ANDORRA NATIONAL COAT OF ARMS
According to legend, in the year 784, Charlemagne guaranteed that the people of Andorra could live in freedom forever. In 843 Emperor Charles II appointed the Count of Urgel to be the overlord of Andorra. From this family the rights passed, through inheritance, to the French Comte de Foix, with whom, by the Pareage of 1278, the Catalan Bishop of Urgel was made joint suzerain or feudal lord. The rights of the count passed via the House of Albret to King Henri IV of France and from the monarchs to the French Presidents after the French Revolution. Andorra is located in the Eastern Pyrenees between France and Spain. Its population is less than 100,000 and the official language is Catalan, although French, Spanish and Portuguese are also commonly spoken. At the present time the Catalan Bishop of Urgel rules jointly with the President of the French Republic as co-princes with France taking care of the country’s foreign affairs.
The co-principality has always maintained virtual independence, even to the extent of a trial period in 1806 as a republic. The State Coat of Arms, because there are two princes, occurs in two distinct forms, the image above, which appears on the State flag, is the Spanish version. The French version is not often seen and differs only in the arrangement of crozier and mitre in the first quarter. These refer to the Bishop of Urgel; the three red stripes refer to the Comte de Foix; the four red stripes, the Catalan colors, refer to Catalonia; the two cows refer to the Comte de Bearn. The Coronet at the top of the shield is that of a French Count and the Motto: Virtus unita fortitor is translated “ Strength is increased through unity”.