Andorra - Country history and economic development

803. Andorra is given independence by the emperor Charlemagne, who names it a "March state," or buffer state created to keep the Muslim Moors of Spain from advancing into Christian France.

1278. Andorra comes under the joint suzerainty of France and Spain through the Catalan bishops of Urgel and of the counts of Foix of France. Throughout the Middle Ages and modern times up to World War II, Andorra remains outside the mainstream of European history, with limited ties to countries other than France and Spain. The economy is limited to small farm agriculture and forestry and is helped by smuggling.

1607. The head of the French state and the bishop of Urgel are established as the co-princes of Andorra.

1950s. International tourism starts to grow with the emergence of post-World War II western European welfare societies, the growing income and leisure time of the Europeans, and the increasing attractiveness of both neighboring France and Spain as two of the world's top tourist destinations. Tourism revenues, foreign investment, and the rapid development of tourist infrastructure profoundly change the way of life in the course of a single generation and attract for the first time in the country's history many immigrants, lured by the opportunities for business and jobs offered by the economic boom.

1970. Women receive the right to vote.

1987. Andorra starts trade talks with the EU.

1993. Andorra adopts its first constitution and is admitted to the United Nations.

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