Europe has many tiny countries. Andorra might be the one that the fewest people can name. Vatican City, Monaco, Luxembourg, San Marino and Liechtenstein are smaller but, Andorra is hidden in the Pyrenees mountain range between Spain and France so many people don’t ever come across it.

Map of Andorra located in between Spain and France
Map of Andorras Location
Source: Google Maps

Given its location, one can imagine that it has been part of France at time and part of Spain at other times. But its history goes back before the year 1,000, and it’s the Principality was officially established in 1248. 

Andorra 5 Pessetes, 1936. One of the first ever banknotes released by Andorra itself
Andorran 5 Pessetes | 1936 | P-8a |
Source: Banknote World Educational

Andorra’s Own Currency

For many years, French Francs and Spanish Pesetas were officially used for transactions. In 1936, Andorra issued 2 series of its own banknotes. The currency called Pessettes were pegged to the Spanish Peseta. They were small and looked more like coupons or small stock certificates. The back contains instructions and an explanation. The second series appear better designed and more interesting. 

It appears that Andorra issued these notes because they were having difficulty getting Spanish Pesetas during the depression and Spanish Civil War. To make sure people could still buy and sell products, they made their own banknotes. They only produced between 100,000 – 200,000 Andorran notes so they are extremely rare.

Spain 1 Peseta from 1953
Spain 1 Peseta | 1953 | P-144a |
Source: Banknote World

Andorra returned to using the Spanish Peseta and French Franc around 1938-39 and continued until 1999 when they began using the Euro. Andorra is not part of the European Union but uses the Euro, maybe the only country like that?

An interesting bit of trivia. During WWI, Andorra declared war on Germany, but it never sent an army. While some citizens volunteered for the French Army, Andorra did not have official representation. As a result, Andorra was forgotten in the Versailles Treaty. Officially, Andorra remained at war with the pre WWI Germany until the 1950s.

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