• John Paxton
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


On 1 Aug. 1291 the men of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwaiden entered into a defensive league. In 1353 the league included 8 members and in 1513, 13. Various territories were acquired either by single cantons or by several in common, and in 1648 the league became formally independent of the Holy Roman Empire, but no addition was made to the number of cantons till 1798. In that year, under the influence of France, the unified Helvetic Republic was formed. This failed to satisfy the Swiss, and in 1803 Napoleon Bonaparte, in the Act of Mediation, gave a new Constitution, and out of the lands formerly allied or subject increased the number of cantons to 19. In 1815 the perpetual neutrality of Switzerland and the inviolability of her territory were guaranteed by Austria, France, Great Britain, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, Spain and Sweden, and the Federal Pact, which included 3 new cantons, was accepted by the Congress of Vienna. In 1848 a new Constitution was passed. The 22 cantons set up a Federal Government (consisting of a Federal Parliament and a Federal Council) and a Federal Tribunal. This Constitution, in turn, was on 29 May 1874 superseded by the present Constitution. In a national referendum held in Sept. 1978, 69–9% voted in favour of the establishment of a new canton, Jura, which was established on 1 Jan. 1979.


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Further Reading

  1. Statistical Information: Bureau fédéral de statistique (Hallwylstr. 15, 3003 Bern) was established in 1860. Director: Carlo Malaguerra. Its principal publications are:Google Scholar
  2. Annuaire statistique de la Suisse Bâle. From 1891Google Scholar
  3. Bibliographie Suisse de statistique et d’économie politique. Annual, from 1937Google Scholar
  4. Reflêts de l’économie (monthly)Google Scholar
  5. Swiss ConfederationGoogle Scholar
  6. Annuaire: Budget: Message du Budget; Compte d’Etat (annual) Feuille Fédérale: Recueil des Lois fédérales (weekly)Google Scholar
  7. Recueil systématique des lois et ordonnances, 1848–1947 (in German, French and Italian). Bern,1951Google Scholar
  8. Sammlung der Bundes- und Kantonsverfassungen (in German, French and Italian). Bern, 1937Google Scholar
  9. Federal Department of EconomicsGoogle Scholar
  10. La vie économique (and supplements). Monthly. From 1928Google Scholar
  11. Législation sociale de la Suisse. Annual, from 1928Google Scholar
  12. McPhee, J., The Swiss Army. London, 1985Google Scholar
  13. Schwarz, U., The Eye of the Hurricane: Switzerland in World War Two. Boulder, 1980Google Scholar
  14. Wildblood, R., What makes Switzerland tick? London, 1988Google Scholar
  15. National Library: Bibliothèque Nationale Suisse, Hallwylstr. 15, 3003, Bern. Director: F. G. Maier.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Paxton

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