Switzerland the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western and southern Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities; the sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2. While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of 8.5 million people is concentrated on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva. The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648; the country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation.
It pursues an active foreign policy and is involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to numerous international organisations, including the second largest UN office. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties. Spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German-speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, Alpine symbolism. Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz. On coins and stamps, the Latin name – shortened to "Helvetia" – is used instead of the four national languages.
Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product according to the IMF. Switzerland ranks at or near the top globally in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic competitiveness and human development. Zürich and Basel have all three been ranked among the top ten cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with the first ranked second globally, according to Mercer in 2018; the English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, an obsolete term for the Swiss, in use during the 16th to 19th centuries. The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse in use since the 16th century; the name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, one of the Waldstätten cantons which formed the nucleus of the Old Swiss Confederacy. The Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for "Confederates", used since the 14th century.
The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from Latin Confoederatio Helvetica. The toponym Schwyz itself was first attested in 972, as Old High German Suittes perhaps related to swedan ‘to burn’, referring to the area of forest, burned and cleared to build; the name was extended to the area dominated by the canton, after the Swabian War of 1499 came to be used for the entire Confederation. The Swiss German name of the country, Schwiiz, is homophonous to that of the canton and the settlement, but distinguished by the use of the definite article; the Latin name Confoederatio Helvetica was neologized and introduced after the formation of the federal state in 1848, harking back to the Napoleonic Helvetic Republic, appearing on coins from 1879, inscribed on the Federal Palace in 1902 and after 1948 used in the official seal.. Helvetica is derived from the Helvetii, a Gaulish tribe living on the Swiss plateau before the Roman era. Helvetia appears as a national personification of the Swiss confederacy in the 17th century with a 1672 play by Johann Caspar Weissenbach.
Switzerland has existed as a state in its present form since the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1848. The precursors of Switzerland established a protective alliance at the end of the 13th century, forming a loose confederation of states which persisted for centuries; the oldest traces of hominid existence in Switzerland date back about 150,000 years. The oldest known farming settlements in Switzerland, which were found at Gächlingen, have been dated to around 5300 BC; the earliest known cultural tribes of the area were members of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel. La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age from around 450 BC under some influence from the Gree
Canton of Lucerne
The canton of Lucerne is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the centre of Switzerland; the population of the canton is 406,506. As of 2007, the population included about 15.8 % of the total population. The cantonal capital is Lucerne; the canton of Lucerne comprises territories acquired by its capital Lucerne, either by treaty, armed occupation or purchase. The first town acquired was Weggis, Kriens, Horw and Hochdorf, Wolhusen and Entlebuch, the so-called "Habsburger region" to the northeast of the town of Lucerne, Willisau and Beromünster and Littau, while in 1803, in exchange for Hitzkirch, Merenschwand was given up; the oldest traces of humans in the Lucerne area are stone artifacts and cave bear bones found in the Steigelfadbalm cave on Mt. Rigi from the Middle Paleolithic or about 30,000 BC. Other animal bones including mammoth and giant deer from the local glacial maximum have been found in the canton. Around 17,000 BC the glaciers disappeared from the Swiss plateau and recolonization is at that time.
The first Paleolithic and Mesolithic settlement discovered in the canton is in the Wauwilermoos, now a Swiss heritage site of national significance. A number of other settlements have since been found on sandy, dry elevations in the immediate vicinity of water; the settlements of Egolzwil 3 in Wauwilermoos in Egolzwil, Seematte at Hitzkirch and Halbinsel in Sursee are part of the Prehistoric Pile dwellings around the Alps a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Wauwilermoos houses had wooden or bark hearths of clay; the villages had ceramic vessels and wood, antler and flint tools as well as textiles. Copper ax blades and knives provide the first evidence of metal use in Switzerland. Imported mollusks show; the bones at Egolzwil 3 are over two thirds from domestic animals with the remainder from wild animals. The main domesticated animals were sheep and pigs with only a few domestic cattle; the animals hunted included roe deer, wild boar and elk. During the Bronze Age the canton was quite settled. There were a number of settlements on the shores of Lake Sempach and Lake Baldegg along with hilltop settlements and scattered items throughout the area.
At Hochdorf-Baldegg a fenced village from the early Bronze Age was uncovered. The single-story houses all had stone hearths. During the Middle Bronze Age most of the villages were not located directly on the lake shores; the Late Bronze Age settlement at Sursee-Zellmoos on Lake Sempach featured houses arranged in rows with mortared stone. The walls were timber lined with clay. Another Late Bronze Age settlement near the village of Schötz was densely populated between 1350 and 800 BC. While numerous individual Iron Age items have been found no settlements have been discovered. From the Hallstatt period graves have been discovered. Little is known about the La Tène period in Lucerne; some iron tools, gold coins, ceramic vessels and a glass bangle as well as a burial ground with at least four graves have been found. During the Roman era, the canton was once again thickly settled. A number of farms were built in the north-south running valleys. During the 1st century AD, the farms provided food for the Legion camp in Vindonissa and for the larger settlements located in the Swiss plateau.
Towards the end of the 1st century there was a vicus at Sursee. The remains of houses show that there were a number of small shops and manufacturing buildings in the town; the west bank of the Suhre was fortified with a stone slip and may have served as a ship or raft berth. Imports from various regions of the Roman Empire provide evidence of extensive trade relations. Sursee was a freight hub for trade with the entire Alpine region. Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, the canton of Lucerne was settled by the Alamanni, who settled away from the Roman settlements; some exceptions include the Roman town of Sursee. An Alamannic grave field was found at Aesch with 61 graves with wooden coffins from before the 7th century before. In the women's graves there were necklaces with glass and amber beads, while swords were found in the men's graves. Belt buckles and small iron knives were found in the graves of both sexes. A few items from the southern Alpine region, southern Germany and Burgundy indicate that trade continued.
Two early medieval stone grave vaults, both of which were used for multiple burials, were found in the church of Altishofen. In the treasury of Beromünster Abbey there is a 7th-century ornate reliquary of gilded copper plates, which came from northern Italy. Lucerne grew up around a Benedictine monastery, founded about 750 on the right bank of the Reuss by Murbach Abbey in Alsace, of which it long remained a "cell", it is first mentioned in a charter of 840 under the name of Luciaria, derived from the patron saint of the monastery, St Leodegar. The name Lucerrun is first mentioned in 1252. At some point, a small village grew up around the monastery; the first signs of a municipal constitution appear in 1252. With the growing power of the Habsburgs in the area the ties that bound Lucerne to Murbach weakened. In 1291 the Habsburgs purchased Lucerne from Murbach; the purchase of Lucerne by the Habsburgs drove the three forest cantons to form an Eternal Alliance, an act
Canton of Nidwalden
The canton of Nidwalden canton of Nidwald is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the centre of Switzerland; the population is 40,287. The capital is Stans; the earliest traces of human settlement date to the Neolithic with sites found near Stansstad that are from 4000–3100 BC. The same sites, near Stansstad contain Late Bronze Age artifacts, with additional Bronze Age sites near Hergiswil and Ennetmoos. A La Tène grave for a 10-year-old girl has been found in Stans. Based on these finds, it appears that the Nidwalden region has been settled since the 1st millennium BC. During the Roman Empire Ob and Nidwalden were inhabited by a Celtic population. While there are few artifacts from the population, many names of the towns and mountains have either Celtic or Gallo-Roman roots. By the 8th century the Alemanni intermingled. At this time a Roman Catholic church was built in Stans, most founded by an Alemanni noble family; the church in Stans would remain until the 10th century. The land was owned by a number of noble families and abbeys.
But by the late 13th century the major powers in Nidwalden had shrunk to three: the Habsburgs, Murbach Abbey and Engelberg Abbey. In 1291 Rudolph of Habsburg bought Obwalden from Murbach Abbey. In response the people of Nidwalden joined Uri and Schwyz to form an alliance, considered the foundation of the Old Swiss Confederacy. At the time there was no state, but towards the end of the 14th century early forms of government were established; this included institutionalized courts. In the 14th and 15th century the people of Nidwalden joined the people of Obwalden to discuss important matters, but the two cantons were never one. For example, Obwalden did not participate in the annexation of Bellinzona and Blenio areas. Around 1500 many people in Nidwalden worked as mercenary soldiers. Many of these soldiers emigrated; this helped to lessen the pressure of a growing population. A popular destination was Alsace. Under the Helvetic Republic imposed in 1798 by French Revolutionary troops, Switzerland became a united country.
The ideas of the French Revolution were not popular in some parts of the Swiss nation including Nidwalden. The cantons were accustomed to self-government and many resented the limits on the freedom of worship in particular; when rebel forces threatened the Republic, Nidwalden was attacked by French troops on 9 September 1798. The canton's infrastructure was badly damaged and at least 400 people were killed. After the end of Napoleonic rule in 1814, most of the changes were reverted. Only in 1877 did Nidwalden introduce a new constitution; the open assembly was abolished in 1997. Nidwalden is located in the centre of Switzerland. To the north it is bounded to all other directions by mountain chains; the area of the canton is 276.1 square kilometers of which about 40% is inhabited or used for farming. Forests occupy about one third of the canton with about one quarter being considered unproductive. ^a FDP before 2009, FDP. The Liberals after 2009 ^ b" *" indicates. ^c No election held The cantonal executive is composed of seven members.
The local parliament has 60 seats. Nidwalden sends only one deputy to the Swiss Council of States. There are eleven municipalities: Beckenried, Dallenwil, Ennetbürgen, Hergiswil, Stans and Wolfenschiessen; the capital is Stans. The population of the canton is 42,969; as of 2007, the population included about 10 % of the total population. By gender the canton is nearly evenly split with 50.9 % 49.1 % female. In 2000, 75.6 % of the population was Roman Catholic. The population density in December 2005 was 144.3 persons per km2. Most of the population speaks German with a small minority speaking Serbo-Croatian. Up to the 20th century Nidwalden was dominated by agriculture. Cattle and cheese were exported to northern Italy. Around 1500, many people in Nidwalden worked as mercenary soldiers. From the middle of the 19th century onwards, trade and tourism gained momentum; until the middle of the 20th century, agriculture dominated the canton. Today a great number of middle-sized businesses dominate the economy.
The largest employer is the airplane constructor Pilatus. The small and middle-sized businesses work in a wide range of areas. Many specialize in machine construction, medical equipment, international trade and electronics. Traditional areas such as forestry and agriculture are still of importance. Agriculture is specialized in cattle and dairy farming; the farms are still run by individual families. In recent years, Nidwalden is becoming an common place to live and work; this is caused by its low taxes, its central location between Zürich and Milan, its natural environment. Because of its mountainous geography, tourism is important in Nidwalden; the lake and the mountains attract many tourists, both during the summer. Major resorts include Klewenalp, the region around Bannalp, Bürgenstock. Traditional culture in Nidwalden has been kept alive by many local organisations. There is traditional music, yodeling
Zurich metropolitan area
The European Metropolitan Region of Zurich Greater Zurich Area, the metropolitan area surrounding Zurich, is one of Europe’s economically strongest areas and Switzerland’s economic centre. It comprises the area that can be reached within a 80-minute drive from Zurich Airport. Home to many international companies, it includes most of the Canton of Zurich, stretches as far as the Aargau and Solothurn in the west, Thurgau, St. Gallen and parts of Grisons in the east, Schaffhausen in the north and Zug and parts of Schwyz and Glarus in the south. Three million people live in the area; the Swiss federal office for statistics defines an unofficial metropolitan area as including all areas where more than one twelfth workforce commutes to the core area. According to the 2000 Swiss census, this includes a total of 220 municipalities in seven cantons: 127 in the canton of Zurich, 58 in Aargau, 11 in Schwyz, 10 in Zug, 9 in Schaffhausen, 3 in Thurgau and 2 in St. Gallen; the area covered by these municipalities is 2103 km², inhabited by a population of 3.8 million.
Numerous Swiss and international corporations are based in the area, profiting from benefits such as the low tax rate the low cost of doing business, excellent infrastructure the high quality of life the dominant financial sector ZurichThe Greater Zurich Area AG, a nonprofit organization, is the marketing association for the Greater Zurich Area business region. It recruits international companies abroad and assists them with setting up companies and making investments in the Greater Zurich Area, its sponsor is the Stiftung Greater Zurich Area Standortmarketing, a public-private partnership, established in November 1998. Since that time, its membership has grown to include the cantons of Glarus, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, Uri and Zurich, the cities of Zurich and Winterthur, several businesses and universities. Switzerland and the Greater Zurich Area have the prerequisites for innovation and sustainable growth; this is due to political stability, a large talent pool and the ETH Zurich as one of the best universities in Europe.
Companies such as Google, Microsoft, IBM, Disney, ABB, Johnson & Johnson and Roche operate important research and development sites in the Zurich metropolitan area. Important Industries: Life Sciences: Biotech, Medtech Information Technology: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality, Cybersecurity Fintech & Blockchain Robotics & Intelligent Systems: Robotics, Drone Technology, Computer Vision Industry 4.0 & Advanced ManufacturingThe association Zurich Airport Region is responsible for the business network and location promotion in the immediate vicinity of Zurich Airport. Large companies are headquartered in the Zurich Airport Region: Swissport International, Dormakaba, SV Group, SR Technics, Hewlett-Packard Switzerland, Flughafen Zürich AG, Jumbo, UPC Switzerland, Coca-Cola HBC Switzerland, Edelweiss Air, CSC Switzerland, Canon Switzerland, Gamma Renax, Infosys Consulting, Microsoft Switzerland, Ricoh Switzerland, Tchibo Switzerland, Vifor Pharma; the following eleven municipalities belong to the Swiss economic metropolis "Zurich Airport Region": Bassersdorf, Bülach, Dietlikon, Dübendorf, Kloten, Nürensdorf, Opfikon, Rümlang and Wangen-Brüttisellen.
In the broader sense, many other communities and cities belong to the airport region of Zurich. The office of the association with over 500 members is located in Opfikon-Glattbrugg. Christoph Lang heads the office. René Huber is the president of the association's board. List of metropolitan areas in Switzerland Greater Zurich Area AG Ralph Etter, Appenzell als Teil der "Greater Zurich Area" – Chancen, Risiken und Handlungsansätze Zürcher Wirtschaftsförderung unter der Lupe, Neue Zürcher Zeitung 26 October 2006. Patrick Dümmler, Alain Thierstein, The European metropolitan region of Zurich: a cluster of economic clusters?, ETH Zurich, Institute for National and Local Planning, Chair of Spatial Development, 2002
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a statistic composite index of life expectancy and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. A country scores a higher HDI when the lifespan is higher, the education level is higher, the GNI per capita is higher, it was developed by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq, with help from Gustav Ranis of Yale University and Meghnad Desai of the London School of Economics, was further used to measure a country's development by the United Nations Development Program's Human Development Report Office. The 2010 Human Development Report introduced an Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index. While the simple HDI remains useful, it stated that "the IHDI is the actual level of human development", "the HDI can be viewed as an index of'potential' human development"; the index does not take into account several factors, such as the net wealth per capita or the relative quality of goods in a country. This situation tends to lower the ranking for some of the most advanced countries, such as the G7 members and others.
The index is based on the human development approach, developed by ul Haq framed in terms of whether people are able to "be" and "do" desirable things in life. Examples include—Being: well fed, healthy; the freedom of choice is central—someone choosing to be hungry is quite different from someone, hungry because they cannot afford to buy food, or because the country is in a famine. The origins of the HDI are found in the annual Human Development Reports produced by the Human Development Report Office of the United Nations Development Programme; these were devised and launched by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq in 1990, had the explicit purpose "to shift the focus of development economics from national income accounting to people-centered policies". To produce the Human Development Reports, Mahbub ul Haq formed a group of development economists including Paul Streeten, Frances Stewart, Gustav Ranis, Keith Griffin, Sudhir Anand, Meghnad Desai. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen utilized Haq's work in his own work on human capabilities.
Haq believed that a simple composite measure of human development was needed to convince the public and politicians that they can and should evaluate development not only by economic advances but improvements in human well-being. Published on 4 November 2010, the 2010 Human Development Report calculated the HDI combining three dimensions: A long and healthy life: Life expectancy at birth Education index: Mean years of schooling and Expected years of schooling A decent standard of living: GNI per capita In its 2010 Human Development Report, the UNDP began using a new method of calculating the HDI; the following three indices are used: 1. Life Expectancy Index = LE − 20 85 − 20 LEI is 1 when Life expectancy at birth is 85 and 0 when Life expectancy at birth is 20.2. Education Index = MYSI + EYSI 2 2.1 Mean Years of Schooling Index = MYS 15 Fifteen is the projected maximum of this indicator for 2025. 2.2 Expected Years of Schooling Index = EYS 18 Eighteen is equivalent to achieving a master's degree in most countries.3.
Income Index = ln − ln ln − ln II is 1 when GNI per capita is $75,000 and 0 when GNI per capita is $100. The HDI is the geometric mean of the previous three normalized indices: HDI = LEI ⋅ EI ⋅ II 3. LE: Life expectancy at birth MYS: Mean years of schooling EYS: Expected years of schooling GNIpc: Gross national income at purchasing power parity per capita The HDI combined three dimensions last used in its 2009 Report: Life expectancy at birth, as an index of population health and longevity to HDI Knowledge and education, as measured by the adult literacy rate and the combined primary and tertiary gross enrollment ratio. Standard of living, as indicated by the natural logarithm of gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity; this methodology was used by the UNDP until their 2011 report. The formula defining the HDI is promulgated by the United Nations Development Programme. In general, to transform a raw variable, say x, into a unit-free index between 0 and 1 (which allo
Canton of Ticino
The canton of Ticino, formally the Republic and Canton of Ticino is the southernmost canton of Switzerland. Ticino borders the canton of Uri to the north, the canton of Valais to the west, the canton of Graubünden to the northeast, Italy's regions of Piedmont and Lombardy to the south and it surrounds the small Italian enclave of Campione d'Italia. Named after the river Ticino, it is the only canton where Italian is the sole official language and represents the bulk of the Italian-speaking area of Switzerland along with the southern parts of Graubünden; the land now occupied by the canton was annexed from Italian cities in the 15th century by various Swiss forces in the last transalpine campaigns of the Old Swiss Confederacy. In the Helvetic Republic, established 1798, it was divided between the two new cantons of Bellinzona and Lugano; the creation of the Swiss Confederation in 1803 saw these two cantons combine to form the modern canton of Ticino. The name Ticino was chosen for the newly established canton in 1803, after the Ticino river which flows through it from the Novena Pass to Lake Maggiore.
Known as Ticinus in Roman times, the river appears on the Tabula Peutingeriana as Ticenum. Johann Kaspar Zeuss attributed Celtic origins to the name, tracing it to the Celtic tek, itself from an Indo-European root tak, meaning "melting, flowing". In ancient times, the area of what is today Ticino was settled by a Celtic tribe. Around the rule of Augustus, it became part of the Roman Empire. After the fall of the Western Empire, it was ruled by the Lombards and the Franks. Around 1100 it was the centre of struggle between the free communes of Milan and Como: in the 14th century it was acquired by the Visconti, Dukes of Milan. In the fifteenth century the Swiss Confederates conquered the valleys south of the Alps in three separate conquests. Between 1403 and 1422 some of these lands were annexed by forces from the Canton of Uri, but subsequently lost. Uri conquered the Leventina Valley in 1440. In a second conquest Uri and Nidwalden gained the town of Bellinzona and the Riviera in 1500; some of the land and Bellinzona itself were annexed by Uri in 1419 but lost again in 1422.
The third conquest was fought by troops from the entire Confederation. In 1512 Locarno, the Maggia Valley and Mendrisio were annexed. Subsequently, the upper valley of the Ticino River, from the St. Gotthard to the town of Biasca was part of Uri; the remaining territory was administered by the Twelve Cantons. These districts were governed by bailiffs holding office for two years and purchasing it from the members of the League; the lands of the canton of Ticino are the last lands to be conquered by the Swiss Confederation. The Confederation gave up any further conquests after their defeat at the battle of Marignano in 1515 by Francis I of France; the Val Leventina revolted unsuccessfully against Uri in 1755. In February 1798 an attempt of annexation by the Cisalpine Republic was repelled by a volunteer militia in Lugano. Between 1798 and 1803, during the Helvetic Republic, two cantons were created but in 1803 the two were unified to form the canton of Ticino that joined the Swiss Confederation as a full member in the same year under the Act of Mediation.
During the Napoleonic Wars, many Ticinesi served in Swiss military units allied with the French. The canton minted its own currency, the Ticinese franco, between 1813 and 1850, when it began use of the Swiss franc. In the early 19th century, the contemporary Franco-Danish scholar Conrad Malte-Brun stated that: “The canton of Tesino is the poorest, the people the most ignorant of any in Switzerland; until 1878 the three largest cities, Bellinzona and Locarno, alternated as capital of the canton. In 1878, Bellinzona became the only and permanent capital; the 1870–1891 period saw a surge of political turbulence in Ticino, the authorities needed the assistance of the federal government to restore order in several instances, in 1870, 1876, 1889 and 1890–1891. The current cantonal constitution dates from 1997; the previous constitution modified, was codified in 1830, nearly 20 years before the constitution of the Swiss Confederation. The canton of Ticino is in the south of Switzerland entirely surrounded by Italy.
To the north are the cantons of Valais and Uri, to the northeast the canton of Graubünden. Its area is 2,812 square kilometres, of which about three quarters are considered productive to trees or crops. Forests cover about a third of the area, but the lakes Maggiore and Lugano make up a considerable minority. Lying in the south of the Alps, the canton can be split into two at the Monte Ceneri pass; the northern, highest part, the Sopraceneri, is formed by the two major Swiss valleys around Lake Maggiore: Ticino valley and Maggia valley. The southern part, the Sottoceneri, is the region around Lake Lugano; the Ticino river is the largest river in the canton. It drains most of the canton, flowing from the northwest through the Bedretto valley and the Leventina valley to enter Lake Maggiore near Locarno, its main tributaries are the Brenno in the Blenio valley and the Moesa in the Mesolcina valley in Graubünden. The lands of most of the canton are shaped by the river, which in its mid portion forms a wide valley known a
Canton of Schwyz
The canton of Schwyz is a canton in central Switzerland between the Alps in the south, Lake Lucerne to the west and Lake Zürich in the north, centered on and named after the town of Schwyz. It is one of the founding cantons of Switzerland. For the history of the name, see Schwyz; the Swiss Federal Charter is on display in Schwyz. Northeast of the town of Schwyz is the Einsiedeln Abbey; the earliest traces of humans in Schwyz are from the Upper Paleolithic and Early Mesolithic or about 12,500 BC. An excavation of the karst caves in the valley of the Muota river revealed numerous sites, some dating back to the Younger Dryas period; the alpine meadows at Bödmeren, Twärenen and Silberen were stone age hunter-gatherer camps. Ibex and red deer bones along with charcoal indicate that the animals were butchered and cooked in these camps. In 2009 the first stone age tool in the canton, a stone drill, was discovered. During the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age there were a number of pile dwellings and other settlements around the lakes of the canton.
The two settlements at Hurden in Freienbach are part of the Prehistoric Pile dwellings around the Alps, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Hurden sites are related to the western Cortaillod culture. Sites on the island of Lützelau and the shore zone at Freienbach are eastern Pfyn culture and Corded Ware culture. During the Bronze Age several bridges were built between the promontory of Endingen in Rapperswil, St. Gallen and the settlements at Hurden. Over 200,000 posts and seven bridges have been discovered, along with several settlements and ritual sites. On the Schwyz side of the lake, ten different settlements from 4300-2700 BC have been discovered. However, after 1200 BC there is little evidence for further Bronze Age settlements in the canton. Only eight Iron Age sites have been discovered in the canton from the 8th to 1st centuries BC. During the Roman era a Roman Vicus was established at Kempraten in Rapperswil around the massive bridge at Seedamm which crossed into Schwyz. A Gallo-Roman temple was built on Ufenau island around AD 200 on the site of the present chapel of Sts.
Peter and Paul. A few Roman coin hoards were discovered at Küssnacht and Rickenbach bei Schwyz and Küssnacht may have been the site of a Roman estate. In 561 Schwyz became part of the Ducatus alamannorum and remained independent under the Alemanni dukes until the second quarter of the 8th century; the Alemanni began to settle into the valleys around 680, but for centuries the Germanic speaking Alemanni and the Romansh speaking Gallo-Romans coexisted. Romansh remained the main language in Einsiedeln until the 10th century. In the 8th and 9th centuries the land was under the Counts of the Zürichgau; the low-lying land along Lake Zürich was easy to reach and was settled throughout the Middle Ages. During the Middle Ages, the Muotathal area was used by seasonal herders but there were few permanent settlements. Küssnacht was first mentioned in the 9th century, but it is that there were earlier settlements; the forests around Einsiedeln were settled. A visit of the Irish monks and Columbanus in 611 is mentioned in the Gallusviten.
However, their missionary efforts were unsuccessful in Schwyz. In the late 7th century Christianity began to spread into the region; the church at Tuggen was first built around 680/700, while the Aisleless church at Schwyz was built after 700. In the following centuries, the monasteries at Säckingen, St. Gallen and Reichenau all became centers of spreading the faith. In 948, Einsiedeln Abbey was consecrated on the site of Saint Meinrad's murder in 861 in a high valley near Schwyz; when Einsiedeln Abbey was founded, it was granted many farms and isolated churches helping to spread Christianity into the high valleys. The valley of Schwyz is first mentioned in 972 under the name Suittes. A community of freemen is found settled at the foot of the Mythen; these freemen, possessing common lands, were subject only to the count of the Zürichgau, as representing the German king. The economy benefited from the transit across the Gotthard, but these profits attracted other powers, such as the Habsburgs; the inner or mountainous portion of Schwyz were controlled by the Counts of Lenzburg, until that line died out in 1173.
The Lenzburg lands were inherited by the Counts of Kyburg and Frohburg, the Lords of Rapperswil and the Habsburgs. During the 10th century Einsiedeln Abbey became more powerful; the expanding town of Schwyz encroached on lands that the abbey claimed. During the early 12th century, the Counts of Lenzburg unsuccessfully sued the abbey on behalf of Schwyz over land use and borders in the forest. Though the Counts were forced to pay a fine each time, the farmers of Schwyz continued to push into land claimed by the abbey, it soon controlled many of the surrounding lands, many of which are outside the area today covered by the canton of Schwyz. The outer or lake side parts of the canton were controlled by the Abbeys of St. Gallen, Pfäfers, Rüti and Schänis along with the Lords of Habsburg and Rapperswil. Both Pfäffikon Castle and Alt Rapperswil Castle were built by these landlords to control their landholdings. In contrast to the Swiss Plateau where the local nobility and knights ruled extensive landholdings for the regional counts, in Schwyz there were few local nobles and they were poorer and less important than the monasteries' representatives or the leaders of the local livestock collectives.
Much of the farming or grazing land in the inner portio