CODINA, Olivier (2005): De fer et de laine: économie et société des vallées andorranes de 1575 à 1875 (Of Iron and of Wool: The Economy and Society in the Valleys of Andorra from 1575 to 1875)

On 9th March 2006, the book De fer et de laine, les vallées andorranes du xvie au xixe siècle was presented. It was Olivier Codina’s doctoral thesis, directed by Gilbert Larguier, from the University of Perpignan.

It was written by Olivier Codina. A doctor in history, he works in the historic research area of Cultural Heritage of Andorra. As part of his functions, he participates in the Men of Iron program which aims to study the iron and steel industry in Andorra from a multidisciplinary point of view.

This thesis is the result of ten years of research. It deals with a fairly long part of the history of Andorra, four centuries, which had not been studied previously with all the depth and rigour required. The author looked into a whole host of previously unknown documents. Therefore, his contribution has helped to fill a gap that makes many of the economic and social processes that our predecessors lived through more comprehensible.

This thesis shows that, contrary to what used to be thought, Andorra at the end of the Middle Ages was not static but adapted to the constant political and social changes that were taking place in the neighbouring communities. These changes refer to the organisation of the family, society, institutions and also to the various ways of exploitation undergoing constant evolution. The strong stock-breeding economy of the time favoured the creation of an oligarchy which managed to use the possibilities offered by a high-mountain economy to promote an active commerce that crossed borders and, later, to start the development of the iron and steel industry in Andorra.