South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa, is the southernmost country in Africa. South Africa is the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and it is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different Bantu languages, the remaining population consists of Africas largest communities of European and multiracial ancestry. South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a variety of cultures, languages. Its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the recognition of 11 official languages. The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup détat, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a role in the countrys recent history. The National Party imposed apartheid in 1948, institutionalising previous racial segregation, since 1994, all ethnic and linguistic groups have held political representation in the countrys democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces.
South Africa is often referred to as the Rainbow Nation to describe the multicultural diversity. The World Bank classifies South Africa as an economy. Its economy is the second-largest in Africa, and the 34th-largest in the world, in terms of purchasing power parity, South Africa has the seventh-highest per capita income in Africa. However and inequality remain widespread, with about a quarter of the population unemployed, South Africa has been identified as a middle power in international affairs, and maintains significant regional influence. The name South Africa is derived from the geographic location at the southern tip of Africa. Upon formation the country was named the Union of South Africa in English, since 1961 the long form name in English has been the Republic of South Africa. In Dutch the country was named Republiek van Zuid-Afrika, replaced in 1983 by the Afrikaans Republiek van Suid-Afrika, since 1994 the Republic has had an official name in each of its 11 official languages. Mzansi, derived from the Xhosa noun umzantsi meaning south, is a name for South Africa.
South Africa contains some of the oldest archaeological and human fossil sites in the world, extensive fossil remains have been recovered from a series of caves in Gauteng Province. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has termed the Cradle of Humankind
Toulouse is the capital city of the southwestern French department of Haute-Garonne, as well as of the Occitanie region. The city lies on the banks of the River Garonne,150 kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea,230 km from the Atlantic Ocean and it is the fourth-largest city in France with 466,297 inhabitants in January 2014. The Toulouse Metro area is, with 1312304 inhabitants as of 2014, Frances 4th metropolitan area after Paris and Marseille and ahead of Lille and Bordeaux. Toulouse is the centre of the European aerospace industry, with the headquarters of Airbus, the Galileo positioning system, the SPOT satellite system, the Airbus Group, ATR and the Aerospace Valley. The city hosts the European headquarters of Intel and CNESs Toulouse Space Centre, thales Alenia Space, and Astrium Satellites, Airbus Groups satellite system subsidiary, have a significant presence in Toulouse. The University of Toulouse is one of the oldest in Europe and, with more than 103,000 students, is the fourth-largest university campus in France, after the Universities of Paris and Lille.
The air route between Toulouse Blagnac and Paris Orly is the busiest in Europe, transporting 2.4 million passengers in 2014, according to the rankings of LExpress and Challenges, Toulouse is the most dynamic French city. It is now the capital of the Occitanie region, the largest region in metropolitan France, the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe, designated in 1998 because of its significance to the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route. Toulouse is in the south of France, north of the department of Haute-Garonne, the city is traversed by the Canal de Brienne, the Canal du Midi and the rivers Garonne and Hers-Mort. Toulouse has a subtropical climate which can be qualified as submediterranean due to its proximity to the Mediterranean climate zone. The Garonne Valley was a point for trade between the Pyrenees, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic since at least the Iron Age. The historical name of the city, Tolosa, it is of unknown meaning or origin, possibly from Aquitanian, or from Iberian, Tolosa enters the historical period in the 2nd century BC, when it became a Roman military outpost.
After the conquest of Gaul, it was developed as a Roman city of Gallia Narbonensis. In the 5th century, Tolosa fell to the Visigothic kingdom and became one of its cities, in the early 6th century even serving as its capital. From this time, Toulouse was the capital of Aquitaine within the Frankish realm, in 721, Duke Odo of Aquitaine defeated an invading Umayyad Muslim army at the Battle of Toulouse. Odos victory was an obstacle to Muslim expansion into Christian Europe. Charles Martel, a later, won the Battle of Tours. The Frankish conquest of Septimania followed in the 750s, and a quasi-independent County of Toulouse emerged within the Carolingian sub-kingdom of Aquitaine by the late 8th century
Aerobatics is the practice of flying maneuvers involving aircraft altitudes that are not used in normal flight. Aerobatics are performed in airplanes and gliders for training, entertainment, some helicopters, such as the MBB Bo 105, are capable of limited aerobatic maneuvers. An example of a fully aerobatic helicopter, capable of performing loops, the term is sometimes referred to as acrobatics, especially when translated. Most aerobatic maneuvers involve rotation of the aircraft about its longitudinal axis or lateral axis, other maneuvers, such as a spin, displace the aircraft about its vertical axis. Maneuvers are often combined to form a complete sequence for entertainment or competition. Aerobatic flying requires a set of piloting skills and exposes the aircraft to greater structural stress than for normal flight. In some countries, the pilot must wear a parachute when performing aerobatics, aerobatic training enhances a pilots ability to recover from unusual flight conditions, and thus is an element of many flight safety training programs for pilots.
While many pilots fly aerobatics for recreation, some choose to fly in aerobatic competitions, in the early days of flying, some pilots used their aircraft as part of a flying circus to entertain. Among the earliest innovators in aerobatics the Frenchman Euclids name is foremost, maneuvers were flown for artistic reasons or to draw gasps from onlookers. In due course some of these maneuvers were found to allow aircraft to gain tactical advantage during combat or dogfights between fighter aircraft. Aerobatic aircraft fall into two categories—specialist aerobatic, and aerobatic capable, specialist designs such as the Pitts Special, the Extra 200 and 300, and the Sukhoi Su-26M and Sukhoi Su-29 aim for ultimate aerobatic performance. This comes at the expense of general use such as touring. Flight formation aerobatics are flown by teams of up to sixteen aircraft, some are state funded to reflect pride in the armed forces while others are commercially sponsored. Coloured smoke trails may be emitted to emphasise the patterns flown and/or the colours of a national flag, usually each team will use aircraft similar to one another finished in a special and dramatic colour scheme, thus emphasising their entertainment function.
Teams often fly V-formations — they will not fly directly behind another aircraft because of danger from wake vortices or engine exhaust, aircraft will always fly slightly below the aircraft in front, if they have to follow in line. Aerobatic maneuvers flown in an aircraft are limited in scope as they cannot take advantage of the gyroscopic forces that a propeller driven aircraft can exploit. Jet-powered aircraft tend to fly faster, which increases the size of the figures. Jet aerobatic teams often fly in formations, which restricts the maneuvers that can be safely flown
The largest city on the river Rhine is Cologne, with a population of more than 1,050,000 people. It is the second-longest river in Central and Western Europe, at about 1,230 km, with an average discharge of about 2,900 m3/s. The Rhine and the Danube formed most of the inland frontier of the Roman Empire and, since those days. The many castles and fortifications along the Rhine testify to its importance as a waterway in the Holy Roman Empire, in the modern era, it has become a symbol of German nationalism. The variant of the name of the Rhine in modern languages are all derived from the Gaulish name Rēnos, spanish is with French in adopting the Germanic vocalism Rin-, while Italian and Portuguese retain the Latin Ren-. The Gaulish name Rēnos belongs to a class of river names built from the PIE root *rei- to move, run, the grammatical gender of the Celtic name is masculine, and the name remains masculine in German and French. The Old English river name was variously inflected as masculine or feminine, the length of the Rhine is conventionally measured in Rhine-kilometers, a scale introduced in 1939 which runs from the Old Rhine Bridge at Constance to Hoek van Holland.
The river length is shortened from the rivers natural course due to a number of canalisation projects completed in the 19th and 20th century. The total length of the Rhine, to the inclusion of Lake Constance and its course is conventionally divided as follows, The Rhine carries its name without distinctive accessories only from the confluence of the Vorderrhein and Hinterrhein near Tamins-Reichenau. Above this point is the catchment of the headwaters of the Rhine. It belongs almost exclusively to the Swiss Canton of Graubünden, ranging from Gotthard Massif in the west via one valley lying in Ticino, Lake Toma near the Oberalp Pass in the Gotthard region is seen as the source of the Vorderrhein and the Rhine as a whole. The Hinterrhein rises in the Rheinwald valley below Mount Rheinwaldhorn, the Vorderrhein, or Anterior Rhine, springs from Lai da Tuma, near the Oberalp Pass and passes the impressive Ruinaulta formed by the largest visible rock slide in the alps, the Flims Rockslide. A multiday trekking route is signposted along the young Rhine called Senda Sursilvana, the Hinterrhein/Rein Posteriur, or Posterior Rhine, starts from the Paradies Glacier, near the Rheinwaldhorn.
One of its tributaries, the Reno di Lei, drains the Valle di Lei on politically Italian territory, after three main valleys separated by the two gorges and Viamala, it reaches Reichenau. The Vorderrhein arises from numerous source streams in the upper Surselva, one source is Lai da Tuma with the Rein da Tuma, which is usually indicated as source of the Rhine, flowing through it. Into it flow tributaries from the south, some longer, some equal in length, such as the Reno di Medel, the Rein da Maighels, and the Rein da Curnera. The Cadlimo Valley in the Canton of Ticino is drained by the Reno di Medel, all streams in the source area are partially, sometimes completely and sent to storage reservoirs for the local hydro-electric power plants. In its lower course the Vorderrhein flows through a gorge named Ruinaulta through the Flims Rockslide, the whole stretch of the Vorderrhein to the Rhine confluence near Reichenau-Tamins is accompanied by a long-distance hiking trail called Senda Sursilvana
Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a federal republic and a landlocked country of over 8.7 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north and Slovakia to the east and Italy to the south, the territory of Austria covers 83,879 km2. The terrain is mountainous, lying within the Alps, only 32% of the country is below 500 m. The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects of German as their native language, other local official languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene. The origins of modern-day Austria date back to the time of the Habsburg dynasty, from the time of the Reformation, many northern German princes, resenting the authority of the Emperor, used Protestantism as a flag of rebellion. Following Napoleons defeat, Prussia emerged as Austrias chief competitor for rule of a greater Germany, Austrias defeat by Prussia at the Battle of Königgrätz, during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, cleared the way for Prussia to assert control over the rest of Germany.
In 1867, the empire was reformed into Austria-Hungary, Austria was thus the first to go to war in the July Crisis, which would ultimately escalate into World War I. The First Austrian Republic was established in 1919, in 1938 Nazi Germany annexed Austria in the Anschluss. This lasted until the end of World War II in 1945, after which Germany was occupied by the Allies, in 1955, the Austrian State Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state, ending the occupation. In the same year, the Austrian Parliament created the Declaration of Neutrality which declared that the Second Austrian Republic would become permanently neutral, Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states. The capital and largest city, with a population exceeding 1.7 million, is Vienna, other major urban areas of Austria include Graz, Linz and Innsbruck. Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of $43,724, the country has developed a high standard of living and in 2014 was ranked 21st in the world for its Human Development Index.
Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, joined the European Union in 1995, Austria signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the euro currency in 1999. The German name for Austria, Österreich, meant eastern realm in Old High German, and is cognate with the word Ostarrîchi and this word is probably a translation of Medieval Latin Marchia orientalis into a local dialect. Austria was a prefecture of Bavaria created in 976, the word Austria is a Latinisation of the German name and was first recorded in the 12th century. Accordingly, Norig would essentially mean the same as Ostarrîchi and Österreich, the Celtic name was eventually Latinised to Noricum after the Romans conquered the area that encloses most of modern-day Austria, around 15 BC. Noricum became a Roman province in the mid-first century AD, heers hypothesis is not accepted by linguists. Settled in ancient times, the Central European land that is now Austria was occupied in pre-Roman times by various Celtic tribes, the Celtic kingdom of Noricum was claimed by the Roman Empire and made a province
The Netherlands, informally known as Holland is the main constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is a densely populated country located in Western Europe with three territories in the Caribbean. The European part of the Netherlands borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, sharing borders with Belgium, the United Kingdom. The three largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam and The Hague, Amsterdam is the countrys capital, while The Hague holds the Dutch seat of parliament and government. The port of Rotterdam is the worlds largest port outside East-Asia, the name Holland is used informally to refer to the whole of the country of the Netherlands. Netherlands literally means lower countries, influenced by its low land and flat geography, most of the areas below sea level are artificial. Since the late 16th century, large areas have been reclaimed from the sea and lakes, with a population density of 412 people per km2 –507 if water is excluded – the Netherlands is classified as a very densely populated country.
Only Bangladesh, South Korea, and Taiwan have both a population and higher population density. Nevertheless, the Netherlands is the worlds second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products and this is partly due to the fertility of the soil and the mild climate. In 2001, it became the worlds first country to legalise same-sex marriage, the Netherlands is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G-10, NATO, OECD and WTO, as well as being a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union. The first four are situated in The Hague, as is the EUs criminal intelligence agency Europol and this has led to the city being dubbed the worlds legal capital. The country ranks second highest in the worlds 2016 Press Freedom Index, the Netherlands has a market-based mixed economy, ranking 17th of 177 countries according to the Index of Economic Freedom. It had the thirteenth-highest per capita income in the world in 2013 according to the International Monetary Fund, in 2013, the United Nations World Happiness Report ranked the Netherlands as the seventh-happiest country in the world, reflecting its high quality of life.
The Netherlands ranks joint second highest in the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, the region called Low Countries and the country of the Netherlands have the same toponymy. Place names with Neder, Nieder and Nedre and Bas or Inferior are in use in all over Europe. They are sometimes used in a relation to a higher ground that consecutively is indicated as Upper, Oben. In the case of the Low Countries / the Netherlands the geographical location of the region has been more or less downstream. The geographical location of the region, changed over time tremendously
United Arab Emirates
In 2013, the UAEs population was 9.2 million, of which 1.4 million are Emirati citizens and 7.8 million are expatriates. The country is a federation of seven emirates, and was established on 2 December 1971, the constituent emirates are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras al-Khaimah and Umm al-Quwain. Each emirate is governed by a monarch, they jointly form the Federal Supreme Council. One of the monarchs is selected as the President of the United Arab Emirates, Islam is the official religion of the UAE and Arabic is the official language. The UAEs oil reserves are the seventh-largest in the world while its natural gas reserves are the worlds seventeenth-largest, Sheikh Zayed, ruler of Abu Dhabi and the first President of the UAE, oversaw the development of the Emirates and steered oil revenues into healthcare and infrastructure. The UAEs economy is the most diversified in the Gulf Cooperation Council, while its most populous city of Dubai is an important global city, the country remains principally reliant on its export of petroleum and natural gas.
The UAE is criticised for its rights record, including the specific interpretations of Sharia used in its legal system. The UAEs rising international profile has led analysts to identify it as a regional. It appears the land of the Emirates has been occupied for thousands of years, there is no proof of contact with the outside world at that stage, although in time it developed with civilisations in Mesopotamia and Iran. This contact persisted and became wide-ranging, probably motivated by trade in copper from the Hajar Mountains, in ancient times, Al Hasa was part of Al Bahreyn and adjoined Greater Oman. Sassanid groups were present on the Batinah coast, in 637, Julfar was an important port that was used as a staging post for the Islamic invasion of the Sassanian Empire. The area of the Al Ain/Buraimi Oasis was known as Tuam and was an important trading post for camel routes between the coast and the Arabian interior. The earliest Christian site in the UAE was first discovered in the 1990s, a monastic complex on what is now known as Sir Bani Yas Island.
Thought to be Nestorian and built in 600 AD, the church appears to have been abandoned peacefully in 750 AD and it forms a rare physical link to a legacy of Christianity which is thought to have spread across the peninsula from 50 to 350 AD following trade routes. Certainly, by the 5th century, Oman had a bishop named John – the last bishop of Oman being Etienne, in 676 AD. This led to a group of travelling to Medina, converting to Islam and subsequently driving a successful uprising against the unpopular Sassanids. Following the death of Prophet Muhammad, the new Islamic communities south of the Persian Gulf threatened to disintegrate, with insurrections against the Muslim leaders. The Caliph Abu Bakr sent an army from the capital Medina which completed its reconquest of the territory with the battle of Dibba in which 10,000 lives are thought to have been lost
France, officially the French Republic, is a country with territory in western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The European, or metropolitan, area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, Overseas France include French Guiana on the South American continent and several island territories in the Atlantic and Indian oceans. France spans 643,801 square kilometres and had a population of almost 67 million people as of January 2017. It is a unitary republic with the capital in Paris. Other major urban centres include Marseille, Lille, Toulouse, during the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. The area was annexed in 51 BC by Rome, which held Gaul until 486, France emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages, with its victory in the Hundred Years War strengthening state-building and political centralisation. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a colonial empire was established.
The 16th century was dominated by civil wars between Catholics and Protestants. France became Europes dominant cultural and military power under Louis XIV, in the 19th century Napoleon took power and established the First French Empire, whose subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War, the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, was formed in 1958 and remains to this day. Algeria and nearly all the colonies became independent in the 1960s with minimal controversy and typically retained close economic. France has long been a centre of art, science. It hosts Europes fourth-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and receives around 83 million foreign tourists annually, France is a developed country with the worlds sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest by purchasing power parity.
In terms of household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, France remains a great power in the world, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a member state of the European Union and the Eurozone. It is a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, originally applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name France comes from the Latin Francia, or country of the Franks
The Pitts Special is a series of light aerobatic biplanes designed by Curtis Pitts. It has accumulated many competition wins since its first flight in 1944, the Pitts biplanes dominated world aerobatic competition in the 1960s and 1970s and, even today, remain a potent competition aircraft in the lower categories. Curtis Pitts began the design of a single-seat aerobatic biplane in 1943–1944, the design has been refined continuously since the prototypes first flight in September 1944, the current Pitts S2 still remains quite close to the original in concept and in design. Several of the aircraft that Curtis Pitts built had a picture of a skunk on them and were called Stinkers, after she bought it, aerobatic performer Betty Skelton called the second aircraft that Curtis built, Lil Stinker. The prototype S-2, which was the first two-seat Pitts, was Big Stinker, the prototype Model 11 was Super Stinker, in 1962 Curtis Pitts set up Pitts Enterprises to sell plans of the S-1C to homebuilders. Certified versions of the Pitts are now produced by Aviat Aircraft in Afton, Wyoming.
It is available as the S1 single-seater with an up to 200 hp flat-4 Lycoming engine and a 17 ft 4 in wingspan, or as the S2 two-seater variant featuring a 260 hp flat-6 Lycoming, Pitts Specials have been equipped with engines of up to 450 hp. Plans for the single-seat Pitts S1-S are available from Aviat Aircraft, the S1-C and derivative S1-SS plans and kits are supplied by Steen Aero Lab in Palm Bay, Florida. Many hundreds of homebuilders have successfully completed and flown the Pitts since plans became available in 1960, all single-seat and two-seat Pitts Specials are variations on the basic design from 1944. The aircraft was popularized by Betty Skelton, Caro Bayley and other air show performers, Pitts produced limited numbers of aircraft during the 1940s and 1950s. The Pitts Special became the standard by all other aerobatic aircraft were judged. After a number of aircraft were produced from rough hand-drawn plans produced by Pitts. Factory-built aircraft produced by the Aerotek company at Afton, Wyoming were joined in production by the single-seat S-1S in 1973, in 1972, the US Aerobatic Team won the World Championships flying only Pitts biplanes.
In 1977 Curtis Pitts sold his interests in the Pitts S1 & S2 to Doyle Child, Child sold the rights in 1981 to Frank Christensen, who continued production at the Afton plant under the guise of Christen Industries. The rights for homebuilt versions of the Pitts were sold in 1994 to Steen Aero Lab, with the Afton factory, Curtis Pitts died in 2005 at age 89. The rights to the Pitts name is owned by Aviat which owns the similar model to the Pitts in the Christen Eagle. The current inverted flat spin world record is 98 set on March 20,2016 by air show performer Spencer Suderman over Yuma, Suderman flew the Sunbird S-1x, a Lycoming IO-540-powered experimental variant of the Pitts S1. The maneuver began from 24,500 over the Yuma Proving Grounds and was recovered at 2,000 AGL, S-1 Basic single-seat Pitts aerobatic biplane with a flat M6 aerofoil section and lower wing ailerons only, fitted with a variety of engines
Hungary is a unitary parliamentary republic in Central Europe. With about 10 million inhabitants, Hungary is a member state of the European Union. The official language is Hungarian, which is the most widely spoken language in Europe. Hungarys capital and largest metropolis is Budapest, a significant economic hub, major urban areas include Debrecen, Miskolc, Pécs and Győr. His great-grandson Stephen I ascended to the throne in 1000, converting the country to a Christian kingdom, by the 12th century, Hungary became a middle power within the Western world, reaching a golden age by the 15th century. Hungarys current borders were established in 1920 by the Treaty of Trianon after World War I, when the country lost 71% of its territory, 58% of its population, following the interwar period, Hungary joined the Axis Powers in World War II, suffering significant damage and casualties. Hungary became a state of the Soviet Union, which contributed to the establishment of a four-decade-long communist dictatorship.
On 23 October 1989, Hungary became again a democratic parliamentary republic, in the 21st century, Hungary is a middle power and has the worlds 57th largest economy by nominal GDP, as well as the 58th largest by PPP, out of 188 countries measured by the IMF. As a substantial actor in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the worlds 36th largest exporter and importer of goods, Hungary is a high-income economy with a very high standard of living. It keeps up a security and universal health care system. Hungary joined the European Union in 2004 and part of the Schengen Area since 2007, Hungary is a member of the United Nations, NATO, WTO, World Bank, the AIIB, the Council of Europe and Visegrád Group. Well known for its cultural history, Hungary has been contributed significantly to arts, literature and science. Hungary is the 11th most popular country as a tourist destination in Europe and it is home to the largest thermal water cave system, the second largest thermal lake in the world, the largest lake in Central Europe, and the largest natural grasslands in Europe.
The H in the name of Hungary is most likely due to historical associations with the Huns. The rest of the word comes from the Latinized form of Medieval Greek Oungroi, according to an explanation the Greek name was borrowed from Proto-Slavic Ǫgǔri, in turn borrowed from Oghur-Turkic Onogur. Onogur was the name for the tribes who joined the Bulgar tribal confederacy that ruled the eastern parts of Hungary after the Avars. The Hungarians likely belonged to the Onogur tribal alliance and it is possible they became its ethnic majority. The Hungarian endonym is Magyarország, composed of magyar and ország, the word magyar is taken from the name of one of the seven major semi-nomadic Hungarian tribes, magyeri
Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a federal republic in Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in western-Central Europe, and is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning an area of 41,285 km2. The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria. 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 has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815, nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to international organisations.
On the European level, it is a member of the European Free Trade Association. 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, French and Romansh. Due to its diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names, Suisse, Svizzera. On coins and stamps, Latin is used instead of the four living 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. Zürich and Geneva have each been ranked among the top cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with the former ranked second globally, according to Mercer. The English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, a term for the Swiss. 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, 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, ultimately related to swedan ‘to burn’