Schweizerische Eidtgenossenschaft—Confédération Suisse—Confederazione Svizzera
  • Barry Turner
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


The history of Switzerland can be traced back to Aug. 1291 when the Uri, Schwyz and Unterwaiden entered into a defensive league. In 1353 the league included 8 members and in 1515, 13. In 1648 the league became formally independent of the Holy Roman Empire. No addition was made to the number of cantons until 1798 in which year, under the influence of France, the unified Helvetic Republic was formed. This failed to satisfy the Swiss and in 1803 Napoleon granted a new constitution and 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, Spain and Sweden, and the Federal Pact, which included three new cantons, was accepted by the Congress of Vienna. In 1848 a new constitution was approved. 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 This constitution, in turn, was on 29 May 1874 superseded by the present constitution, which also combines the federal principle with a national and local use of referendums. Female franchise dates only from Feb. 1971. In a national referendum held in Sept. 1978, 69·9% voted in favour of the establishment of anew canton, Jura, which was established on 1 Jan. 1979.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Further Reading

  1. Office Fédéral de la Statistique. Annuaire Statistique de la Suisse. Google Scholar
  2. New, M., Switzerland Unwrapped: Exposing the Myths. London, 1997Google Scholar
  3. National library: Bibliothèque Nationale Suisse, Hallwylstr. 15, 3003 Berne.Google Scholar
  4. National statistical office: Office Fédéral de la Statistique, Schwarztorstr. 96, 3003 Berne.Google Scholar
  5. SFSO Information Service e-mail: information@bfs.admin.chGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Turner

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations