153. Diplomatic Oddities


Andorra is a small country (area 468 km², population 85,000) in the Pyrenees between Spain and France. It has two Co-Princes, the Spanish Bishop of Urgell and the President of France.

Its army consists of twelve men who provide a ceremonial guard whenever needed. It is said that the military is funded entirely from voluntary donations.

Andorra declared war on Germany in 1914, but forgot to go to the Peace Conference in 1919, so technically they were still at war until 1939 when the mistake was corrected. Andorra was neutral during the Second World War.


Liechtenstein is another micro-state (area 160 km², population 37,000), prosperously located between Switzerland and Austria.

The story goes that the last time they went to war in 1866, they sent 80 men to help Austria in the Third War of Italian Unification.

However, the force saw no fighting and sustained no casualties.

“In fact,” wrote Bill Bryson, “they came back with 81 men, because they had made a friend on the way.”

The army was disbanded after that triumph, and Liechtenstein maintains a policy of neutrality.

About Ned Davy

By hokey, the big fella’s tipped into his 50s. A rangy loose forward in his prime, good with the ball in hand, but rarely up with the play any more.
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5 Responses to 153. Diplomatic Oddities

  1. matangala says:

    What a trivia….am so enlightened by your blog…thank you

  2. Phil Wild says:

    Have been to both, I think they are both in the Worlds 5 smallest countries.

  3. Ned Davy says:

    They say Andorrans have the longest life expectancy, in part because of the altitude. Sounds like a very cool place.

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