As far as the first farming settlements are concerned, the earliest known examples date back to around 5300 BC. Switzerland is bordered to the west by France, to the north by Germany, to the east by Austria and Liechtenstein, and to the south by Italy. Ordinary citizens are able to participate at every level of politics and regularly exercise their will in referenda and initiatives, through which Swiss citizens directly make numerous policy decisions at the national and subnational level. After breaking from the Holy Roman Empire in 1439, the Perpetual Alliance, as this alliance of cantons was known, signed a treaty with France that proved to cause some significant turmoil within the Swiss borders. In 1798, Switzerland was conquered by the French Revolution. An Alpine village near Saint Moritz in the upper Engadin valley, Graubünden canton, Switzerland. Even so, the Swiss blend of federalism and direct democracy is unique in the world and is considered central to the country’s political and economic success. Despite this, the crime rate in Switzerland is the lowest in the industrialized countries. Switzerland history is full of interesting facts, and one could study it for years if they were so inclined. More to Switzerland Than Meets the Eye. It is exotic, has great cuisine, thousands of museums, friendly and passionate people and more. 15 Fun Facts about Switzerland. Switzerland is the birthplace of many inventions like the first solar-powered airplane and milk chocolates. This small, rugged European country, known for its irresistible chocolate, sturdy mountain cheese, and breathtaking beauty, has so many things to offer. Switzerland’s Gotthard tunnel is the longest in the world measuring 57km in length (it is 7km longer than the Channel Tunnel between England and France). Destination 360. The first group to identifiably inhabit what is now Switzerland, however, were the Celts, who were moving east at the time. Switzerland has been an independent country since 1499 (apart from a brief French occupation between 1798 and 1815). Near the city of Basel, some of the most interesting Roman ruins can be found. In 2017, almost 18% of the Swiss population is … In terms of interesting facts about Switzerland, it is worth noting that the Romans conquered the various tribes that had taken up residence in the country in and around 15 BC. A very civil war. In succeeding years, other localities joined the original three. Engadine is one of the top attractions for tourists visiting Switzerland. For this reason, the Alpine passes have played a significant role in the development of the country, as have the powers that sought to control these important communication and trade routes. Looking for some facts about Switzerland? It extends about 135 miles (220 km) from north to south and 220 miles (350 km) at its widest extent from west to east. That explains the abbreviation CH. Independent historian and newspaper columnist. The Swiss lands would be divided until 1,000 AD, which is the year that they joined the Holy Roman Empire and became unified. Switzerland Joins the UN and Moves to the Right Politically On Sept 10, 2002, the Swiss abandoned their long-held neutrality to become the 190th member of the UN. Switzerland is a country that is busting at the seams with alpine lakes, dramatic cliff faces mountains, modern cities, flower-filled meadows, charming villages, fresh air, alphorns, and free-roaming dairy cows it’s easy to see the allure. 2. 33. The Roman colonization of Swiss lands would last up until 455 AD, which is when the Barbarians decided to invade. In the sport of curling, a stone is propelled toward a target. During the 1970s and ’80s, ambitious environmental policies were implemented by the cantons and municipalities, and this led to impressive progress on pollution abatement. The Celts occupied the western part of Switzerland, while the eastern half became part of a Roman province that was named Raetia. Switzerland is unique for having enough nuclear fallout shelters to accommodate its entire human population. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. It is a fascinating, unique country. Hornussen is a traditional sport played in Switzerland that is a mixture between golf and hockey. A landlocked country of towering mountains, deep Alpine lakes, grassy valleys dotted with neat farms and small villages, and thriving cities that blend the old and the new, Switzerland is the nexus of the diverse physical and cultural geography of western Europe, renowned for both its natural beauty and its way of life. We group of 10 are planning a trip to Switzerland, and especially need hiking & sightsee... hello! 1929-12-15 Swiss pilot Walter Mittelholzer is the first to fly over Mt. The Swiss Confederation dates to 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. Yet, Switzerland has forged strength from all these differences, creating a peaceful society in which individual rights are carefully balanced against community and national interests. Some of them you already know about. There’s a lot more unique things about this country, though. Check out some more surprising facts about Switzerland or facts about lakes and mountains in Switzerland. Here are some fascinating Switzerland facts and stunning superlatives: 1. Switzerland is also known as Confoederatio Helvetica. In Bern, two of the more interesting historical attractions include the Zytglogge and the Munster. Wikipedia: History of Switzerland Switzerland history is about as interesting as history gets. With around 7000 lakes, it would not be wrong to call Switzerland a land of lakes. It doesn’t make it to the news very often, and to be honest, Swiss news is usually the opposite of exciting. Switzerland is a land of Lakes. Switzerland Facts 1. Basel and Lucerne are major German-speaking cities, Geneva and Lausanne the centres of the country’s French-speaking cantons, and Bellinzona and Lugano the principal cities in the Italian-speaking Ticino. 11 Interesting Facts About Switzerland: That high level of citizen involvement prompted the renowned 20th-century Swiss playwright and ironist Friedrich Dürrenmatt to allegorize Switzerland as a prison in which each Swiss citizen was at the same time prisoner and guard. The Archives promotes historical research in Switzerland and is part of the Institut für Geschichte The Swiss Institute for History. Destinations • Europe • Switzerland • Switzerland History. It’s officially named the Swiss Confederation for historical reasons, although modern Switzerland is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the federal city. Wedged neatly between Germany, Austria, France, and Italy, Switzerland melds the best of whole worlds and adds a healthy … Share 741. It was none other than Charlemagne who eventually conquered the various cantons in Switzerland, and he did so in 843. Updates? Two other attractions that offer insight into the storied history of Switzerland are the Grossmunster Cathedral and the Fraumunster Church, both of which can be found in Zurich. This was the year that the alliance decided to declare their neutrality. Restaurant in the Alpine village of Grindelwald, Switzerland. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. By the end of the thirteenth century, however, the seed of independence was sewn. ... Destination 360 is your friendly travel guide. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The Swiss Aletsch Glacier is the longest glacier in Europe. German, French, Italian, and Romansh all enjoy national status, and English is spoken widely. Switzerland’s resident population has grown from 3.3 million in 1900 to 8.3 million in 2017. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Switzerland Facts for Kids. 52. Everybody knows about the famous Swiss chocolate, cheese and watches. Facts about people and society in Switzerland. Prior to 1848, internal conflict was quite common, but Switzerland has enjoyed relative domestic tranquility … Let’s learn more with these interesting facts about Italy that cover its history, culture, geography, people, food, weird laws, and some interesting things for kids. Another good way to gain insight into the history of Switzerland is to visit some museums while in the country. The Swiss Alps cover most of the country, and they are among the most picturesque mountains in the world. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. Two effects of this popular involvement are evident: Swiss taxes are rather low by European standards, because voters are able to review and approve a broad range of expenditures, and political decision making tends to be slow, because contending individual claims and opinions must be allowed to be expressed at every step. 48 of the mountains are over 4 000 metres/ 13 120 feet high. Here are some facts about Switzerland: (1993). Some of the most interesting facts associated with this fascinating country have been mentioned below. The Swiss refused to fight alongside the French troops of Napolean once the Russian and Austrian forces arrived, however, and Swiss autonomy was reestablished shortly thereafter. This site, which is known as Augusta Raurica, is only about seven miles from the city, and among its highlights are some fascinating ruins and an excellent museum. In terms of interesting facts about Switzerland, it is worth noting that the Romans conquered the various tribes that had taken up residence in the country in and around 15 BC. » 5 Interesting Facts About Switzerland: An Inside Look of the Swiss Lifestyle Alpine mountains, cheeses, chocolates and watches… as far as one can tell, these are what Switzerland is best known for; but for sure, there are a myriad of other fascinating things that … Where is Lungern located? The former is a medieval clock tower that features moving puppets and a fifteenth-century astronomical clock. Not long after the Barbarians conquered the Romans, the Christians would move in. In this article, we will discuss important interesting facts about Switzerland. Switzerland’s rugged topography and multicultural milieu have tended to emphasize difference. 8. It was canned pretty quickly and that’s probably for the best. However, glossy tourism brochures do not tell the entire story: Switzerland is much more than a country of stereotypes. – Source. If you like to travel, like us on Facebook or spread the good word. There aren't a lot of historical attractions that date back to the Roman days in Switzerland, though visitors can visit some interesting ruins that offer insight into early Swiss history. Today, there are almost 2 million resident foreigners in Switzerland. Everyone recognizes Switzerland as the land of mountains, cheese and happy people. To this day, Switzerland maintains a neutral stance in terms of world affairs. Switzerland’s landscape is among the world’s most unusual, and it has long had to contend with a variety of environmental problems that threaten its integrity. Switzerland was originally inhabited by Celtic tribes. Most Swiss live in towns and cities, not in the idyllic rural landscapes that captivated the world through Johanna Spyri’s Heidi (1880–81), the country’s best-known literary work. In the late 1800s, tourism really started to take off in Switzerland, and the rest of the world started taking notice of how beautiful the country is. I greatly appreciate this diversity. People celebrate by opening open air markets and eating chestnuts cooked in various ways. The Swiss justifiably take great pride in this, and the point was encapsulated in the early 21st century by Ruth Dreifuss, who in 1999 became the country’s first woman and first Jewish president (a post that rotates annually): I may be a native speaker of French, but my parents originally came from German-speaking Switzerland and I myself worked in an Italian-speaking area for a while and enjoy travelling to all parts of the country…. 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