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There is evidence that the area that today constitutes Andorra was inhabited already in Neolithic times. Cave paintings and finds of skeletal parts reveal that these were Stone Age people. Some historians believe that the Andorra Valley’s original residents were akin to the Basques, which today inhabit the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula. The word Andorra must therefore be derived from Basque (euskera). Other pre-Romanesque residents should be mentioned Celtic tribes, people from the southern Iberian Peninsula and a small tribe called themselves “andosinos” who, according to. some historians are ancestors of the current Andorans. They are all mentioned by the Greek historian Polybius in the 1st century BCE. in his accounts of the Punic Wars.
With the fall of the Roman Empire, Andorra was transformed into a bargain for the barbarians who came from the north, and several of these traveling people have left their fingerprints in Andorra. When the Moors arrived in Andorra from northern Spain, the population was predominantly Christian with small pagan pockets in the most remote villages.
It was Karl the Great who in 803 AD. defeated the Moors and expelled them from Andorra, but the name first appears in 843 in an order authored by Karl the Great’s nephew, Karl the 2nd, in which he assigns the Andorra Valley to Sunifredo, Count of Urgell. At the inauguration of the cathedral in La Seu in 860, this congregation in the Pyrenees is mentioned for the first time as belonging to the Earl of the Urgell Valley.
The internal conflicts between the small kingdoms and the constant invasions of the Arabs in the Middle Ages compel the Counties of Urgell to enter into agreements and alliances with the Counties of Caboet to defend the villages of Andorra. Caboet is the area’s strongest county at this time, and the union was ratified in 1159 with the signing of an agreement recognizing the bishop of Urgell’s dominion over Andorra while granting the area the Caboet house. From this point on, the area is jointly managed by the bishop of Urgell (currently located in Spain) and the French head of state.
In 1610, the heir to the Caboet house, Count Enrique de Foixt, was appointed King of France by the name of Henri IV, and the rights of the Principality accrued to the French crown. Several years later, his son, Luis XIII, reintroduced the shared administration of the principality. The French Revolution of 1789 shattered the monarchy, orphaned the small principality, and left it to the Spaniards until Napoleon in 1806, at the request of the Andorranes, reintroduced the shared administration. Since then, all French presidents have also served as co-rulers of Andorra.
Over the years Andorra has changed its structures but retained its independence. In 1866, a New Reform was adopted, creating the General Council (Parliament) in the valley. In 1933, the suffrage was extended to all men over the age of 25. Until then it had been reserved for the family fathers. Only in 1970 did women get the right to vote.
In 1982, the Principality gained its first government with the separation of legislative and executive power. In 1988, the International Human Rights Declaration was ratified and entered into force – after the UN had already adopted the declaration in 1948.
In 1989 elections were held for the first time under the new constitution. Moderate reform-oriented under the leadership of Oscar Ribas Reig won the election and took the seats in the General Council. Reig had already held the government in 1982-84, but resigned as he was unable to implement reforms quickly enough.