Mont Blanc massif
The Mont Blanc massif is a mountain range in the Alps, located mostly in France and Italy, but straddling Switzerland at its northeastern end. It contains eleven major independent summits, each over 4,000 metres in height, and is named after Mont Blanc, the mountains of the massif consist mostly of granite and gneiss rocks, and at high altitudes the vegetation is an arctic-alpine flora. The valleys that delimit the massif were used as communication routes by the Romans until they left around the 5th century AD, the region has remained of some military importance through to the mid-20th century. A peasant farming economy operated within these valleys for centuries until the glaciers. Word of these impressive sights began to spread, and Mont Blanc was finally climbed in 1786, the region is now a major tourist destination, drawing in over six million visitors per year. It provides a range of opportunities for outdoor recreation and activities such as sight-seeing, hiking. Around one hundred people a year die across its mountains and, bodies have been lost, access into the mountains is facilitated by cable cars, mountain railways and mountain huts which offer overnight refuge to climbers and skiers.
The long-distance Tour du Mont Blanc hiking trail circumnavigates the whole massif in an 11-day trek of 170 kilometres, the Mont Blanc Tunnel connects the French town of Chamonix on the northern side with the Italian town of Courmayeur in the south. The high mountains have provided opportunities for scientific research, including neutrino measurements within the Tunnel. The Mont Blanc massif is 46 kilometres long and lies in a southwest to northeasterly direction across the borders of France, Italy, at its widest point the massif is 20 km across. The northern side of the massif lies mostly within France, and is bounded by the valley of the River Arve, containing the towns of Argentière, Chamonix and Les Houches. The southern side of the massif lies mostly within Italy and is bounded by the Val Veny, from Courmayeur these waters flow southwards as the Dora Baltea towards Aosta, eventually joining the Po river. However, the southwestern end of the massif does lie within France and is bounded by the Vallée des Glaciers.
The northeastern end of the massif falls within Switzerland, and is bounded by a valley, confusingly called Val Ferret. Its watercourse, la Dranse de Ferret, flows northwards to join the Rhône at Martigny, the borders of all three countries converge at a tripoint near the summit of Mont Dolent at an altitude of 3,820 metres. From here the border turns southwards over the Dômes de Miage, the Swiss – Italian border runs southwest from Mont Dolent, down to the twin passes of Col Ferret. The massif contains 11 main summits over 4,000 metres in altitude, crowning the massif is Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps and in western Europe. From the summit of Mont Blanc to the River Arve near Chamonix there is a 3,800 metres drop over a distance of just 8 kilometres, because of its great elevation, much of the massif is snow- and ice-covered, and has been deeply dissected by glaciers
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’
Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange
Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange, is the heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, consisting of the countries of the Netherlands, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten. Princess Catharina-Amalia is the eldest child of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima and she became heir apparent when her father ascended the throne on 30 April 2013. Princess Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria was born at 17,01 CET on 7 December 2003 in the HMC Bronovo in The Hague, as the first child of the then-Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima. On 12 June 2004, Catharina-Amalia was baptised by Reverend Carel ter Linden in the Great Church in The Hague, Princess Catharina-Amalia has two younger sisters, Princess Alexia and Princess Ariane. She lives with her parents and sisters in Villa Eikenhorst on the estate De Horsten in Wassenaar, the family will move to Huis ten Bosch in The Hague in the future. Since 10 December 2007, Catharina-Amalia has attended the primary school Bloemcampschool in Wassenaar.
She now attends the Christelijk Gymnasium Sorghvliet in the Hague, where her aunt Princess Laurentien attended and she speaks Dutch and some Spanish. On her seventh birthday, a Douglas C-47 Skytrain once owned by her great-grandfather, the princess herself was prevented from attending the naming ceremony by school obligations. Catharina-Amalia was one of the bridesmaids at the wedding of her godmother, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, and Daniel Westling, Princess Catharina-Amalia will assume a seat in the Advisory Division of the Council of State of the Netherlands upon reaching the age of majority at 18. Upon the abdication, Princess Catharina-Amalia became the Princess of Orange as heir apparent, at the website of the Royal House of the Netherlands
Canton of Bern
The canton of Bern is the second largest of the 26 Swiss cantons by both surface area and population. Located in west-central Switzerland, it borders the canton of Jura, to the west lie the canton of Neuchâtel, the canton of Fribourg and Vaud. To the south lies the canton of Valais, east of the canton of Bern lie the cantons of Uri, Obwalden and Aargau. The canton of Bern is bilingual and has a population of 1,017,483, as of 2007, the population included 119,930 foreigners. The cantonal capital, the capital of Switzerland, is Bern. Bern joined the Swiss Confederation in 1353 and was between 1803 and 1814 one of the six directorial cantons of the Napoleonic Swiss Confederation and these caves were used at various times during the last ice age. The first open-air settlement in the area is an upper paleolithic settlement at Moosbühl in Moosseedorf, during the warmer climate of the mesolithic period, increasing forest cover restricted the movement of hunters and gatherers. Their temporary settlements were built along lake and marsh edges, which remained free of trees due to fluctuations in water level, important mesolithic sites in the Canton are at Pieterlenmoos and Burgäschisee lake along with alpine valleys at Diemtig and Simmental.
During the neolithic period, there were a number of settlements on the shores of Lake Biel, several of these sites are part of the Prehistoric Pile dwellings around the Alps, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the best explored neolithic sites is at Twann, in the Twannbach delta there were about 25 Cortaillod culture and Horgen culture villages that existed between 3800 and 2950 BC. One of the oldest examples of bread from Switzerland, a sourdough from 3560–3530 BC, simple copper objects were already in use in the 4th millennium BC, including a copper pin from Lattrigen from 3170 BC and a knife blade from Twann. Shortly before 2000 BC bronze production entered the area and brought about a surge in development, settlements began to spread into the pre-Alpine and Alpine areas. The area between Lake Thun and the Niedersimmental were densely settled, Late Bronze Age settlements along Lake Biel have yielded up a wealth of items. During the early Iron Age changes in climate forced them to settlements along many waterways and in the valley floors and move to the plateaus.
With increased trade contacts across the Alps, the influence of the Mediterranean grew in the area. Evidence of this include a hydria which was discovered in Grächwil. Burial rituals and social classes became more developed during this time, the so-called princely graves became more common, many of the burial mounds were over 30 m in diameter and 4 m high and richly outfitted with grave goods. In a grave mound in Bützberg the first burial in the mound was followed by burials
The Monte Rosa and the lower Gornergrat at 3,090 m. Monte Rosa is one of the high mountains surrounding the 40 km long Matter Valley south of Stalden. On the southwest to west are Liskamm, Zwillinge with Castor and Pollux, the Breithorn and the Matterhorn, on the north are the Weisshorn, there are no convenient mode of subdividing the range. However the natural limits of the district can be defined on the side by the two branches of the Visp torrent. Within the line so traced, exceeding 450 km in length, the direction of the ranges and the depressions offers a marked contrast to that prevailing throughout the adjoining regions of the Alps. Unless in a part of the Italian valleys, the direction here is either parallel or perpendicular to the meridian. The minor ridges on the side of the border are parallel to this latter range, with their corresponding depressions occupied by the glaciers of Gorner. On clear days the mountainous massif of Monte Rosa provides a view from the Po plain, particularly its upper reaches in western Lombardy.
It dominates the horizon, towering between other lesser Alpine peaks as a prominent, multi-pointed, razor-sharp bulge, its permanent glaciers shining under the sun, - John Ball The massif is the border between Switzerland and Italy, though glacial melt has caused some alterations to the border. These changes were ratified by the two countries in 2009 and will continue to be subject to change as melting continues, the entire massif consists mainly of granite and granite gneiss. Rocks in the paragneiss of the Monte Rosa Nappe record eclogite-facies metamorphism, the deformation of the Monte Rosa granites indicates a depth of subduction of about 60 km. They were brought to the surface by uplift, which still continues today. The summit is a sharp, jagged edge of mica schist connected by an arête with the Nordend, being the highest point in Switzerland, Monte Rosa is one of the most extreme places. The average air pressure is about half of that of the sea level, the snow line is located at about 3,000 metres.
The Monte Rosa massif is popular for mountaineering, hiking and snowboarding and it hosts several ski resorts with long pistes. Plateau Rosa, about 3,500 metres high sea level, is a renowned summer ski resort. The Plateau Rosa is connected via aerial tramway to Cervinia and to Zermatt via the Klein Matterhorn, the western fringes of the massif reach the Zermatt ski domain. Gressoney, Alagna Valsesia and Macugnaga are the main mountain, the Tour of Monte Rosa can be effected by trekkers in about 10 days. The circuit follows many ancient trails that have linked the Swiss, the circuit includes larch forests, alpine meadows, balcony trails and a glacial crossing
A mountain is a large landform that stretches above the surrounding land in a limited area, usually in the form of a peak. A mountain is steeper than a hill. Mountains are formed through tectonic forces or volcanism and these forces can locally raise the surface of the earth. Mountains erode slowly through the action of rivers, weather conditions, a few mountains are isolated summits, but most occur in huge mountain ranges. High elevations on mountains produce colder climates than at sea level and these colder climates strongly affect the ecosystems of mountains, different elevations have different plants and animals. Because of the less hospitable terrain and climate, mountains tend to be used less for agriculture and more for resource extraction and recreation, the highest mountain on Earth is Mount Everest in the Himalayas of Asia, whose summit is 8,850 m above mean sea level. The highest known mountain on any planet in the Solar System is Olympus Mons on Mars at 21,171 m, there is no universally accepted definition of a mountain.
Elevation, relief, steepness and continuity have been used as criteria for defining a mountain, whether a landform is called a mountain may depend on local usage. The highest point in San Francisco, California, is called Mount Davidson, notwithstanding its height of 300 m, Mount Scott outside Lawton, Oklahoma is only 251 m from its base to its highest point. Whittows Dictionary of Physical Geography states Some authorities regard eminences above 600 metres as mountains, in addition, some definitions include a topographical prominence requirement, typically 100 or 500 feet. For a while, the US defined a mountain as being 1,000 feet or taller, any similar landform lower than this height was considered a hill. However, the United States Geological Survey concludes that these terms do not have technical definitions in the US, using these definitions, mountains cover 33% of Eurasia, 19% of South America, 24% of North America, and 14% of Africa. As a whole, 24% of the Earths land mass is mountainous, there are three main types of mountains, volcanic and block.
All three types are formed from plate tectonics, when portions of the Earths crust move, compressional forces, isostatic uplift and intrusion of igneous matter forces surface rock upward, creating a landform higher than the surrounding features. The height of the feature makes it either a hill or, if higher and steeper, major mountains tend to occur in long linear arcs, indicating tectonic plate boundaries and activity. Volcanoes are formed when a plate is pushed below another plate, at a depth of around 100 km, melting occurs in rock above the slab, and forms magma that reaches the surface. When the magma reaches the surface, it builds a volcanic mountain. Examples of volcanoes include Mount Fuji in Japan and Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, the magma does not have to reach the surface in order to create a mountain, magma that solidifies below ground can still form dome mountains, such as Navajo Mountain in the US
Jean-Antoine Carrel was an Italian mountain climber and guide. He had made climbs with Edward Whymper and was his rival when he attempted to climb the Matterhorn for the first time, Whymper ultimately succeeded in making the mountains first ascent in July 1865 while Carrel led the party that achieved the second ascent three days later. Carrel was in the group became the first Europeans to reach the summit of Chimborazo in 1880. He died from exhaustion when guiding a party on the side of the Matterhorn. Carrel was born on 16 January 1829 in Valtournenche, in the Aosta Valley and he served in the Bersaglieri, a light infantry unit of the Piedmontese army. Carrel first attempted to climb the Matterhorns Lion Ridge in 1857—by which time the mountain was the tallest unclimbed peak in the Alps—with his uncle, Whympers party outclimbed the Italians and reached the summit on 14 July 1865, marking the first ascent of the Matterhorn. Carrel and his Italian party successfully summited the Matterhorn three days later, Carrel died in August 1891 while guiding a party on the south side of the Matterhorn.
After ensuring that his clients descended the mountain safely and easily in a storm, he collapsed from exhaustion. The manner of his death strikes a chord in hearts he never knew
The Signalkuppe known as Punta Gnifetti is a peak in the Pennine Alps on the border between Italy and Switzerland. It is a subpeak of Monte Rosa, the mountain is named after the Signal, a prominent gendarme atop the east ridge, named Cresta Signal. The first ascent was made by Giovanni Gnifetti, a parish priest from Alagna Valsesia, together with J. Farinetti, grober, J. and G. Giordiano and their porters on 9 August 1842. The highest hut in Europe, the Margherita Hut lies on the summit of the mountain, work started in 1890, supported by the Italian crown, and Queen Margherita opened it in 1893. The new hut, a high-altitude Faraday Cage, is clad in copper to shield against unwanted electrical fields
Guillaume Henri Dufour
Guillaume Henri Dufour was a Swiss army officer, bridge engineer and topographer. He served under Napoleon I and held the office of General four times in career, Dufour presided over the First Geneva Convention which established the International Red Cross. He was founder and president of the Swiss Federal Office of Topography from 1838 to 1865, the Dufourspitze in the Monte Rosa Massif is named after Dufour. Dufour was born in Konstanz, where his parents were exiled from Geneva. His father Bénédict was a Genevan watchmaker and farmer, who sent his son to school in Geneva, in 1807, Dufour travelled to Paris to join the École Polytechnique, a military academy. He studied descriptive geometry under Jean Nicolas Pierre Hachette, and graduated fifth in his class in 1809, in 1810, he was sent to help defend Corfu against the British, and spent his time mapping the islands old fortifications. By 1814, he had returned to France, and was awarded the Croix de la Légion dHonneur for his work repairing fortifications at Lyons.
In 1817, he returned to Geneva to become commander of the Canton of Genevas military engineers and his duties included preparing a map of the Canton. Dufour remained a General in the army, among the officers serving under him was Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of the former Emperor. In 1847 the Catholic cantons of Switzerland attempted to form an alliance of their own, known as the Sonderbund. He ordered his troops to spare the injured, in 1850 the mountaineer and topographer Johann Coaz served as his private secretary. In 1863 he was part of a committee which, under Henry Dunant led to the foundation of the International Red Cross, on 16 July 1875,60,000 persons participated at Dufours burial at Cimetière de Plainpalais in Geneva. Dufour acted as engineer from 1817, although he was not officially appointed as such until 1828. His work included rebuilding a pumping station and bridges and he joined with others to promote a new bridge across the Genevan fortifications, consulting with Seguin on how it might be built, receiving back a series of sketches.
Dufour developed the design in late 1822, proposing a two-span suspension bridge using wire cables - this would become the first permanent wire cable bridge in the world. The design used three cables on each side of an iron and timber bridge deck, the cables stretched 131 feet between the towers, although the largest span was only 109 feet. Bronze bust, made by Fonderie Leuba, B, succ. at Army Training Center, Lucerne His home from 1845-1875 at Rue de Contamines, Geneva, is preserved by a foundation. There is Dufourplatz in Zollikon, the general was depicted on the 20 francs note of the 1956 series of Swiss banknotes