Andorra, 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 small landlocked country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of 468 km2 (181 sq mi) and an estimated population of 84,082 in 2009. Its capital, Andorra la Vella, is the highest capital city in Europe, being at an elevation of 1023 metres. The official language is Catalan, although Spanish, Portuguese, and French are also commonly spoken.
The Principality was formed in 1278. The role of monarch is exercised jointly by the two co-princes, the Bishop of Urgell and the current President of France. Andorra is a prosperous country mainly because of its tourism industry, which services an estimated 10.2 million visitors annually, and also because of its status as a tax haven. It is not a member of the European Union, but the euro is the de facto currency. The people of Andorra have the 4th highest human life expectancy in the world — 82 years at birth. Given its relative isolation, Andorra has existed outside the mainstream of European history, with few ties to countries other than France and Spain. In recent times, however, its thriving tourist industry along with developments in transport and communications have removed the country from its isolation. Its political system was modernized in 1993, when it became a member of the United Nations and the Council of Europe. The politics of Andorra take place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democracy, whereby the Prime Minister of Andorra is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Andorra maintains a small Army, and all able-bodied men who own firearms must serve. The Army is unique in that all men are treated as officers. The Army's main responsibility is to present the national flag at ceremonies. The country also has an internal police force. Responsibility for defending Andorra rests primarily with France and Spain. Andorra is a full member of the United Nations, the OSCE, and has a special agreement with the European Union.
The coat of arms of Andorra has existed for centuries. It supposedly violates the rule of tincture. This coat of arms has been the national coat of arms of Andorra since 1969. Below the shield arms stands Andorra's national motto Virtus Unita Fortior (Latin for United virtue is stronger). The coat of arms also appears on the flag of Andorra.
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