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Andorra

french spain country spanish

Andorra (pop. 61,000), tiny European principality (180 sq mi/465 sq km) in the eastern Pyrenees along the border between France and Spain. The Andorrans speak Catalan, French, and Spanish. Andorra uses both the French franc and the Spanish peseta as currency. The country attained autonomous status under Charlemagne, and since 1278 has been a co-principality, under the joint sovereignty of the Bishop of Urgel in Spain and, in modern times, the French chief of state. Andorra's terrain is extremely mountainous, pocketed by gorges and a few fertile valleys; the average altitude of the whole country is above 6,000 ft (1,800 m). The Valira River, flowing into Spain, has a sizable hydroelectric potential, still little exploited. Tobacco is Andorra's main money crop; rye and barley, grapes, potatoes, and sheep and cattle are also important. Other assets include iron and lead deposits, quarries, trout and lake salmon, and extensive pine woods. In recent decades tourism has brought new commercial affluence. The capital is the township of Andorra la Vella (Andorra-la-Vielle).

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