Politar Andorrà

Politar Andorrà might best be explained by its subtitle, which translates from the original Catalan as: From the origins, government and religion, the privileges, uses, pre-eminences, common law, and prerogatives of the Valleys of Andorra. Owing much to the sublime works of the very illustrious Dr. Anton Fiter i Rossell of Ordino, and to the treasures of the archives of the illustrious Council of the Valleys, in the year 1763 by the Reverend Antoni Puig. Antoni Puig was inspired by the Manual Digest de las Valls neutras de Andorra (Manual digest of the neutral valleys of Andorra), better known as the Manual Digest, written by Fiter i Rossell, chief magistrate of episcopal Andorra, in 1748. The earlier work is a compilation containing the transcribed historical records of Andorra, beginning with documents issued by Charlemagne (742‒814) and his son Louis the Pious (778‒840). It also includes the series of moral rules grouped under the name of the “Principles.” These rules are a continuation of Catalan common law, based on Roman and canon law and embodied in the Usatges (or Usages) of Barcelona, the legal code promulgated by Ramon Berenguer I (circa 1023‒1076), the count of Barcelona, in 1064–68. The documents are in Catalan and Latin. In the book considered here, the Reverend Puig summarizes the contents of the Manual Digest, but he also includes additional information and documentation. The two books are highly valued as among the most important records of Andorran history.

The Andorra Question: Statements Raised by the Most Illustrious Consell General of the Valleys of Andorra to His Excellency the Bishop of Urgel and to the Most Holy Father

Under the pariatge, or pariage treaty of 1278, the Principality of Andorra was placed under the joint suzerainty of the Spanish bishop of Urgel and the French count of Foix (whose rights later were transferred to the French crown, later the government of France, and eventually to the president of France). La cuestión de Andorra (The Andorra question) in the title of this book refers to the struggle in the late 19th century over sovereignty between the Consell General (General Council of the Valleys, the elected assembly of Andorra) and the two co-princes of Andorra, Bishop Salvador Casañas i Pagés and the government of France. The popular revolution of 1881, which took place in December 1880‒June 1881, triggered tumultuous confrontations between the two co-princes and between their supporters. On the one hand, the French government grew more interested in the rights it had over Andorra and agreed to help improve communications if Andorra became administratively part of France. On the other hand, the bishopric of Urgel wanted to retain its rights over the co-principality. The majority of Andorrans were against becoming subjects to either one of the co-princes, which would mean, in effect, losing their independence as a nation, and they wanted to participate in the country’s political life. This book is a transcription of the letters sent on October 18, 1894, by the Consell General to the bishop of Urgel Salvador Casañas i Pagés, and to Pope Leo XIII. By publishing the letters, the Consell General sought to make clear to public opinion its official position regarding the confrontation with Bishop Salvador Casañas i Pagés.

Concession for Hydroelectric Power and Road Construction in the Valleys of Andorra

This document, published in Tàrrega, Catalonia, in 1930, is the printed edition of the contract signed in 1929 by the Consell General (General Council of the Valleys), the elected assembly of the Principality of Andorra, and the Forces Hidroelèctriques d'Andorra, Societat Anònima (F.H.A.S.A.—Hydroelectric Power Company of Andorra). At the beginning of the 20th century, many companies expressed interest in the exploitation of hydroelectric power in Andorra. Electricity had been used in the country since the 19th century, but it was still a very scare commodity. In 1929 the Consell General granted a concession to develop and exploit the hydroelectric potential of the principality to Andreu Boussac and Llorenç Gómez, who acted as representatives of a Spanish-French group that formed the F.H.A.S.A. Although the majority of the energy generated was sold to the neighboring countries of Spain and France, Andorra also realized many improvements for itself. The increased availability of electricity and the revenues it produced triggered the modernization of the country, which was characterized by such developments as the construction of roads, increased availability of low-cost energy in homes and businesses, increased hiring of labor (especially independent workers), and the maintenance of the Andorran police.

The Customs of Andorra

Jean-Auguste Brutails (1859‒1926) was a member of the high court of Andorra in Perpignan, France. In this role, he was required by the French government to devote himself to the thorough study of the laws and customs of Andorra. The investigations he carried out and his work as a jurist were the basis for La Coutume d'Andorre (The customs of Andorra), a compilation of traditions and common law published in Paris in 1904. The work is in two parts. The first part is a compilation of public and private documents that Brutails collected in the course of his research. These documents are mainly in French and Catalan and date from the 18th and 19th centuries, but they also include the decree of 1305 in Latin by the count of Foix granting certain privileges to the Andorrans. Based on his reading and analysis of the documentation, Brutails composed the second part of the book, in which he covers the geography, economy, demography, and the historical, administrative, and sociological aspects of Andorra, as well as its customs, civil institutions, and judicial organization and procedures.

The Principality of Andorra and Its Political Constitution

Francisco Pallerola y Gabriel was a jurist from La Seu d'Urgell (also seen as Seo de Urgel), the town in the Spanish Pyrenees that is the seat of the bishop of Urgel, one of the co-princes of Andorra. Pallerola y Gabriel served as an episcopal magistrate in Andorra for more than 30 years. During that time, he collected voluminous amounts of information about the principality, underlining the importance of Andorran public law. El Principado de Andorra y su constitución política (The Principality of Andorra and its political constitution) is a work by Pallerola y Gabriel that distills his knowledge about the principality. The work is in three sections. The first summarizes the history of Andorra, with the aim of contextualizing and clarifying the subsequent sections of the work for the reader. The second section covers Andorran institutions, drawing upon such important works as Antoni Fiter i Rossell’s Manual Digest, published in 1748, and Antoni Puig’s Politar Andorrà, published in 1764. The third and last part is a summary of the history of Andorran private law. The book is indexed and includes illustrations of important places and personages in Andorra and a map of the principality.

Justice in Andorra. Announcement in the Town Square of a Sentencing to Life at Hard Labor

In the 19th century, before the widespread use of photography in newspapers and magazines, the French press used wood engravings to illustrate its publications. This technique, known as woodcut printing, is performed by carving an image out of a piece of wood, generally boxwood, and applying ink to the relief pattern of the piece to engrave the image onto a surface. This engraving was originally published on May 16, 1896, in the Parisian magazine L’Illustration. According to the caption, it shows a sentence of life imprisonment at hard labor being read in a town square in Andorra. The engraving was created from an original photograph that depicted a death sentence being read to Manuel Bacó on February 28, 1886. The sentence was later commuted to hard labor for life. The scene is set in Plaça Guillemó (Guillemo Square) in Andorra La Vella, the capital and main town of the Principality of Andorra. The highlights of the illustration are the vivacity of the faces of the people present in the image as well as of the accuracy with which the facade of Casa Guillemó is depicted. The illustration is by Neapolitan writer and illustrator Gennaro d’Amato (1857‒1947). Among other publications, he worked for well-respected illustrated magazines such as L'Illustration and the British publication the Illustrated London News.

The First Pariatge of Andorra

The document presented here is known as the Primer pariatge de Andorra (First pariage of Andorra) signed by Pere de Urtx, bishop of La Seu d'Urgell (also seen as Seo de Urgel), and Roger Bernat III, count of Foix and viscount of Castellbò, on September 8, 1278. Written in Latin, the document was drawn up by Arnau de Valle-Llebrera, notary public of the city of Lleida, Catalonia, Spain. The agreement settled the respective rights of the two sovereigns over the valleys of Andorra as well as resolved other matters of dispute. The first pariage was inscribed in the period of peace that followed an earlier agreement concluded in Agramunt, Catalonia. King Pedro III of Aragon (also seen as Pere) played a decisive role as a mediator in ending the longstanding feud between the count of Foix and the bishop of Urgel. The most important of their differences, although not the only one, was the dispute over the feudal state of Andorra. The document, divided into 11 articles, four of which refer exclusively to Andorra, begins by making an allusion to the many and varied discussions that preceded the agreement. Of the many pariages agreed upon between the count of Foix and both ecclesiastic and lay lords from both sides of the Pyrenees, the Andorran pariage, approved by both the crown and Pope Nicholas III, is the most complex and the only one to have survived to the present day, albeit with modifications to its original clauses. The longevity of the document was the result, among other factors, of the geographical situation of Andorra, i.e., its location between what became the separate states of France and Spain and their support for the agreement over the years. Also important was the acceptance by the Andorrans of the pariage system established by the conventions of 1278 and 1288 and their strong desire to maintain it, which was constantly manifested during the Middle Ages and is evident to the present day. Even though they were not directly involved in the negotiation of the pariage, the Andorran people nonetheless welcomed the conclusion of what was in effect a peace treaty that put an end to a long period of armed struggle and violence and that gave them the opportunity to become a neutral and independent country with its own institutions.

Manual Digest

Manual Digest de las Valls neutras de Andorra (Manual digest of the neutral valleys of Andorra), also known as simply the Manual Digest, is a handwritten compilation of the history, government, and customs and traditions of Andorra. It covers the history of Andorra back to the early Middle Ages, as well as government, religion, privileges, the customs of the valleys, exemptions, and prerogatives. The work was compiled by Antoni Fiter i Rossell (born 1706), the chief magistrate of episcopal Andorra, at the request and for the use of the Consejo General (General Council of the Valleys), the elected assembly of the Principality of Andorra. Despite the importance of Fiter i Rossell’s writing and the documents he assembled and the recognition still accorded him in judicial and legislative affairs, this book has never been published in full. The compilation contains the transcribed historical records of Andorra, beginning with documents issued by Charlemagne (742‒814) and his son Louis the Pious (778‒840). It also includes the series of moral rules grouped under the name of the “Principles.” These rules are a continuation of Catalan common law, based on Roman and canon law and embodied in the Usatges (or Usages) of Barcelona, the legal code promulgated by Ramon Berenguer I (circa 1023‒1076), the count of Barcelona, in 1064–68. The documents are in Catalan and Latin.

Sheep Shearers at Cremat de Anyós House

This photograph from the early 20th century shows Andorran sheep shearers at work at a house in the village of Anyós in La Massana parish in the Principality of Andorra. The raising of sheep for high-quality wool was for centuries the mainstay of the Andorran economy, where only about two percent of the land was suitable for raising crops. The Andorrans also raise cattle and mules. Anyós is one of the main villages of La Massana, which is one of seven parishes in the principality, on its west side, and abuts the borders with France and Spain. The area is largely rural and includes the tallest mountain in Andorra, Pic de Coma Pedrosa, at 2,943 meters above sea level. Large flocks of sheep and goats from Spain and France often summer in Andorra.

The Birch-bark Book

This book was handwritten in October 1991 on 18 sheets of finely worked birch bark by Afanasii Gerasimovich Murachev, an instructor of the Old Believer schismatic sect. It consists of a collection of previously unknown compositions by Old Believer peasant writers, including Murachev himself. Most of the compositions concern the history of the Enisei (or Yenisey) monasteries. The latter were Old Believer monasteries that in 1937‒1940 secretly relocated from the Ural Mountains to the left bank of the Lower Yenisey River and the Dubches River and its tributaries. In 1951 the monasteries were spotted from the air by the Soviet authorities and subsequently demolished by a punitive detachment. The hermits associated with the monasteries and the peasants who had supported them were arrested, and all the buildings, icons, and books were burned. This birch-bark book primarily contains religious poems on the themes of the destruction of the Enisei monasteries, the trial of the monastery residents, and the subsequent death in prison of the head of the Dubches monasteries, Father Simeon, in 1953. The book is enhanced with a few small instructional compositions in verse by Murachev. Some of the compositions are of a personal nature, while others are addressed to the congregation as a whole. Exhorting his religious flock to a righteous life, Murachev seeks to embrace all aspects of human existence and create a unique code for the God-fearing Christian. The birch-bark book is from the collections of the Institute of History of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (II SO RAN). It was digitized in the early 2000s as part of the Meeting of Frontiers project of the Library of Congress and partner institutions in the Russian Federation, the United States, and Germany.