Switzerland is a federation of relatively autonomous cantons, some of which have a history of confederacy that goes back more than 700 years, arguably putting them among the world's oldest surviving republics.
According to the popular legend, in 1291, representatives of the three forest cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden signed the Federal Charter. The charter united the involved parties in the struggle against foreign rule by the Habsburgs, who then held the German imperial throne of the Holy Roman Empire. At the Battle of Morgarten in 1315, the Swiss defeated the Habsburg army and secured quasi-independence as the Swiss Confederation. The authenticity of the Federal Charter is disputed with many historians agreeing that it is in fact a forgery of the 14th century.
By 1353, the three original cantons had been joined by the cantons of Glarus and Zug and the city states of Lucerne, Zürich and Berne, forming the "Old Federation" of eight states that persisted during much of the 15th century (although Zürich was expelled from the confederation during the 1440s due to a territorial conflict) and led to a significant increase of power and wealth of the federation, in particular due to the victories over Charles the Bold of Burgundy during the 1470s, and the success of the Swiss mercenaries.greece rhodes kos
The traditional listing order of the cantons of Switzerland reflects this state, listing the eight "Old Cantons" first, with the city states preceding the founding cantons, followed by cantons that joined the federation after 1481, in historical order. The Swiss victory in a war against the Swabian League in 1499 amounted to de facto independence from the Holy Roman Empire. greek rhodos cos
In 1506, Pope Julius II engaged the Swiss Guard that continues to serve the Vatican to the present day. The expansion of the federation, and the reputation of invincibility acquired during the earlier wars, suffered a first setback in 1515 with the Swiss defeat in the Battle of Marignano. greek hotels rhodes hotel holidays
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The success of Zwingli's Reformation in some cantons led to inter-cantonal wars in 1529 and 1531 (Kappeler Kriege). The conflict between Catholic and Protestant cantons persisted, erupting in further violence at the battles of Villmergen in 1656 and 1712.
Under the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, European countries recognised Switzerland's independence from the Holy Roman Empire and its neutrality (ancien régime). In 1798, armies of the French Revolution conquered Switzerland and in 1803, Napoleon Bonaparte imposed a new constitution, largely restoring Swiss autonomy. greek hotels greece hotels hotel vacation.
The Congress of Vienna in 1815 fully re-established Swiss independence and the European powers agreed to permanently recognise the Swiss neutrality. At this time, the territory of Switzerland was increased for the last time, by the new cantons of Valais, Neuchatel and Geneva. rhodes rhodos kos greece greek
In 1847, a civil war broke out between the Catholic and the Protestant cantons (Sonderbundskrieg). Its immediate cause was a 'special treaty' (Sonderbund) of the Catholic cantons. The war lasted for less than a month, causing fewer than 100 casualties. Apart from small riots, this was the latest armed conflict on Swiss territory. greece hotels greek hotel vacation holidays
As a consequence of the civil war, Switzerland adopted a federal constitution in 1848, amending it extensively in 1874 and establishing federal responsibility for defence, trade, and legal matters.
In 1891, the constitution was revised with unusually strong elements of direct democracy, which remains unique even today. Since then, continued political, economic, and social improvement has characterised Swiss history.
In 1920, Switzerland joined the League of Nations, and in 1963 the Council of Europe.
Switzerland proclaimed neutrality in World War I and was not involved militarily in the conflict. Neutrality was again proclaimed in World War II, and although a German intervention was both planned and anticipated, it ultimately didn't occur.
The massive mobilization of Swiss armed forces under the leadership of General Henri Guisan is often cited as a decisive factor that the German invasion was never initiated. Modern historical findings, such as the research done by the Bergier commission, indicate that another major factor was the continued trade by Swiss banks with Nazi Germany. greece greek rhodes rhodos
Women were granted the right to vote in the first cantons in 1959, at the federal level in 1971, in the last canton, Appenzell Innerrhoden, only in 1990. In 1979, parts of the canton of Berne attained independence, forming the new canton of Jura. On April 18, 1999 the Swiss population and the cantons voted in favour of a completely revised federal constitution. greece greek rhodes rhodos
In 2002 Switzerland became a full member of the United Nations, leaving the Vatican as the last widely recognized state without full UN membership.
Switzerland is not a member state of the EU but applied for membership therein in May 1992. Switzerland has not advanced this application since the rejection, by referendum, of the European Economic Area in December 1992. However, Swiss law is gradually being adjusted to that of the EU and the government has signed a number of bilateral agreements with the European Union.
Switzerland (together with Liechtenstein) has been surrounded by the EU since Austria's membership in 1995. On June 5, 2005, Swiss voters agreed, by a 55% majority, to join the Schengen treaty, a result that was welcomed by EU commentators as a sign of goodwill by a Switzerland that is traditionally perceived as isolationist. greece rhodes rhodos kos hotels hotel holidays vacation
Switzerland officially the Swiss Confederation, is a landlocked alpine country in Western Europe. This small multi-lingual country, of a little over 7.5 million people, has four national languages, German, French, Italian, and Romansh. The country is bordered by Germany, France, Italy, Austria, and Liechtenstein. It dates its independence to 1291; historically it was a confederation, and it has been a federation since 1848, with a current division into 26 cantons, six of which are sometimes referred to as "half-cantons", since they have less representation in the Council of States.
Switzerland has a strong economy in finance and banking, rates highly in international economic standards despite its small size, and maintains a long and strong tradition of political and military neutrality. This background allows Switzerland to host various international organizations, such as the United Nations, which, though headquartered in New York City, has many departments in Switzerland. The safety, security, and scenic beauty of the country, for walking, hiking, climbing, and skiing, give it a strong and robust tourism sector.
Zurich is often referred to as the "garden city on the lake". A stroll through the fascinating city will soon explain the reason for this. Yet Zurich is also the most important commercial and economic centre in Switzerland, the capital of high finance, one of the richest cantons in the country and home to the famous and very beautiful shopping street, Bahnhofstrasse.greece greek rhodos rhodes kos cos rhodos greek greece rhodes kos holidays vacation hotels hotel
The first traces of human civilization in Geneva, discovered on the shores of Lake Léman, date from around 3000 BC.Geneva undoubtedly has much to offer in terms of culture: it has over thirty museums, several concert halls (including the Victoria Hall, the Grand-Théâtre and the Bâtiment des Forces Motrices), over twenty theatres, about thirty cinemas and more than a hundred private art galleries. Various cultural manifestations take place throughout the year in the form of festivals, shows or other artistic performances - a recent and much appreciated addition being the annual Music Festival in June.greek hotels
St. Moritz is the most famous ski resort in the world: chic, elegant and grand with a very cosmopolitan ambience. It lies in a beautiful setting around the lake, in the Engadine valley. The 'sparkling dry champagne climate of St. Moritz' is legendary: its famous sun shines 322 days of the year on average. The famous health springs have been in use since the Bronze Age and a modern spa complex complements their soothing properties.greece greek rhodes rhodos
Without doubt one of the prettiest towns in Switzerland, Lucerne lies in the heart of the country on the northern end of the famous lake of Lucerne, the Vierwaldstätter See.greek greece rhodes rhodos kos cos hotels vacation holidays