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AndorraNo one knows with absolute certainty what the origin of the name Andorra is. Some people believe the name comes from the Moorish word aldarra, which means "place thick with trees." Another popular theory is that Charlemagne named the town of Andorra la Vella after the Biblical town of Endor. Others say the origins are from the Basque language, but no actual word of origin is known from this language.

Introduction:

Andorra has survived as an independent country for centuries due to connections with both France and Spain; these two foreign powers are also the greatest cultural influences on the people of Andorra. However, trying to identify who is or is not Andorran in the country is a difficult task given the fact that the Andorrans and Catalans are nearly identical in an ethnic and linguistic sense.

The Catalan people primarily live in northeast Spain and Barcelona, however the majority of people in Andorra are also Catalan. Despite this, the people of Andorra identify in many ways and may see themselves as Andorran, Catalan, or even Spanish. No matter how these people identity, they all share a great number of cultural similarities. However, the Andorrans also have strong ties to France and today's Andorra is quite distinct from Catalonia, primarily due to this French influence and the landscape.

Due to Andorra's mountainous landscape, the lifestyle in the country is very different from that of Catalonia, Spain, or France, although there are a large number of similarities with the neighboring Pyrenees Mountains. The people primarily live in the mountain valleys where the soils are more fertile and water is easily accessible. Many parts of these mountains are nearly inaccessible, encouraging the growth of communities along the valleys. The mountains also prevent settlements from expanding too much so there are no true cities in Andorra, giving the country a very rural and natural feel.

While the mountains dictate the lifestyle, they only minimally affect the culture of the people. This culture is more heavily rooted in the people and their connections. Being primarily Catalan, Spanish, and French, there are aspects of all these cultures found in Andorra. Since most people are ethnically Catalan, this culture is more noticeable in the culture, including the language, foods, and more. However, the French and greater Spain have also encouraged the culture in various directions and today the people of Andorra reflect all of these influences.

Information for Andorra was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks