The World at War

ANDORRA 1866 - 1957

ANDORRA Timeline

1866April 22 The Council of the Land, the forerunner of the present day General Council, is established under the New Reforms Decree which begins the modernization of the country through democratization of the electoral process.
July France offers to install postal and telegraph services, and to provide money for the construction of roads, provided Andorra becomes a French département. The French begin construction of the telegraph line on Andorran territory but riots and the intervention of the Spanish bishop of Seo de Urgel foil the annexation attempt.
1887France establishes a postal service consisting of two postmen who travel by foot from Porté, France to Andorra la Vella.
1892The French telegraph line into Andorra is completed despite the opposition of the Spanish Co-Prince.
November 1 French telegraph offices open at Encamp and Andorra la Vella. Additional telegraph offices open at Soldeu and Saint Julia de Loria a short time later.
1899The Andorrans build a road from Soldeu to the French frontier at Pas de la Casa.
1905Juan Laguarda, Bishop of La Seo de Urgel and Co-Prince of Andorra, persuades the Spanish Government to construct a road from La Seo de Urgel to the Andorran border.
1910The French to build a road from l'Hospitalet to Pas de la Casa on the Andorran border by which time a decade of spring floods and lack of maintenance have washed out the Andorran roadway it is supposed to connect with.
1911The Andorran road to the French border is rebuilt.
August 13 Doctor Gomma of Ax les Thermes drives the first motor car to cross the French border into Andorra.
1913The road from La Seo de Urgel, Spain to the Andorran border is extended to Andorra la Vella at the behest of Bishop and Co-Prince Joan Baptista Benlloch.
1924A census records 5,231 inhabitants of Andorra.
Miquel Farré, a letter carrier for the French postal service, introduces skiing to Andorra. There is heavy snow in the Pyrenees this winter so Farré decides to exchange his snowshoes for skis which are popular with the inhabitants of Porté, the French village where his weekly deliveries originate. Farré’s strange footwear draws attention when he arrives in Soldeu and is quickly adopted by fellow postmen.
1926The General Council of Andorra agrees to support the efforts of Swiss citizen, Friedrich Weilenmann, to obtain the consent of the Co-Princes, the Bishop of Seo de Urgel and the President of France, to grant monopoly on postal services the Council. Weilenmann proposes to contract with the Council to act as technical adviser and organize the service. Profits from the sale of stamps to philatelists will be used to fund construction of school buildings and similar projects.
1927October 31 A ministerial decree creates the Spanish Postal Administration of Andorra la Vella, and empowers it to take all steps necessary to introduce a full postal service in Andorra.
1929June The Andorran General Council protests the Spanish “seizure” of the posts to France. France obtains an amendment to the Universal Postal Union Convention allowing it to operate a postal service in Andorra as well.  
During the Year An attempt by the Spanish Government to levy troops in Andorra is met with a threat of armed resistance by the Principality’s inhabitants and 50 man gendarmerie.
1930May The General Council of Andorra grants Brooms Syndicate, an Australian gaming concern, a concession to operate a sweepstakes from Andorra. The British Government protests the concession to the French Government which has the concession annulled.
August 1 A Hispano-French agreement is signed under which mail for France will be routed via Spain when direct communication between Andorra and France presents difficulties. French postmen are no longer required to make the hazardous crossing of the Pyrenees in wintertime.
1931Spring Jaime Nadal advised to seek a mountain climate for the relief of asthma arrives in La Seo de Urgel where he takes up residence in the Hotel Andria. Nadal soon foresees the possibility of a great enterprise. He proposes the establishment of an air line for transportation of freight and mail to the governments of Spain and Andorra with the proviso that he be granted authorization to produce and distribute stamps. Sales to collectors would provide sufficient capital for the maintenance of the airline even in the event that there would never be any mail transported by it.
June 16 The French Postal Service in Andorra is inaugurated.
Summer Members of the 400 man Spanish crew constructing the road connecting Spain and France make threats which the Andorrans regards as a declaration of war. The Andorran peasantry mobilizes with scythes and makeshift weapons to drive the Spaniards back across the border. Construction of the roadway is delayed indefinitely.
September 21 The General Council of Andorra empowers Friedrich Weilenmann to intervene on its behalf, through the Swiss Political Department and the General Secretariat of the Universal Postal Union in Berne, to have the Spanish and French control of the Andorran posts annulled.
October 15 The Spanish General Directorate of Civil Aviation authorizes Jaime Nadal to build and establish a private aerodrome at a site near La Seo de Urgel for use by a Barcelona – Andorra airline.  
November 1 Barcelona – Andorra airline promoter Jaime Nadal dies of a heart attack at La Seo de Urgel, Spain.  
November 27 The Spanish General Directorate of Civil Aviation authorizes the now late Jaime Nadal to inaugurate the air line Barcelona-Andorra.
December 31 The Spanish General Directorate of Civil Aviation requests the promoter of the Barcelona – Andorra airline to submit details of the aircraft intended to be used in order to give consideration to the authorization of the airline as a public service.  
During the Year Three young Andorrans are the first to use the ski run in the Incles Valley which has to be climbed on foot.
1932January 7 Josep Canudas pilots a two-seater Moth Cirrus airplane on the first test flight for the Barcelona – Andorra airline.  
January l4 José Canudas arrives at Els Inferns Aerodrome near La Seo de Urgel.
February 18 The Spanish General Directorate of Civil Aviation authorizes Gabriel Montserrat (executor of the Jaime Nadal estate) and José Canudas, to commence the operation of the Andorra – Barcelona airline. The airline is authorized to carry passengers and freight on a four passenger Farman. The authorized tariffs are 75 pesetas for passengers and 2 pesetas per kilogram for parcels. Authorization to carry mail is made contingent on 2 months of regular service including 1 month of daily operation. The Els Inferns Aerodrome near La Seo de Urgel will be the northern terminus of the line. From there passengers and freight will be carried overland to Andorra.  
April 29 José Canudas completes the last flight required to satisfy the requirements for acquisition of the Spanish Government's airmail concession in a six-seat Farman powered by a Hispano motor.
During the Year The Andorra Ski Club is founded.
1933February 24 The General Council of Andorra declares Herr Friedrich Weilenmann an honorary citizen of Andorra.
February 25 The General Council of Andorra authorizes Friedrich Weilenmann to, "take all measures necessary with the relevant governments and authorities so that the Republic of Andorra may, as an autonomous member form part of the Universal Postal Union ." The authorization lack any validity under International Law as Andorran sovereignty rests in the Co-Princes and not the General Council. Weilenmann’s efforts come to naught.  
April 8 A mob of young Andorrans invades the chambers of the General Council to protest the misappropriation of 16,000 pesetas loaned by the Spanish region of Catalonia to Andorra to construct a casino, modernize the hotels and improve the highways. The protestors force the Council to extend voting rights heretofore restricted to heads of families to all males at age 25. Andres Masso, the leader of the revolt, is subsequently named Andorran representative to the Spanish Government.
June 17 The Vicars of the Co-princes order the General Council dissolved and Andres Masso exiled from Andorra. The representatives of the Bishop of La Seo de Urgel and the French President are disturbed by the General Council’s use of the title "Republica de Andorra" in official documents including passports and automobile registrations as well as its submission to the young rebels. A provisional government is appointed pending general elections. The General Council refuses to resign and is supported by many Andorrans who object to the dissolution on the grounds that the sovereign rights of the Co-princes exclude interference in the country’s internal affairs. The French Government attempts to reestablish the authority of its President as Co-prince by instituting an embargo. The Tribunal de Corts (the highest judicial authority in Andorra) upholds the decree dismissing the General Council. However, many Andorrans object to this action claiming that the sovereign rights of the Co-princes excludes interference in the country’s internal affairs.  
August 18 France dispatches a force of 60 French gendarmes that occupies Andorra, disarms the country’s 6 constables and 36 citizen police, arrests 6 officials and installs an agent designated to act on behalf of the President.  
August 28 A section of the General Council of Andorra, presided over by the deposed President and Vice-President, meets in exile at Barcelona. The Council hands a final document to Herr Weilenmann conferring general powers for him to act as its plenipotentiary representative and intervene at the League of Nations against the occupation of Andorra by the French forces.
August 31 A new General Council is elected under a reformed system which enfranchises all men over age 25 and allows all those over 30 to stand for election.
September 18 The new General Council assembles and elects Pere Torres, an opponent of the dissolution, First Syndic (President).
Summer The roads from the French and Spanish borders are connected by the hydro-electric company, F.H.A.S.A., in return for a concession to build power-generating stations in Andorra.
October France withdraws its gendarmes from Andorra under pressure from Madrid.
November The 1,400 Spanish workers constructing a hydro-electric generating plant strike and defy orders of the Andorran militia to disband. The strike ends with the deportation of 40 anarchist strike leaders.
1934June The General Council decrees that the country is to be known as Les Valls d'Andorra and that all references to La Republica d'Andorra are to be removed.
July 7 Russian émigré Boris Skossyref proclaims himself Prince Boris I of Andorra and claims he is acting as, "regent for the absent King of France." Prince Boris promulgates a constitution and declares war on the Bishop of La Seo de Urgel.
July 19 Prince Boris is arrested on the orders of the Spanish Government and taken to Barcelona.
1935The first international competition between Andorran, French and Spanish skiers are held. The French Railway operate le Train Blanc (the White Train) which carries skiers from Paris to La Tour de Carol from where they are bussed to the Andorran slopes.
August 19 The General Council agrees to license a broadcasting station.
1936July The Spanish Civil War begins. The three year conflict forces Andorra to redirect its economic and communications ties from heavy reliance on Spain towards France. Smuggling embargoed good from France to Spain becomes a major business. At times Spanish refugees outnumber the local residents. The French posts are no longer routed via Spain but directly conveyed between Porté and Andorra by French Army skiers. Andorra attempts to attract tourists from France. The first ski-lift in Andorra is built during the war years.
September 26 The General Council request French assistance in quelling disturbances provoked by Barcelona anarchists who support a local element determined to abolish Andorra’s semi-feudal institutions in favor of an anarchist regime. French gendarmes cross the border and the anarchists call off an uprising planned for the following day.  
December 19 The General Council of Andorra authorizes the issuance of emergency banknotes payable at the Bank of Spain in Madrid.
Winter There was no oil in Andorra. Young Andorrans who need to earn a living set out early in the morning for L'Hospitalet, France on skis and come back in the evening with a load of smuggled goods on their backs.
1937October Members of the General Council and their accompanying guard are fired on from across the border while investigating reported attacks on the 300 Spanish Republican refugees camped on the Andorran side of the frontier.
The French Government rejects a request from the General Council to allow winter supplies purchased in Nationalist Spain to be shipped to Andorra by way of France.
French gendarmes are still maintaining order in Andorra.
1938April 100 French Mobile Guards are sent to Andorra to maintain order while French laborers clear snow from the roadway to permit the evacuation of the 10,000 Republican refugees who crossed into Andorra to escape the Nationalist advance in Spain.
French skiers cross the Pyrenees with supplies to feed the refugees and Andorrans whose supplies are nearly exhausted.
During the Year The Co-Princes finally ratify the General Council’s decision to license a radio station. Jacques Trémoulet, proprietor of the Radiophonie du Midi which operates stations in Toulouse, Montpellier, Bordeaux and Agen, creates Radio Andorra. Trémoulet fears moves to moves to ban private broadcasting in France will silence his other stations, particularly, the popular and profitable Radio Toulouse.
1939August 3 Radio Andorra makes its first test broadcast.
August 7 Radio Andorra's studios and transmitter are inaugurated by Jacques Trémoulet after 3 years of difficult work and 5 years of administrative delays organized by the French Government. French Minister for Public Works Anatole de Monzie is among the guests.
August 9 Radio Andorra begins broadcasting regularly scheduled programs.
August 28 Radio Andorra suspends its operations due to the impending outbreak of war in Europe.
1940April 3 Radio Andorra returns to the airwaves. Radio Andorra will be the only privately owned French language radio station to broadcast to Europe throughout the Second World War beyond the control of either Allied or Axis power. Programming is limited to music and a few advertisements and the only commentaries allowed are brief introductions preceding the playing of the records. Jacques Trémoulet’s other radio stations, situated in France, are placed under the control of the Vichy Government. Trémoulet names Etienne Laffont station manager. Laffont is the nephew of deputy Paul Laffont who supported Trémoulet’s effort to create the Radio Andorra.
June 22 The fall of France reverses the flow of refugees and smuggled goods through neutral Andorra. Refugees escape from France and the rest of occupied Europe to Spain and goods embargoed by the Allies are smuggled into occupied Europe from Spain.
September 24 Vichy publishes a decree in le Journal officiel announcing that Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, Head of the French State, has assumed the title of Co-prince of Andorra formerly held by the President of the French Republic.
1941The General Council abolishes universal male suffrage in Andorra and limits the electoral franchise to heads of families.
1942November 11 German troops occupy Vichy France in the wake of the Allied landings in North Africa but stop at the Andorra border where their commander informs Andorran officials that he has been order to respect the Principality’s territorial integrity.  
1944November General de Gaulle acting in the capacity of ex-officio Co-prince of Andorra orders French troops to occupy the Principality as, “a preventive measure” to insure security and maintain order throughout the winter months.
1946November 26 Radio Andorra owner Jacques Trémoulet is sentenced to death in absentia for acts of collaboration. The charges stem from his friendship with Pierre Laval and his meetings with the Germans in an attempt to preserve ownership of his other stations, notably Radio Toulouse which was closed. Trémoulet’s French properties, most notably Radio Andorra’s Paris advertising offices, are seized. Radio Andorra’s French advertising revenues are cut off.
1948May 2 The French Government begins jamming Radio Andorra’s signal. The station’s signal is rendered quasi-inaudible in France for nearly a year.
1949April 1 Radio Andorra owner Jacques Trémoulet’s conviction for collaboration is reversed on appeal. Trémoulet had taken refuge in Spain and Switzerland throughout his prosecution.
April 6 The French Government ceases to jam Radio Andorra’s signal.
1951October 29 The French Government charters the Andorradio Company to compete with Radio Andorra.
1953France closes the border with Andorra for a brief period in an effort to pressure the Principality’s government into closing Radio Andorra.
1954July 1 Radio Andorra is permitted to open an advertising office in Paris. The French Government ends its effort to silence the station.  
1957France scuttles Andorra's plans to enter a display at the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. First transportation of the Principality's exhibit across French territory is embargoed. Then, after arrangements are made to ship it to Belgium via Spain, France threatens to cut off Andorra's supply of electricity. Andorra caves in and turns its pavilion over to San Marino.

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