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Switzerland

Switzerland Collection

History Archive - Switzerland Collection

Switzerland is a republic of Central Europe, bounded by Germany (N.), France (W.), Italy (S.), and Austria and Germany (E.); in size is slightly more than one-half of Scotland, of semicircular shape, having the Jura Alps on its French border, and divided from Italy by the great central ranges of the Alpine system, whence radiate the Swiss Alps—Pennine, Lepontine, Bernese, &c.—covering the E. and S., and occupying with intervening valleys two-thirds of the country.

The remaining third is occupied by an elevated fertile plain, extending between Lakes of Constance and Geneva (largest of numerous lakes), and studded with picturesque hills; principal rivers are the Upper Rhône, the Aar, Ticino, and Inn; climate varies with the elevation, from the high regions of perpetual snow to warm valleys where ripen the vine, fig, almond, and olive; about one-third of the land surface is under forest, and one quarter arable, the grain grown forming only one-half of what is required; flourishing dairy farms exist, prospered by the fine meadows and mountain pastures which, together with the forests, comprise the country's greatest wealth; minerals are exceedingly scarce, coal being entirely absent.

Despite its restricted arable area and lack of minerals the country has attained a high pitch of prosperity through the thrift and energy of its people, who have skilfully utilised the inexhaustible motive-power of innumerable waterfalls and mountain streams to drive great factories of silks, cottons, watches, and jewellery. The beauty of its mountain, lake, and river scenery has long made Switzerland the sanatorium and recreation ground of Europe; more than 500 health resorts exist, and the country has been described as one vast hotel.

The Alpine barriers are crossed by splendid roads and railways, the great tunnels through St. Gothard and the Simplon being triumphs of engineering skill and enterprise. In 1848, after the suppression of the Sonderbund, the existing league of 22 semi-independent States (constituting since 1798 the Helvetic Republic) formed a closer federal union, and a constitution (amended in 1874) was drawn up conserving as far as possible the distinctive laws of the cantons and local institutions of their communes.

Government. The President is elected annually by the Federal Assembly (which consists of two chambers constituting the legislative power), and is assisted in the executive government by a Federal Council of seven members. By an institution known as the “Referendum” all legislative acts passed in the Cantonal or Federal Assemblies may under certain conditions be referred to the mass of the electors, and this is frequently done. The public debt amounts to over two million pounds.

Army. The national army is maintained by conscription; 71 per cent. of the people speak German, 22 per cent. French, and 5 per cent. Italian; 59 per cent. are Protestants, and 41 per cent. Catholics.

Education is splendidly organised, free, and compulsory; there are five universities, and many fine technical schools.

References:

1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 26

Available Books

Images

Image Name
The Julier Pass
View of the Gallery and Bridge of the Ganther
Book Display
View of Arona
Chateau de Prangins
The Lake of Walldenstadt
Yvoire, Hte. Savoie
The Jura Range from Thonon, Hte. Savoie
The Rhone Valley from Mont Pelerin
The Rosegg Glacier
Plan of the Road of the Simplon
The Glaciers des Bossons, Chamonix
The Borromean Islands
Fall of the Staubbach
Geneva, Seat of the League of Nations
Magadino
Post Office, Interlachen
View of the Castle of Rinkenberg
Vue de Fluelen
View of the New Road Near the Grand Gallery
On the Tete Noire [I]
Sketch Map of the Engadine
The Falls of the Rhine at Schaffhausen
Lutry
Porlezza
View of Milan
Amstag
The Matterhorn
Muottas Muraigl
Como Cathedral
Klosters with Kanarthorn and Weisshorn
The Dents du Midi from Gryon, above Bex
The Staubbach
View of Geneva
Front Cover
The Fountain in Veytaux Village
View of Breig
Cully from Epesse-Autum
View of the Beautiful Island
Vue prise du Meggenhorn
West View of Sion
Title Page
Back Cover
Piz della Margna from Crestalta
Back Cover
The Giessbach
Mills at Faido
Maloja from the Road to Isola
St. Saphorin
The Church of St. Martin, Vevey
The Dents d'Oche, Savoy Alps
View of the Exterior of the Gallery of Algaby
Back Cover
Vue de Lucerne
Evian les Bains, Hte. Savoie
Mont Blanc from above Finhaut
Vue prise de Winkel
Sunset on the Lake
View of the Castle of Spiez
The Fall of Olstenbach & the Bridge of Wyler
The Chateau Glerolles and St. Saphorin
The Matterhorn from the Riffelberg
View of the Extremity of the Lake of Geneva
Glaciers of the Canton of Berne
Montreux from the Lake : Autumn
Val Fex
View of the Entrance of the Last Gallery
Villa
Lago di Cavloccio
Andermatt
Mont Blanc from Chamouni
Vue prise de Brunnen vers le Canton d'Ury
Island of San Giulin
View of the Gallery of Schalbet from the Italian Side
Grindelwald
View of the Bridge of Crevola and of the Valley of Domo Dossola
Sion
Interlachen from the Lake of Brienz
The Last Snow on the Wooded slopes
The North End of Aigle Castle
View of a Bridge over the Cherasca
Valley of Saas
Front Cover
Pallanza
View of the Glaciers of Roselouvi
View of the site of the Monastery of the Simplon and of Mount Rosa
View near Thun
La Tour de Haldimand - Quchy - Lausanne
On the Tete Noire [II]
View of Interlaken
St. Urbains, Troyes
Troyes Cathedral
View of the Interior of the Gallery of Algaby
Chateau de Blonay
Campo Dolcino
Meyringen

Maps

Map Name
Picturesque Tour through the Oberland - Glaciers of the Canton of Berne (1823)
Voyage Pittoresque au Lac des Waldstettes ou des IV Cantons - Carte du Lac de Lucerne ou des Quatre Cantons (1817)
Mountains and Lakes of Switzerland and Italy - Map to Illustrate the Mountains and Lakes of Switzerland and Italy (1871)

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