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European Kingdoms

Western Europe


Principality of Andorra
Incorporating Heads of State (c.AD 798-2022)

A tiny territory, Andorra is also known as the 'Principality of the Valleys of Andorra'. It is nestled high in the eastern Pyrenees on the modern French-Spanish border, lying between the French départements of Ariège and Pyrénées-Orientales to the north and the Spanish provinces of Gerona and Lérida to the south. Its total boundary stretches to a tad over one hundred kilometres.

Andorra was created by a charter of AD 988, although tradition asserts that Charlemagne, founder of the Carolingian empire, originally granted the Andorran people a charter in return for their help in fighting the Iberian Moors of the Islamic empire in the late eighth century. Tradition also states that Charlemagne's son, Louis I, confirmed the charter. It is generally agreed that Charles 'the Bald', son of Louis and first of the Carolingian kings of the Western Franks, appointed the count of Urgel (or Urgell) as overlord of Andorra, giving him the right to collect the imperial tribute. The bishop of Urgel, however, also claimed Andorra as part of the endowment of his cathedral.

In 1226, the lords of the county of Foix, in modern south-central France, became heirs by marriage to the counts of Urgel. Quarrels between the Spanish bishop and the French counts over rights in Andorra led in 1278 to their adoption of a paéage, a feudal institution which recognised the equal rights of two lords to a seigniorage. The Treaty of Joint Suzerainty between the bishop of Urgel in Spain and France's count of Foix would see them acting as co-princes.

The latter's descendants inherited Navarre in 1479 and then France in 1589. In time they were replaced by France's emperor and restored kings, and later by the presidents of the republic, but each of those heads of state has fulfilled the function of co-prince of Andorra.

The Andorran capital is at Andorra la Vella, in the south-west. Most of the country is rough and mountainous, and there is little level surface. All of the valleys are at least nine hundred metres high, meaning that winters are severe. Geographically it has a varied landscape of oceanic, alpine, continental climates which meant remote conditions combined with limited transportation links to outside countries until the twentieth century.

Andorra was once heavily forested, and one explanation for the name of the country is that it came from the Moorish word aldarra, meaning 'place thick with trees'. An alternative tradition asserts that Charlemagne gave the region its name for its supposed likeness to the Biblical town of Endor. However, the Greek historian Polybius noted that the Iberian tribe, the Andosini (Andosins, as he named them), occupied the valleys here, long before the coming of the Moors or of Charlemagne.

Whilst the state is still managed today both by France and Spain, the predominant spoken language is Catalan, as is the predominant culture. All other regional languages are also spoken within the principality to a lesser degree. The principality is the sixth-smallest nation in Europe, offering perhaps the best winter skiing facilities in the Pyrenees. It has a population (in 2015) of 71,700, while it entered into a customs union with the European Communities (latterly the European Union) in 1991, and was admitted to the United Nations on 28 July 1993.

The baptism of Clovis of the Franks

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopaedia, 1985 Edition (Revised 1993), from La Ciudadela de Barcelona: Cataluña vindicada, Lluís Cutchet (in Spanish), from Los Condes de Barcelona Vindicados, y Cronología y Genealogía de los Reyes de España considerados como Soberianos Independientes de su Marca. Tomo I: abraza los siete primeros, desde el año 874 al 1035, Prosper de Bofarull (in Spanish, 1836, reprinted 1990), and from External Links: Encyclopaedia.com, and Lleida Tourism, and Enciclopèdia Catalana, SAU, and Representació de SE Copríncep Francès (in French and Catalan), and Sarkozy threatens to renounce Andorra title (EUObserver), and La aprobación de la ley del Aborto en Andorra podría llevar a Vives a Barcelona (Periodista Digital, in Spanish), and Élysée.)


Tradition asserts that the Frankish King Charlemagne grants the Andorran people a charter in return for their help in fighting the Iberian Moors of the Islamic empire. Charlemagne is known to conduct a campaign against Islamic Iberia in 778, so this could be the point at which Andorra provides support.

Andorra's mountainous landscape offers a very mixed selection of terrain, from lush valleys to high Pyrenean peaks and the Circ del Pessons shown here, a natural amphitheatre in the area of Grau Roig

Confirmation seems to come around 785 when the county of Urgel is created as a division of the march (border area) of Toulouse following territorial seizures from the Moors by the Franks.

The king's son, Louis I, king of Aquitaine from 781 (and ruler of the Carolingian empire in 814-840), reputedly confirms the charter, and the creation of the Cathedral of Urgel in 839 does show increasing Christian support for this region.

It is generally agreed that Charles 'the Bald' (840-877), son of Louis and first of the Carolingian kings of the Western Franks, appoints the count of Urgel as overlord of Andorra, giving him the right to collect the imperial tribute. A Visigothic noble by the name of Borrell is the first count of Urgel, Cerdanya, and Osona (the latter from 799).

c.798 - 820


Appointed by Charles 'the Bald' of the Western Franks.

799 - 801

Having been appointed count of the newly captured territories of Urgel and Cerdanya, Borrell is an important part of the conquest of Osona in 799 and Barcelona in 801. The latter victory follows a siege of the city.

He is awarded the county of Osona, possibly in thanks for his contribution towards the reconquest of occupied Iberia and the extension of Aquitaine's Marca Hispania, or Spanish March (a march being a Germanic word for borderlands).


Following Borrell's death, Osona is granted to Rampon, count of Barcelona, while Urgel and Cerdanya pass to the Basque noble, Aznar I Galíndez of Aragon, following his overthrow and exile from that county.

Barcino - Roman Barcelona
Founded as the Roman colony of Barcino, between 15-10 BC by Emperor Augustus, the city of Barcelona became central to the medieval county of Barcelona and resistance against the Islamic invasion of Iberia

820 - 824

Aznar I Galíndez

Count of Aragon. Exiled and succeeded Borrell. Died 839.

824 - 834

Galindo I Aznárez

Son. Dispossessed. Reclaimed Aragon in 844. Died 867.

834 - 838

Sunifred, son-in-law of Belló, count of Carcassonne, is granted Urgel and Cerdanya by Louis 'the Pious', who has progressed from his early role as king of Aquitaine to ruling the Frankish empire. Sunifred conquers Cerdanya in 835 and Urgel in 838 so that Galindo is dispossessed of his holdings. Even so, he soon goes on to reclaim Aragon for himself.

834 - 848

Sunifred I

Count of Barcelona (844), Girona-Osona, & Urgel-Cerdanya.

840 - 843

Before his death, Louis 'the Pious' of the Franks proclaims that his eldest son, Lothar, will be sole beneficiary of the imperial dignity and sole inheritor of the empire. The new idea provokes rebellions and rivalries between all four of Louis' sons which last until after the king's death. (One of the sons, Pepin I of Aquitaine, has already predeceased his father.)

Lothar initially claims overlordship over all three regions and Louis and Charles have to go to war to convince him to relent. The counties of the Spanish March all take sides during this period. The powerful Bernard of Septimania, count of Barcelona (along with a large number of other marches and counties, including Agde, Béziers, Girona, Melgueil, Narbonne, Nîmes, Septimania, and Toulouse, capital of Aquitaine) sides with Pepin II of Aquitaine.

Map of the Frankish empire at the Treaty of Verdun AD 843
King Louis 'the Pious' of the Frankish empire attempted to leave the empire intact for his eldest son, Lothar, but the others rebelled at the idea. The treaty of Verdun in AD 843 confirmed the official division of the empire between Charlemagne's three surviving grandsons (click or tap on map to view full sized)

Opposing them in favour of Charles are Sunifred, count of Urgel (and Andorra) and Cerdanya, his brother Sunyer I, count of Empúries, their sons (who collectively are sometimes referred to as the Bellonid dynasty or the Bellonids), Ricwin, count of Nantes (killed in battle in 841), and Lambert II, also later count of Nantes.

Lothar does relent in 843, and the Treaty of Verdun confirms the official division of the empire between Charlemagne's surviving three grandsons, with rule over the empire as a whole being nominal.

841 - 844

Taking advantage of the chaos in the Frankish empire, the Umayyads invade Barcelona and penetrate Cerdanya as they attack Narbonne. Sunifred, count of Urgel and Cerdanya, stops the invasion dead in its tracks. When, in 844, Charles 'the Bald' captures Toulouse and Aquitaine from Pepin II, he has Bernard of Septimania executed and grants Barcelona and Girona - and also the march territory of Gothia - to Sunifred.


William of Septimania, son of the executed Bernard, had risen against Charles 'the Bald' in 844, but has largely been unable to reclaim his father's lands until now. William is granted Toulouse and Empúries by Pepin II the rival king of Aquitaine, and he quickly removes both brothers, Sunifred in Barcelona and Sunyer in Empúries, although the former is known to die of natural causes.

Saint-Etienne Cathedral, Limoges
Limoges remained the capital of the duchy of Aquitaine, and the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saint-Etienne remained the city's religious seat

848 - 870


Appointed count of Urgel-Cerdanya. Died between 868-870.

870 - 897

Wilfred the Hairy

Son of Sunifred. Count of Barcelona and others.

898 - 948

Sunifred II


948 - 966

Miró de Barcelona

Co-ruler of Barcelona with Borrell II.


The Catalan House of Caboet occupies the Cabó and Saint John valleys (along modern Andorra's border), with their power originating in the former. They emerge into history around this time as loyal subjects of the bishops of Urgel. The bishopric itself has existed since the death of St Just d'Urgel around 546, under the jurisdiction of Tarragona.

966 - 992

Borrell II

Count of Barcelona, Girona, & Osona.


Borrell II, count of Barcelona, Girona, Ausona (from 940), and Urgel (from 948), grants the Andorran valleys to the diocese of Urgel in exchange for land in Cerdanya.

fl c.1010

Isarn Caboet

Lady of Caboet.

? - 1095

Guitard Caboet

Son. Lord of Caboet. Gained co-control of Andorra (1095)?


The bishop of Urgel is aware that the current count of Urgel desires the return of Andorra to his control, so support and protection are requested of the lord of Caboet. The bishop and the lord sign and seal a declaration of their co-sovereignty over Andorra (it is unclear whether this lord is Guitard or his successor, Guillem Guitard).

Cathedral of Santa Maria d'Urgel
The bishopric of Urgel gained a diocesan seat in 1116, in the form of the Cathedral of Santa Maria d'Urgel, in Seu d'Urgel, although the diocese itself existed at least as early as the sixth century AD

1095 - ?

Guillem Guitard Caboet

Son. Lord of Caboet. Gained or inherited Andorra.


Miró Guitard Caboet

Son. Lord of Caboet.

1114 - 1150

Peter I

Viscount of Alt Urgel. Gained Cerdanya (1126). Viscount (1127).

1126 - 1127

Peter I, viscount of Urgel is the first to assume the title viscount of Castellbò, following his marriage to Sybil, heir to the viscounty of Cerdanya. He and his successors are shown here in green to avoid confusion with the House of Caboet.


Ramon Caboet

Son of Miró. Lord of Caboet.

? - 1170

Arnau Caboet

Son. Lord of Caboet. Died without male issue.

1150 - 1185

Ramon II Castellbò

Son of Peter I. Viscount of Castellbò (Alt Urgell & Cerdanya).


The oath of 1095 between the Caboet and the bishopric of Urgel is now confirmed by a treaty between Viscount Arnau and Bernat Sanç (Sancho), bishop of Urgel. This treaty also stipulates that although the House of Caboet still exercises co-sovereignty, it is not able to exercise rights over politicians, the military, or judicial matters.


The widowed Arnalda, daughter of Arnau of Caboet, has remained under the protection of the bishop of Urgel following the death of her father and her first husband, Bertran de Tarascon. Now she marries the future Viscount Arnau of Castellbò ('the castle, stronghold'), joining together that title with Cerdanya and making the viscount's descendants the successors of the House of Caboet. Arnalda dies in 1201 or 1203.

Cathedral of Santa Maria d'Urgel
The great temple which is located at the foot of the tower which forms part of the ancient castle of Castellbò is of an uncertain age, supposedly with Roman origins

1185 - 1226

Arnau Castellbò

Son. Viscount of Castellbò. Married Arnalda Caboet.


Concerned that the viscounts of Castellbò may be tempted to exercise too much power in Andorra, the bishop of Urgel ensures that Arnau Castellbò is not recognised by the Andorrans as their lord without his consent.


The daughter of Arnalda and her husband, the viscount of Castellbò, is Ermessenda. She now marries Roger Bernat II, the count of Foix in south-central France. They become Roger Bernat II and Ermessenda I, counts of Foix, viscounts of Castellbò and Cerdanya, and co-sovereigns of Andorra (still shared with the bishop of Urgel).

1226 - 1230

Ermessenda Castellbò

Daughter. Viscountess of Castellbò. Married Roger Bernat II.

1230 - 1240

Roger Bernat I (II of Foix)

Husband. Count of Foix. Administered Andorra from 1230.

1240 - 1265

Roger (IV of Foix)

Administered Andorra from 1240.

1265 - 1278

Roger Bernat II (III of Foix)



Quarrels between the Spanish bishop of Urgel and the French counts over rights in Andorra leads now to their adoption of a paéage, a feudal institution which recognises the equal rights of two lords to a seigniorage.

The Treaty of Joint Suzerainty between the bishop of Urgel and the count of Foix will see them acting as co-princes. The numbering for the counts of Foix now ignores Castellbò's numbering, while the naming assumes a more Anglicised format thanks to the records being used to source the information.

Map of Paris
A medieval map of the city of Paris in the tenth century AD, under the rule of Hugh Capet. By this time Paris had declined from its two periods of greatness under the Romans and the Merovingians, but the map clearly shows the importance of the island at the city's heart

Bishops of Urgel

Counts of Foix


1278 - 1293

Pedro d'Urg / d'Urtx

Bishop of Urgel since 1269.

1278 - 1302

Roger Bernard III

Count of Foix and viscount of Castellbò. Killed.

1290 - 1302

The wife of Roger Bernard inherits the viscounty of Bearn. In 1295 he is appointed governor of Gascony and his first act is to return the two castles which he had earlier seized. He is mortally wounded in 1302 fighting the Catalans, and dies in Tarascon (Tarascó). His body is placed in the Cistercian Abbey of Bolbona.

1295 - 1308

Guillem de Montcada

Bishop of Urgel.

1302 - 1315

Gaston I

Son of Roger. Count of Foix and viscount of Castellbò.

1309 - 1326

Ramón Trebaylla

Bishop of Urgel.


Gaston II of Foix and IX of Bearn inherits these titles from his father in 1308, but the viscounty of Castellbò passes to his brother, Roger Bernat (Bernard). During his lifetime he gains other titles in the form of viscount of Lautrec, Marsan, and Gabardà, lord of Andorra (in 1315), and also Donasà.

County of Foix
The county of Foix was situated in south-eastern France, touching the Pyrenees at its lowest point and providing a western neighbour to the important regional centre of Narbonne

1315 - 1343

Gaston II

Son of Gaston. Count of Foix. Died 1343, buried Bolbona Abbey.

1326 - 1341

Arnau de Llordà

Bishop of Urgel.

1341 - 1347

Pere de Narbona

Bishop of Urgel.

1343 - 1391

Gaston III Phoebus

Son of Gaston. Count of Foix. Failed to produce male heir.

1348 - 1351

Niccolo Capocci

Bishop of Urgel.

1351 - 1361

Hug Desbac

Bishop of Urgel.

1362 - 1364

Guillem Arnau de Patau

Bishop of Urgel.

1365 - 1370

Pero de Luna

Bishop of Urgel.

1371 - 1388

Berenguer D'Erill

Bishop of Urgel.

1388 - 1415

Galceran de Vilanova

Bishop of Urgel.


With Gaston's failure to produce a recognisable heir for the county of Foix, the title passes to his cousin Matthew. As viscount of Castellbò since 1381, Matthew is able to reunify the two titles.

1391 - 1396


Cousin of Gaston. Count of Foix. Viscount of Castellbò.


Matthew invades Catalonia to further his claim to its throne upon the death of John I of Aragon. He is forced to abandon his attempt in the face of Martin the Humane's stronger claim which also appears to threaten his own position in terms of Andorra. Martin seizes Castellvi Rosanes and Moncada from Matthew.

Christians versus Moors
The Christian conquest of Iberia was a drawn-out process which covered several centuries of combat and slow Christian advance, but in its later days it frequently spilled over into North African kingdoms which were supporting the 'Moors' in southern Iberia

1396 - 1398


Restored. Died without producing an heir.


Upon Matthew's death without his having produced a legitimate make heir, his estate and titles pass to Isabel (Isabella) or Elizabeth Castellbó, who is usually referred to as Isabel de Foix. She has already (in 1381) married Arquimbald de Grailly, lord of Grailly, but it takes the French king four years to recognise his role as count of Foix because he is allied to the English.

Bishops of Urgel

Lords of Grailly


1398 - 1413


Sister. Countess of Foix, and viscountess of Castellbò.

1398 - 1413

Archibald / Arquimbald

Husband and joint prince of Andorra with Isabella.

1408 - 1409

William III of Narbonne lands on Sardinia on 8 December 1408 to be crowned king, but Martin the Humane's son, Martin the Younger, has already landed a force of his own from Sicily (on 6 October), with a subsidiary force of men under the command of John, son of Arquimbald and Isabella.

The two meet at the Battle of Sanluri in 1409 and the battle is a disaster for William. He is forced to flee to France for assistance, but Martin of Sicily dies of malaria a few days after the battle.

1413 - 1426

With the death of Arquimbald, Isabella hands everyday administrative duties to their son, John. The countess remains nominally in overall authority until her own death in 1426.

In 1415, Henry V of England wins a surprise victory at the Battle of Agincourt. One of the relatively small number of commanders to survive on the French side is John I, count of Foix.

Battle of Agincourt
The overwhelming victory for the forces of Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt destroyed the flower of French chivalry and gave all of France to a Plantagenet king

Five years later, Charles VI cedes France to Henry V in the Treaty of Troyes. The king's son, Charles VII, apparently dispossessed, refuses to heed his father's commands and sets up a rival claim to the throne, accompanied by John of Foix.

1413 - 1436

John I

Son. Prince John of Foix, count of Foix, viscount of Bearn.

1416 - 1436

Francesc de Tovia

Bishop of Urgel.

1422 - 1429

France is rightfully ruled by the English king, Henry VI, through his regent who is based in Normandy and Paris. Charles VII is little more than a rebel until he is crowned king of France in 1429 following his first meeting with Joan of Arc and the near-miraculous liberation of Orleans from an English siege. Charles' illegal claim suddenly becomes a serious one, and his kingship more and more real as the tide turns in favour of the French.


The Hundred Years War is over, with Charles VIII now king of France by right of conquest, if not by any other legal right. Aquitaine is returned to the king to rule directly as part of a newly united France. It also remains the direct possession of his successors.

1436 - 1472

Gaston IV

Son of John. Count of Foix. m Eleanore, infanta of Aragon.

1437 - 1461

Arnau Roger de Pallars

Bishop of Urgel.

1462 - 1466

Jaume de Cardona

Bishop of Urgel.

1467 - 1472

Roderic de Borja

Pope Alexander VI in 1492.

1471 - 1472

Louis XI of France refuses to recognise the rights of the Foix in Navarre, and Gaston teams up with his new son-in-law, Francis II of Brittany (who has just married Princess Margarita of Foix in the same year), and also Charles the Bold of Burgundy, and revolts.

Joan of Arc, Maid of Orleans
Joan of Arc began her fight against the English 'occupiers' of France as a freedom fighter who inspired others to follow her, but she ended as a pawn in political powerplays

However, he quickly dissolves the alliance and flees to Navarre where he heads the supporters of his wife, Eleanore. He dies at Roncesvalles in 1472.

1472 - 1515

Pere de Cardona

Bishop of Urgel.

1472 - 1483

Francis Phoebus

Grandson. Count of Foix. King of Navarre. Poisoned?


Eleanore is the daughter of Blanca and John II, king of Aragon. Married to Gaston IV, count of Foix and co-prince of Andorra, she is already a widow by now (with Gaston dying in 1472). Instead, their grandson, Francis Phoebus, succeeds as king of Navarre, and has already served as the count of Foix and co-prince of Andorra since 1472. (His father, Gaston of Foix, son of Gaston IV, had predeceased his father in 1470.)

1483 - 1512


Sister. Countess of Foix. Queen. m John III of Navarre.


Germaine of Foix marries Ferdinand II, king of Aragon, Navarre and Sicily, and soon to be the regent of Castile, thereby bringing the lordship of Andorra under Spanish rule.

1512 - 1513

Most of the kingdom of Navarre is seized by Aragon and then Castile under Ferdinand of Navarre and then his son, Charles I of a united Spain. Pamplona is occupied, Upper Navarre is annexed, and the title of viscount of Castellbò is confiscated.

For a brief period they also hold authority over Andorra. The remainder of Navarre - now termed French Navarre - is still held by Catherine and John II, as are the counties of Foix and Bigorra, and the viscounties of Bearn and Marsan.

Navarre funerary belt clasp
The Vascones port city of Oiasso (today's Irún) have revealed a surprising selection of grave goods from the period between the ending of Roman controls and the beginnings of the Basque kingdom of Navarre in the eighth century AD

Bishops of Urgel



1512 - 1517


Reduced to French Navarre. Countess of Foix.

1512 - 1516

John II

Husband, and co-ruler of French Navarre.

1515 - 1530

Joan D'espés

Bishop of Urgel.


On taking over the kingdoms of Castile, Navarre, and Aragon under the banner of a united Spain, Charles I of Habsburg grants the lordship of Les Valls ('The Valleys'), as it is currently known, in perpetuity to Germaine of Foix's line.

1516 - 1555

Henry II

Son of John. Co-ruler in French Navarre after father's death.

1532 - 1533

Pere Jordan de Urries

Bishop of Urgel.

1534 - 1551

Francesc de Urries

Bishop of Urgel.

1552 - 1556

Miquel Despuig

Bishop of Urgel.

1555 - 1572

Jeanne III d'Albret

Daughter of Henry. Queen of Fr Navarre. Countess of Foix.

Bishops of Urgel

House of Capet-Bourbon


1555 - 1562

Anthony / Antoine

Husband and co-ruler with Jeanne III. Duc de Vendome.

1556 - 1560

Joan Pérez García de Olivan

Bishop of Urgel.

1561 - 1571

Pere de Castellet

Bishop of Urgel.

1560 - 1562

A massacre of Protestants by Catholics near Paris in 1562 ignites the first of eight French Wars of Religion. Jeanne d'Albret and Anthony have already introduced reforms in French Navarre and Bearn in line with Jeanne's Calvinist beliefs.

Sack of Rome in 1527
In the struggle for political domination in Europe the pope sided with France, with the result that the Habsburg army sacked Rome in 1527, as painted by Johannes Lingelbach

Anthony's own brother, Louis I Bourbon, prince of Condé, had already been arrested and sentenced to death (in 1560) for supporting the Protestant cause. As the conflict begins, Anthony is in Rouen, where he is harried and where he dies on 10 November 1562.

1562 - 1610

Henry III

Son of Anthony. Duke of Bourbon. King of France (1589).

1568 - 1571

The French king, Charles IX, orders the confiscation of the lands of his Protestant opponents. The Catholics of Bearn, part of the holdings of Jeanne III, led by Terride, rebel and take power as royal troops do elsewhere.

The peace of Longjumeau of 23 March 1568, ends the Second French War of Religion but almost immediately the Third French War of Religion begins in September 1568. The Battle of Jarnac on 12 March 1569 kills the prince of Condé, the Protestant leader, and Henry of Navarre is appointed the new political leader while military leadership is in the hands of Gaspard de Coligny.

French Navarre
The poor lands of French Navarre were filled with small farms abutting the jagged hills of the Pyrenees, with most of the working population having Basque ancestry - linking them directly to the earliest hunter-gatherer settlers in Europe

In August 1569, Jeanne III regains her estates with the arrival of the forces of Duke Francis de Montmorency. On 8 August of 1570 the Peace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye is signed. In 1571 the status of Calvinism is formalised in Bearn and Navarre as the state religion, and shortly afterwards Jeanne negotiates a union between her son, Henry of Navarre, with Marguerite de Valois, sister of Charles IX of France, although she does not live to see the union effected.

1572 - 1576

Joan Dimes Lloris

Bishop of Urgel.

1577 - 1579

Miquel Jeroni Morell

Bishop of Urgel.

1580 - 1586

Hug Ambròs de Montcada

Bishop of Urgel.

1587 - 1609

Andreu Capella

Bishop of Urgel.


Henry III, king of France, recognises as his successor the Protestant Henry III, duc de Bourbon, king of French Navarre, and co-prince of Andorra. The League of Cambrai and the duc de Guise are far from happy about this, but Henry has the duke of Guise assassinated at Blois. King Henry himself is stabbed to death on 2 August 1589 by the Dominican Jacques Clément. Henry of Navarre succeeds him as King Henry IV of (Bourbon) France.

1589 - 1596

The League of Cambrai refuses to recognise Henry IV as king of France so he has to conquer his way to power. His conversion to Catholicism at Saint-Denis (1589) followed by his coronation at Chatres (1594), opens Paris to him. His reconquest continues with the Edict of Nantes (1594) and the taking of Amiens (1596), which ends the civil wars.

Henry IV enters Paris
The entrance of Henry IV into Paris in 1594 as depicted in oils and which marked the victory of the Bourbons of French Navarre in their efforts to claim the throne


By edict, Henry III of France, French Navarre, and Foix, establishes the head of the French state, along with the bishop of Urgel, as co-princes of Andorra.

1610 - 1620

Bernat de Salvà

Bishop of Urgel.

1610 - 1643

Louis XIII

Son of Henry III. King of France (1610-1643).

1610 - 1617

Louis XIII, aged just nine when he ascends the French throne, is at first excluded from power by his powerful mother who acts as regent. Her co-regent, Concini, is assassinated on Louis' orders in 1617.

Further afield during this century, French piracy in the Caribbean, mainly targeted at wealthy Spanish ships and the colony of Hispaniola, becomes firmly established.

1621 - 1627

Lluis Diez Aux de Armendáriz

Bishop of Urgel.

1627 - 1633

Antoni Pérez

Bishop of Urgel.

1634 - 1651

Pau Duran

Bishop of Urgel.

1643 - 1715

Louis XIV

Son of Louis XIII. King of France (1643-1715).

1643 - 1661

With Louis' agreement, Cardinal Mazarin (along with the king's mother) governs France until Mazarin's death in 1661, by which time the king is twenty-three. During his reign, Louis establishes an absolute monarchy, but is almost constantly at war internally, owing to the revolts of a people overburdened by taxation and opposition from princes of the blood, disappointed from being progressively excluded from power.

The Palace of Versailles
The Marble Court at the heart of the Palace of Versailles was formed out of the earlier pavilion, part of the original lodge of 1624 (click or tap on image to read more)

FeatureThis process is accelerated when the king removes his court to the newly-built Palace of Versailles, just outside Paris, where he is able to control the court and small council of the few faithful (see feature link).

1655 - 1663

Joan Manuel Espinosa

Bishop of Urgel.

1664 - 1670

Melcior Palau

Bishop of Urgel.

1671 - 1681

Pere de Copons

Bishop of Urgel.

1682 - 1688

Joan Baptista Desbac

Bishop of Urgel.

1689 - 1694

Oleguer de Montserrat

Bishop of Urgel.

1695 - 1714

Julián Cano y Tovar

Bishop of Urgel.

1702 - 1715

Portugal initially supports France during the War of Spanish Succession, but Britain alters the situation with the signing of the Methuen Treaty with Portugal on 16 May 1703. In December 1703 a military alliance between Austria, Britain, and Portugal sees them invade Spain.

The allied forces capture Madrid in 1706, although the campaign ends in a defeat at the Battle of Almansa. The conclusion of the war in 1715 ensures that the Bourbon crowns of Spain and France can never be united under a single ruler.

1714 - 1737

Simeón de Guinda y Apéztegui

Bishop of Urgel.

1715 - 1774

Louis XV

Great-grandson of Louis XIV. King of France (1715-1774).

1738 - 1747

Jorge Curado y Torreblanca

Bishop of Urgel.

1740 - 1748

The War of the Austrian Succession is a wide-ranging conflict which encompasses the North American King George's War, two Silesian Wars, the War of Jenkins' Ear, and involves most of the crowned heads of Europe in deciding the question of whether Maria Theresa can succeed as archduke of Austria and, perhaps even more importantly, as Holy Roman emperor.

War of the Austrian Succession
The War of the Austrian Succession saw Europe go to war to decide whether Maria Theresa would secure the throne left to her by her father, but several other issues were also decided as a wide range of wars were involved in the overall conflict

Austria is supported by Britain, the Netherlands, the Savoyard kingdom of Sardinia, and Saxony (after an early switchover), but opposed by an opportunistic Prussia and France, who had raised the question in the first place to disrupt Habsburg control of Central Europe, backed up by Bavaria and Sweden (briefly). Spain joins the war in an unsuccessful attempt to restore possessions which had been lost to Austria in 1715.

1747 - 1756

Sebastián de Victoria de Emparán

Bishop of Urgel.

1757 - 1762

Francisco José Catalán de Ocón

Bishop of Urgel.

1763 - 1771

Francisco Fernández de Xátiva

Bishop of Urgel.

1772 - 1779

Joaquín de Santiyán y Valdivieso

Bishop of Urgel.

1774 - 1792

Louis XVI

Grandson of Louis XV. King of France (1774-1792).

1780 - 1783

Juan García Montenegro

Bishop of Urgel.

1785 - 1795

José de Boltas

Bishop of Urgel.

1789 - 1792

Louis XVI is unable to impose the reforms he wants in France and fails to support his more competent ministers. An economic crisis aggravated by the American War of Independence leads the government to convene the states general on 5 May 1789. Ill-advised and influenced by the queen, Louis leads the monarchy to its fall.

British forces surrender at Saratoga
The Second Battle of Saratoga on 7 October in the American War of Independence saw the mixed British forces of about five thousand British, Brunswickers, Canadians, and Indians surrender to around 14,000 American militia and regular troops

The French Revolution begins on 14 July with the storming of the Bastille prison during a popular uprising in Paris. On 10 August 1792 the Tuileries is taken by the Paris mob, signalling the end of the Ancien Régime. The king is deposed and imprisoned in the Temple with his family, and is condemned to death by a narrow majority.

1792 - 1795

Louis XVII

Son of Louis XVI. Uncrowned king of France.

1793 - 1794

The ex-king, Louis XVI, is executed by guillotine on 21 January, while his brother (the future Louis XVIII) has already fled the country. On 6 April, the Committee of Public Safety is created in Paris, headed by Maximilien Robespierre, and so begins 'The Terror'.

In the same year, the French revolutionary government refuses the traditional Andorran tribute because it smacks of feudalism. French suzerainty is renounced, despite the wish of the Andorrans to enjoy French protection and avoid being exclusively under Spanish influence.

1795 - 1806


Position refused by the French Directory.

1797 - 1816

Francisco Antonio de la Dueña y Cisneros

Bishop of Urgel.

1798 - 1799

Following Napoleon's failed expedition to Egypt, the French Directory is swept away by a coup on '18 Brumaire', 9 November. Although several members of the failing directory support the coup, one of its main instigators is Napoleon himself. He becomes the head of the new government as 'First Consul'.

Napoleon at the Battle of Rivoli
Napoleon commands at the Battle of Rivoli, 14-15 January 1797, the first French campaign in Italy against Austria, and the start of Bonaparte's highly successful command of the French forces in Italy

1804 - 1806

Napoleon Bonaparte gravitates France towards the creation of the First Empire, convinced that creating a new French monarchy and embedding it in the constitution will make a Bourbon restoration much harder. In 1806, he restores the co-principality after the Andorrans have petitioned him to do so. French title to the principality subsequently passes from the emperor and then kings to the presidents of France.

Bishops of Urgel

House of Bonaparte


1806 - 1814

Napoleon I Bonaparte

Emperor of France (1804-1814).

1814 - 1806

Napoleon is defeated and abdicates the thrones of France and Italy. The Bourbon monarchy is restored under Louis XVIII, and the czar of Russia, less antagonistic towards the former emperor than other European monarchs, helps in the choice of the Mediterranean island of Elba as a small kingdom to which Napoleon can retire.

Bishops of Urgel

House of Capet-Bourbon


1814 - 1815


Brother of Louis XVI. King of France (1814-1815).

1814 - 1815

Payments to Napoleon from France towards his upkeep, as promised by the victorious allies, never arrive because Louis XVIII blocks them. Eventually, in 1815, Napoleon abandons his exile for the Hundred Days rule, and Louis XVIII flees to Belgium.

French defend against Prussians. Leipzig 1813
French grenadiers of the line defend against an attack by Prussian infantry in the three-day Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, dubbed the 'Battle of the Nations' due to the number of states involved, in this 1914 painting by Richard Knötel

Bishops of Urgel

House of Bonaparte



Napoleon I Bonaparte

Restored as emperor of France (1815).


FeatureEurope mobilises against France and the duke of Wellington's Anglo-Dutch-German army defeats Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June in conjunction with the Prussian army, ending twenty-five years of war in Europe. The French monarchy is restored.

Bishops of Urgel

House of Capet-Bourbon


1815 - 1824


Restored king of France (1815-1824).

1817 - 1824

Bernardo Francés y Caballero

Bishop of Urgel.

1820 - 1823

King Ferdinand VII of Spain is detained by rebels after refusing to adopt the new and liberal Spanish Constitution of 1812. It takes until 1822 for European states to react and in 1823, under general agreement by those states, French forces invade Spain to restore Ferdinand, supported by Charles Albert, the future Savoyard king of Sardinia.

The Battle of Trocadero sees the French attack a fort from the seaward side to secure access to Cadiz itself, which falls after a three week siege. Ferdinand is freed to take his revenge, executing around thirty thousand people.

Count Camillo Benso di Cavour
Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, Sardinia's new, liberal minister from 1852, was a leading figure in the move towards Italian unification, an aim which was achieved in 1861 after two years of war against Austria

1824 - 1827

Bonifacio López y Pulido

Bishop of Urgel.

1824 - 1830

Charles X

Brother of Louis XVIII. King of France. Deposed. Died 1836.

1827 - 1851

Simón de Guardiola y Hortoneda

Bishop of Urgel.

Bishops of Urgel

House of Capet-Bourbon-Orleans


1830 - 1848

Louis Philippe

Duc de Orleans. King of France (1830-1848).

1847 - 1848

An economic crisis in 1847 is the final straw for the working classes in France, after a steady worsening in their general conditions under the king's rule. In a year of European revolutions in 1848 (Galicia, Hessen-Darmstadt, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Lombardy-Ventia, and Wallachia also experience problems), they revolt against the government and the monarchy is overthrown.

Louis Philippe abdicates in favour of his grandson and flees to Britain, mindful of the fate of Louis XVI in 1793. Public opinion is against his grandson being crowned, so on 26 February the French 'Second Republic' is declared.

The return of Napoleon's ashes in 1840
The return of Napoleon's ashes in 1840 in a painting by Jacques Guiaud, with the funeral cortege entering the Place de la Concorde

Bishops of Urgel

House of Bonaparte


1848 - 1871

Louis Napoleon III

President, and then emperor of France (1852-1871).


Prince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, who has been president of France since December 1848, now declares himself emperor. The republic is replaced by the 'Second Empire'. Louis Napoleon III is a member of the House of Napoleon Bonaparte so, initially, the crowned heads of Europe watch him nervously, worried that he may resume the empire-building ambitions of his uncle.

1853 - 1879

José Caixal y Estrada

Bishop of Urgel.

1870 - 1871

Napoleon III refuses to accept the possibility of the Prussian Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen gaining the Spanish throne, and ends up personally insulting the king of Prussia. The disagreement leads to France going to war against Prussia, but the country is humiliated with defeat and an invasion by Prussia's armies, leading to the siege of Paris. The empire collapses and Louis Napoleon goes into exile in England where he later dies and is buried.

Bishops of Urgel

French Republic



FeatureA series of republics replaces any further attempts at forming a French monarchy or empire. The French 'Third Republic' is formed in 1871, although it almost founders with the crushing of the Paris Commune and the majority decision to select a new king.

Henri, count of Chambord and former duke of Bordeaux, who had been unconfirmed king for eleven days in 1830, refuses to acknowledge the tricolour as the national flag of France and the restoration is effectively sabotaged.

French Zouaves in the Crimea
This illustration of French Zouaves (light infantry, generally drawn from North Africa) in the Crimea was published in The Charleston Mercury on 21 November 1861

1871 - 1873

Louis Adolphe Thiers

President of France.

1873 - 1879

Patrice M de MacMahon

President of France.

1879 - 1887

Francois P J Grévy

President of France.

1879 - 1901

Salvador Casanas y Pagés

Bishop of Urgel.

1887 - 1894

Marie Sadi Carnot

President of France.

1894 - 1895

Jean Casimir Périer

President of France.

1895 - 1899

Francois Félix Faure

President of France.

1899 - 1906

Émile Loubet

President of France.


Ramón Riu y Cabanes

Bishop of Urgel.

1905 - 1906

Juan José Laguarda y Fonollera

Bishop of Urgel.

1906 - 1913

Juan Benlloch y Vivó

Bishop of Urgel.

1906 - 1919

Clement Armand Fallieres

President of France.

1913 - 1920

Raymond Poincaré

President of France.

1914 - 1918

Having jointly guaranteed in 1839 to support the neutrality of Belgium, when the country is invaded by Germany, Britain, France, and Russia are forced to declare war at midnight on 4 August 1914.

Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1914
Kaiser Wilhelm II of Prussia and the German empire inspects his troops on the eve of war in 1914, a war which none of the tributary German principalities had any chance of escaping

The German armies head towards Paris before being halted and retreating to what becomes the Western Front just inside French territory. A ceasefire is agreed with the remnants of the Austro-Hungarian empire by British, French, and Italian forces on 3 November 1918, effectively ending the First World War.

1920 - 1940

Justino Guitart y Vilardebó

Bishop of Urgel.


Paul E L Deschanel

President of France.

1920 - 1924

Alexandre Millerand

President of France.

1924 - 1931

Gaston Doumergue

President of France.

1931 - 1932

Paul Doumer

President of France.

1932 - 1940

Albert Lebrun

President of France.

Skossyrev / Skossyreff

Vichy (Fascist)



Boris I

Usurper. Ruled for a few days.


FeatureBoris Skossyrev is an adventurer who proclaims himself king of Andorra, regent for the 'king of France', Jean d'Orléans, duc de Guise (heir presumptive to the throne of France), 'true count of Foix and Berne', ancient princes of Andorra. After a reign of eight days he is deposed by the bishop of Urgel and the French president, and is arrested and deported soon afterwards (see feature link for the full story).

Boris Skossyreff
A cropped photograph of Boris Skossyreff in 1934,when he was certainly at his most active, having recently declared himself king of Andorra after providing 'services' to the Netherlands and operating a business in Colombia - his monocle is just about visible

1939 - 1944

The Nazi German invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 is the trigger for the Second World War. With both France and Britain pledged to support Poland, both countries have no option but to declare war on 3 September.

After a lightening march through the Netherlands and Belgium, France is occupied by the Nazi war machine in 1940, ending the 'Third Republic'. Vichy (Fascist) rule is allowed as a puppet state in southern France (and Algeria).

1940 - 1944

Henri Philippe Pétain

President of France.

1942 - 1969

Ramón Iglesias Navarri

Bishop of Urgel.


A provisional government is established in France following the liberation of Paris on 25 August 1944. Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain, hero of Verdun in the First World War, is condemned to death for his part in appeasing the Nazis, but his sentences is commuted to life imprisonment.

Bishops of Urgel

French Provisional Government


1944 - 1946

Charles de Gaulle

Chairman of the provisional government of France.


Félix Gouin

Chairman of the provisional government of France.

1946 - 1947

Georges Bidault

Chairman of the provisional government of France.

1944 - 1947

The 'Fourth Republic' is declared in France, almost as a continuation of the 'Third Republic' before it. Unfortunately it is eventually discredited by inflation and colonial defeats.

Paris riots of 1968
The spring of revolution in Paris in 1968 brought social change to France as a whole, as did a similar revolutionary spirit across much of the western world

Bishops of Urgel

French Republic


1947 - 1954

Vincent Auriol

President of France.

1954 - 1959

René Coty

President of France.

1959 - 1969

Charles de Gaulle

President of France.

1960s - 1980s

Long an impoverished land with little contact with any nations other than the adjoining France and Spain, following the conclusion of the Second World War, Andorra achieves considerable prosperity through a developing tourist industry. This development is assisted by improvements in transport and communications.

It serves to break down Andorra's isolation and to bring Andorrans into the mainstream of European history. Public demands for democratic reforms lead to the extension of the franchise to women in the 1970s and to the creation of new and more fully autonomous organs of government in the early 1980s.

1969 - 1971

Ramón Malla Call

Bishop of Urgel.

1969 - 1974

Georges Pompidou

President of France.

1971 - 2003

Juan Marti Alanis

Bishop of Urgel.

1974 - 1981

Valéry Giscard d'Estaing

President of France.

1981 - 1995

Francois Mitterrand

President of France.

1991 - 1993

Andorra enters into a customs union with the European Communities (latterly the European Union) and is admitted to the United Nations on 28 July 1993. The country has long been seeking ways of improving its export potential and increase its economic ties with its European neighbours. The economy's financial services sector is highly important, given Andorra's status as a tax haven and its banking secrecy laws.

Modern Andorra
Modern Andorra quickly became a typical Western European location, but one which retained the stunning scenery of some of the highest levels of the Pyrenees


Bishop Juan Marti Alanis of Urgel and President Francois Mitterrand of France are co-signatories of Andorra's new constitution. The principality finally becomes a parliamentary democracy.

The new constitution retains the French and Spanish co-princes, albeit with reduced, and narrowly defined powers. Civil rights are greatly expanded to include the legalisation of political parties and trade unions, and provision is made for an independent judiciary.

1995 - 2007

Jacques Chirac

President of France.

2003 - On

Joan Enric Vives Sicilia

Bishop of Urgel. Elevated to archbishop as a personal title.

2007 - 2012

Nicolas Sarkozy

President of France.


President Nicolas Sarkozy of France threatens to abdicate as co-prince if the principality does not change its secretive banking laws to eliminate its longstanding status as a tax haven. Under considerable international pressure, Andorra announces that it will lift its banking secrecy in cases in which accords apply in regard to the interchange of tax data, promising a law by November 2009.

President Nicolas Sarkozy
Previously the minister for 'Interior and Regional Development' between 2005-2007, Nicolas Sarkozy was elected president of the French republic on 6 May 2007 after winning 53.06% of the vote

2012 - 2017

François Hollande

President of France.


Joan Enric Vives i Sicília, bishop of Urgel, states that he will abdicate his position as co-prince of Andorra if the Andorran parliament passes a law which legalises abortion. The bishopric will then be held in abeyance at least until the law has been promulgated, so that no cleric will have to sign it.

This would make Andorra the second country (after Belgium) in which a head of state has refused to sign a law which legalises the voluntary interruption of a pregnancy without actually preventing the law from being promulgated.

2017 - On

Emmanuel Macron

President of France.

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