The official language is Catalan, but Spanish, Portuguese, and French are also commonly spoken.
Andorra is not a member of the European Union, but the euro is its official currency.
In 2013, Andorra had the highest life expectancy in the world at 81 years.
In 1933, France occupied Andorra as a result of social unrest before elections. In 1934, an adventurer named Boris Skossyreff issued a proclamation in Urgel, declaring himself Boris I, sovereign prince of Andorra, simultaneously declaring war on the Bishop of Urgell. He was arrested by Spanish authorities and ultimately expelled.
From 1936 to 1940, a French detachment was garrisoned in Andorra to prevent encroachment as a result of the Spanish Civil War and Francoist Spain.
During World War II, Andorra remained neutral and was an important smuggling route from Spain into France. The French Resistance used Andorra as part of their route to get downed airmen out of France.
Andorra was forgotten in the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I. By in 1958, Andorra and Germany declared peace with Germany.
Long an impoverished land with little contact with any nations other than adjoining France and Spain, Andorra, after World War II, achieved considerable prosperity through a developing tourist industry. That development, abetted by improvements in transport and communications, has tended to break down Andorra's isolation and to bring Andorrans into the mainstream of European history. Public demands for democratic reforms led to the extension of the franchise to women in the 1970s and to the creation of new and more fully autonomous organs of government in the early 1980s.
Andorra became a parliamentary democracy in May 1993. The new constitution retained the French and Spanish co-princes but with reduced and narrowly defined powers. Civil rights were greatly expanded, including the legalisation of political parties and the provision for an independent judiciary.
Andorra joined a customs union with the European Communities (now the European Union) in 1991 and was admitted to the United Nations on 28 July 1993. It became a member of the Council of Europe in 1994. The country has been seeking ways to improve its export potential and increase its economic ties with its European neighbours. The financial services sector of the economy is highly important because of Andorra's status as a tax haven and its banking secrecy laws.
By 1928 Spanish postal services opened their 9 offices in the principality and one year later issued the first stamps.
In 1929, at the UPU Congress, the Spanish and French governments were invited to negotiate the postal problem, the General Council of the Valleys wanted to remain neutral between the two protecting powers. On June 30, 1930, an agreement was reached: the first French post offices were opened in the week of June 16, 1931, along the postal workers' route to France, in 7 places: a receipt in the capital and 6 agencies.
From 1936 due to the civil war in Spain and until 1944 due to the Second World War and the German occupation of France, mail leaving Andorra was controlled by the postal censors of the various countries concerned.
Posts in Andorra are probably unique in the world, in that they are not operated by the country itself, but by its two neighbouring countries, Spain and France: Correos of Spain and La Poste of France operate side by side. Both postal administrations have their own postal boxes, and both issue their own postage stamps valid for use from Andorra to abroad.
If the letter is addressed within Andorra, the service was postage free, but the service became more and more slow with the growth in domestic mail. If post is intended for abroad, it must be franked with the postage stamps of the corresponding administration.
From 2009 onwards the stamps are also valid for interior posts.
The French stamps read Andorre (ending with an e), the Spanish Andorra (ending with an a), but most stamps also have the familiar Fench or Spanish look
The stamps are sold by post in Andorran offices, but also in Spain and France by the philatelic services.
stamppages : free online postage stamp catalogue : Principality of Andorra - French Posts (old franc)
|The French posts started with stamps for Andorra on June 16, 1931. The first issues were French stamps overprinted ANDORRE. Postage canceled in one of the postal agencies is extremely rare.|
One year later on 16 June 1932 proper stamps inscribed Vallees d'Andorre were issued.
Even during WWII when the French post office could no longer transport Andorran mail to France after the occupation of the Free Zone by the German army, new stamps with the regular issues were issued.
In 1944 the inscription of the stamps changed to ANDORRE.