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Andorra (, also ; Catalan: [?n'dor?]), officially the Principality of Andorra (Catalan: Principat d'Andorra), also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra (Catalan: Principat de les Valls d'Andorra), is a sovereign landlocked microstate on the Iberian Peninsula, in the eastern Pyrenees, bordered by France to the north and Spain to the south. Believed to have been created by Charlemagne, Andorra was ruled by the count of Urgell until 988, when it was transferred to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Urgell. The present principality was formed by a charter in 1278. It is known as a principality as it is a diarchy headed by two princes: the Catholic bishop of Urgell in Catalonia, Spain, and the president of the French Republic.
Andorra is the sixth-smallest nation in Europe, having an area of 468 square kilometres (181 sq mi) and a population of approximately 77,006. The Andorran people are a Romance ethnic group of originally Catalan descent. Andorra is the 16th-smallest country in the world by land and the 11th-smallest by population. Its capital, Andorra la Vella, is the highest capital city in Europe, at an elevation of 1,023 metres (3,356 feet) above sea level. The official language is Catalan, but Spanish, Portuguese, and French are also commonly spoken.
Tourism in Andorra sees an estimated 10.2 million visitors annually. Andorra is not a member of the European Union, but the euro is its official currency. It has been a member of the United Nations since 1993. In 2013, Andorra had the highest life expectancy in the world at 81 years, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study.
Joan-Enric Vives i Sicília, GCC (born 24 July 1949) is the current Bishop of Urgell, a Catholic diocese, and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. He holds the rank of archbishop and monarch.
Vives i Sicília was born in 1949 in Barcelona as the third son of Francesc Vives i Pons and of Cornèlia Sicília Ibáñez, who were small retailers. He entered the Seminary in 1965 and studied Humanities, Philosophy and Theology. In 1974, Vives was ordained a priest in his native parish Santa Maria del Taulat de Barcelona. Father Vives i Sicília was later nominated as Auxiliary Bishop of Barcelona (and Titular Bishop of Nona) in 1993, and consecrated to the episcopacy and automatically became a member of the Spanish Episcopal Conference. Pope John Paul II nominated him as Coadjutor Bishop of Urgell in 2001. After two years, on the retirement of his predecessor Joan Martí Alanis in 2003, he succeeded him as Bishop of Urgell on 12 May 2003, and hence therefore as Co-Prince of Andorra in the Principality of Andorra located in the heights of the Pyrenees Mountains. On 10 July 2003, he carried out the Constitutional Oath as the new Co-Prince of Andorra at "Casa de la Vall", Andorra la Vella. Vives i Sicília was later elevated to the dignity of an Archbishop as a personal title by Pope Benedict XVI in March 2010.
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Did you know?
- ...that Andorra is the only country where Catalan is the sole official language, even though only about 31,000 of the 11,530,160 speakers live there?
- ...that Andorra is the only country in the world to have an elected monarch? (One of the Co-Princes of Andorra is elected as the President of France by the people of that country).
- ...that, although it is not a member of the European Union, Andorra uses the euro?
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