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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
The Rheinwaldhorn is the highest point in the Swiss canton of Ticino at 3,402 metres above sea level. It lies on the border between the cantons of Graubünden and Ticino, in the Adula massif, part of the St. Gotthard massif of the Lepontine Alps in southern Switzerland; the mountain is known under different names, Adula or Piz Valrhein. The group of the snowy peaks lying between the two principal branches of the Rhine were known in the Middle Ages by the names Mons Aquila or Mons Avium. From the Romansh form of the first comes the name Adula, used to designate the north-eastern portion of the Lepontine Alps; the German name "Rheinwaldhorn" comes from the Rheinwald region. The Rheinwaldhorn is the culminating point of the eastern portion of the Lepontine Alps and the Adula group. In this area, the watershed between the Rhine and the Po river has no determinate direction, exhibits a dislocated appearance; the peaks of the Adula form an irregular group, all the highest lying in a cluster not more five kilometres distant from the centre, which may be fixed as the foot of the Rheinwald Glacier.
From the central group a considerable range extends due south more than 15 kilometres, between Val Blenio and Val Calanca diminishing in height. A parallel ridge connected with the main massif divides the Val Calanca from Val Mesocco; the northern ridge, longer but less regular than the first-mentioned, extends 20 kilometres, from the central group to the Piz Nadils over Sumvitg in the valley of the Vorderrhein. Politically, the summit of the Rheinwaldhorn is split between three municipalities. On the west side is the municipality of Blenio and on the east side are the municipalities of Vals and Hinterrhein; the summit of the Rheinwaldhorn was first reached in 1789 by Placidus a Spescha. For seventy years no attempts seems to have been made to repeat the ascent. In 1859, Weilenmann reached the summit alone; the next and third recorded ascent was made in 1861 by Coaz, with three companions, a chamois-hunter named Peter Anton Jellier, of Vals. Coaz gave an account of the expedition in the Jahresbericht der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft Graubünden.
Sleeping at the Zapport Alps, they mounted to the spot named Paradies, located below the Paradies Glacier. A faint sheep-tract was followed for some distance: they took to the glacier, but after some time returned to its southern bank; the first stage of the ascent was completed when they gained the col in the ridge between the Rheinwaldhorn and Güferhorn. From thence the way lay along the arête; this was narrow, in some places difficult, where steep rocks projected through the névé. After overcoming the rocks, the travellers found the ridge wider, but much steeper than below, to reach the highest point it was necessary to wind round the north side of the peak, so that the final climb was made from the north-west; the summit is a ridge about 200 feet long, running from north to south, in one part bare of snow. Here in the two following ascents were found some remains of the cairn erected there seventy years before by Placidus a Spescha; the peaks of the Adula group had not been frequented by foreign travellers until 1863, when Morshead made the first ascent of the Vogelberg.
In the following year Freshfield, with two friends, reached the summit of the Rheinwaldhorn from the side of the Lenta Glacier, striking the shoulder of the peak above the lowest point in the ridge connecting it with the Güferhorn. The first winter solo ascent was made by Daniele Gianora in 1942. Nature parks in Switzerland List of mountains of Ticino List of mountains of Switzerland Rheinwaldhorn on Summitpost Rheinwaldhorn on Hikr Rheinwaldhorn on wandelpaden.com
A glacier is a persistent body of dense ice, moving under its own weight. Glaciers deform and flow due to stresses induced by their weight, creating crevasses and other distinguishing features, they abrade rock and debris from their substrate to create landforms such as cirques and moraines. Glaciers form only on land and are distinct from the much thinner sea ice and lake ice that form on the surface of bodies of water. On Earth, 99% of glacial ice is contained within vast ice sheets in the polar regions, but glaciers may be found in mountain ranges on every continent including Oceania's high-latitude oceanic island countries such as New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Between 35°N and 35°S, glaciers occur only in the Himalayas, Rocky Mountains, a few high mountains in East Africa, New Guinea and on Zard Kuh in Iran. Glaciers cover about 10 percent of Earth's land surface. Continental glaciers cover nearly 13 million km2 or about 98 percent of Antarctica's 13.2 million km2, with an average thickness of 2,100 m.
Greenland and Patagonia have huge expanses of continental glaciers. Glacial ice is the largest reservoir of fresh water on Earth. Many glaciers from temperate and seasonal polar climates store water as ice during the colder seasons and release it in the form of meltwater as warmer summer temperatures cause the glacier to melt, creating a water source, important for plants and human uses when other sources may be scant. Within high-altitude and Antarctic environments, the seasonal temperature difference is not sufficient to release meltwater. Since glacial mass is affected by long-term climatic changes, e.g. precipitation, mean temperature, cloud cover, glacial mass changes are considered among the most sensitive indicators of climate change and are a major source of variations in sea level. A large piece of compressed ice, or a glacier, appears blue, as large quantities of water appear blue; this is. The other reason for the blue color of glaciers is the lack of air bubbles. Air bubbles, which give a white color to ice, are squeezed out by pressure increasing the density of the created ice.
The word glacier is a loanword from French and goes back, via Franco-Provençal, to the Vulgar Latin glaciārium, derived from the Late Latin glacia, Latin glaciēs, meaning "ice". The processes and features caused by or related to glaciers are referred to as glacial; the process of glacier establishment and flow is called glaciation. The corresponding area of study is called glaciology. Glaciers are important components of the global cryosphere. Glaciers are categorized by their morphology, thermal characteristics, behavior. Cirque glaciers form on the slopes of mountains. A glacier that fills a valley is called a valley glacier, or alternatively an alpine glacier or mountain glacier. A large body of glacial ice astride a mountain, mountain range, or volcano is termed an ice cap or ice field. Ice caps have an area less than 50,000 km2 by definition. Glacial bodies larger than 50,000 km2 are called continental glaciers. Several kilometers deep, they obscure the underlying topography. Only nunataks protrude from their surfaces.
The only extant ice sheets are the two that cover most of Greenland. They contain vast quantities of fresh water, enough that if both melted, global sea levels would rise by over 70 m. Portions of an ice sheet or cap that extend into water are called ice shelves. Narrow, fast-moving sections of an ice sheet are called ice streams. In Antarctica, many ice streams drain into large ice shelves; some drain directly into the sea with an ice tongue, like Mertz Glacier. Tidewater glaciers are glaciers that terminate in the sea, including most glaciers flowing from Greenland, Antarctica and Ellesmere Islands in Canada, Southeast Alaska, the Northern and Southern Patagonian Ice Fields; as the ice reaches the sea, pieces break off, or calve. Most tidewater glaciers calve above sea level, which results in a tremendous impact as the iceberg strikes the water. Tidewater glaciers undergo centuries-long cycles of advance and retreat that are much less affected by the climate change than those of other glaciers.
Thermally, a temperate glacier is at melting point throughout the year, from its surface to its base. The ice of a polar glacier is always below the freezing point from the surface to its base, although the surface snowpack may experience seasonal melting. A sub-polar glacier includes both temperate and polar ice, depending on depth beneath the surface and position along the length of the glacier. In a similar way, the thermal regime of a glacier is described by its basal temperature. A cold-based glacier is below freezing at the ice-ground interface, is thus frozen to the underlying substrate. A warm-based glacier is above or at freezing at the interface, is able to slide at this contact; this contrast is thought to a large extent to govern the ability of a glacier to erode its bed, as sliding ice promotes plucking at rock from the surface below. Glaciers which are cold-based and warm-based are known as polythermal. Glaciers form where the accumulation of ice exceeds ablation. A glacier originates from a landform called'cirque' – a armchair-shaped geological feature (such as a depressio
The Alpine region of Switzerland, conventionally referred to as the Swiss Alps, represents a major natural feature of the country and is, along with the Swiss Plateau and the Swiss portion of the Jura Mountains, one of its three main physiographic regions. The Swiss Alps extend over both the Western Alps and the Eastern Alps, encompassing an area sometimes called Central Alps. While the northern ranges from the Bernese Alps to the Appenzell Alps are in Switzerland, the southern ranges from the Mont Blanc massif to the Bernina massif are shared with other countries such as France, Italy and Liechtenstein; the Swiss Alps comprise all the highest mountains of the Alps, such as Dufourspitze, the Dom, the Liskamm, the Weisshorn and the Matterhorn. The other following major summits can be found in this list of mountains of Switzerland. Since the Middle Ages, transit across the Alps played an important role in history; the region north of St Gotthard Pass became the nucleus of the Swiss Confederacy in the early 14th century.
The Alps cover 65% of Switzerland's total 41,285 square kilometres surface area, making it one of the most alpine countries. Despite the fact that Switzerland covers only 14% of the Alps total 192,753 square kilometres area, 48 out of 82 alpine four-thousanders are located in the Swiss Alps and all of the remaining 34 are within 20 kilometres of the country's border; the glaciers of the Swiss Alps cover an area of 1,220 square kilometres — 3% of the Swiss territory, representing 44% of the total glaciated area in the Alps i.e. 2,800 square kilometres. The Swiss Alps are situated south of the Swiss north of the national border; the limit between the Alps and the plateau runs from Vevey on the shores of Lake Geneva to Rorschach on the shores of Lake Constance, passing close to the cities of Thun and Lucerne. The not well defined regions in Switzerland that lie on the margin of the Alps those on the north side, are called the Swiss Prealps; the Swiss Prealps are made of limestone and they do not exceed 2,500 metres.
The Alpine cantons are Valais, Graubünden, Glarus, Ticino, St. Gallen, Obwalden, Schwyz, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Fribourg and Zug; the countries with which Switzerland shares mountain ranges of the Alps are: France, Italy and Liechtenstein. The Alps are divided into two main parts, the Western Alps and Eastern Alps, whose division is along the Rhine from Lake Constance to the Splügen Pass; the western ranges occupy the greatest part of Switzerland while the more numerous eastern ranges are much smaller and are all situated in the canton of Graubünden. The latter are part of the Central Eastern Alps, except the Ortler Alps which belong to the Southern Limestone Alps; the Pennine and Bernina Range are the highest ranges of the country, they contain 38, 9 and 1 summit over 4000 metres. The lowest range is the Appenzell Alps culminating at 2,500 metres. Western Alps Eastern Alps The north side of the Swiss Alps is drained by the Rhône, Rhine and Inn while the south side is drained by the Ticino.
The rivers on the north empty into the Mediterranean and Black Sea, on the south the Po empty in the Adriatic Sea. The major triple watersheds in the Alps are located within the country, they are: Piz Lunghin, Witenwasserenstock and Monte Forcola. Between the Witenwasserenstock and Piz Lunghin runs the European Watershed separating the basin of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea; the European watershed lies in fact only on the main chain. Switzerland possesses 6% of Europe's fresh water, is sometimes referred to as the "water tower of Europe". Since the highest dams are located in Alpine regions, many large mountain lakes are artificial and are used as hydroelectric reservoirs; some large artificial lakes can be found above 2,300 m, but natural lakes larger than 1 km2 are below 1,000 m. The melting of low-altitude glaciers can generate new lakes, such as the 0.25 km2 large Triftsee which formed between 2002–2003. The following table gives the surface area above 2000 m and 3000 m and the respective percentage on the total area of each canton whose high point is above 2000 metres.
The composition of the great tectonic units reflects the history of the formation of the Alps. The rocks from the Helvetic zone on the north and the Austroalpine nappes – Southern Alps on the south come from the European and African continent respectively; the rocks of the Penninic nappes belong to the former area of the Briançonnais microcontinent and the Tethys Ocean. The closure of the latter by subduction under the African plate preceded the collision between the two plates and the so-called alpine orogeny; the major thrust fault of the Tectonic Arena Sardona in the eastern Glarus Alps gives a visible illustration of mountain-building processes and was therefore declared a UNESCO World Heritage. Another fine example gives the Alpstein area with several visible upfolds of Helvetic zone material. With some exceptions, the Alps north of Rhône and Rhine are part of the Helvetic Zone and those on the south side are part of the Penninic nappes; the Austroalpine zone concerns only the Eastern Alps, with the n
The canton of Grisons, or canton of Graubünden, is the largest and easternmost canton of Switzerland. It has international borders with Italy and Liechtenstein, its German name, Graubünden, translates as the "Grey Leagues", referring to the canton's origin in three local alliances, the League of God's House, the Grey League, the League of the Ten Jurisdictions. Grisons is home to three of Switzerland's ethnic groups, whose spoken languages—Swiss German and Romansh—are all native to the canton, it is the only trilingual canton and the only canton where the Romansh language has official status. Grisons is Switzerland's largest canton by area at 7,105.2 square kilometres, 19.2% larger than the Canton of Bern. Only about a third of this is regarded as productive land of which forests cover about a fifth of the total area; the canton is mountainous, comprising the highlands of the Rhine and Inn river valleys. In its southeastern part lies the only official Swiss National Park. In its northern part the mountains were formed as part of the thrust fault, in 2008 declared a geologic UNESCO World Heritage Site, under the name Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona.
Another Biosphere Reserve is the Biosfera Val Müstair adjacent to the Swiss National Park, while Ela Nature Park is one of the regionally supported parks. Elevations in the Grison Alps include Tödi, at 3,614 metres, the highest peak, Piz Bernina, at 4,049 metres. Many of the mountain ranges feature extensive glaciers, such as at the Adula, the Albula, the Silvretta, the Bernina, the Bregaglia and the Rätikon ranges; the mountain ranges in the central area are steep, having some of the deepest valleys in Europe. These valleys were settled by the Raetians. Grisons borders on the cantons of St. Gallen to the north, Glarus to the north-west, Uri to the west, Ticino to the south-west; the capital city is Chur. The world-famous resorts of St. Moritz and Davos-Klosters are located in the canton, complemented by the larger all-year-round tourist destinations of Arosa, Lenzerheide, Scuol-Sammnaun and more; the inhabitants of Grisons are called Grisonians. Most of the lands of the canton were once part of a Roman province called Raetia, established in 15 BC.
The current capital of Grisons, was known as Curia in Roman times. The area was part of the lands of the diocese of Chur. In 1367 the League of God's House was founded to resist the rising power of the Bishop of Chur; this was followed by the establishment of the Grey League, sometimes called Oberbund, in 1395 in the Upper Rhine valley. The name Grey League is derived from the homespun grey clothes worn by the people and was used after 16 March 1424; the name of this league gave its name to the canton of Grisons. A third league was established in 1436 by the people of ten bailiwicks in the former Toggenburg countship, as the dynasty of Toggenburg had become extinct; the league was called League of the Ten Jurisdictions. The first step towards the canton of Grisons was when the league of the Ten Jurisdictions allied with the League of God's House in 1450. In 1471 the two leagues allied with the Grey League. In 1497 and 1498 the Leagues allied with the Old Swiss Confederacy after the Habsburgs acquired the possessions of the extinct Toggenburg dynasty in 1496, siding with the Confederacy in the Swabian War three years later.
The Habsburgs were defeated at Calven Gorge and Dornach, helping the Swiss Confederation and the allied leagues of the canton of Grisons to be recognised. However the Three Leagues remained a loose association until the Bundesbrief of 23 September 1524; the last traces of the Bishop of Chur's jurisdiction were abolished in 1526. The Musso war of 1520 drove the Three Leagues closer to the Swiss Confederacy. Between 1618 and 1639 it became a battleground between competing factions during the Bündner Wirren; the Protestant party was supported by France and Venice, while the Catholic party was supported by the Habsburgs in Spain and Austria. Each side sought to gain control of the Grisons to gain control over the important alpine passes. In 1618, the young radical Jörg Jenatsch became a member of the court of'clerical overseers' and a leader of the anti-Habsburg faction, he supervised the torture to death of the arch-priest Nicola Rusca of Sondrio. In response, Giacomo Robustelli of the pro-Catholic Planta family, raised an army of rebels in the Valtellina.
On the evening of 18/19 July 1620, a force of Valtellina rebels supported by Austrian and Italian troops marched into Tirano and began killing Protestants. When they finished in Tirano, they marched to Teglio and further down the valley killing every Protestant that they found. Between 500 and 600 people were killed in the following four days; the attack drove nearly all the Protestants out of the valley, prevented further Protestant incursions and took the Valtellina out of the Three Leagues. In response, in February 1621, Jenatsch led a force of anti-Habsburg troops to attack Rietberg Castle, the home of a leader of the pro-Catholic faction, Pompeius Planta, they surprised Planta and according to legend he was killed by Jörg Jenatsch with an axe. The murder of Planta encouraged the Protestant faction and they assembled a poorly led and disorganized army to retake the Valtellina and other subject lands. However, the army fell apart; this Protestant invasion provided the Austrians an excuse to invade the Leagues.
The Lepontine Alps are a mountain range in the north-western part of the Alps. They are located in Italy; the Simplon rail tunnel the Gotthard rail and Gotthard road tunnels and the San Bernardino road tunnel are important transport arteries. The eastern portion of the Lepontine Alps, from the St Gotthard Pass to the Splügen Pass, is sometimes named the Adula Alps, while the western part is referred to as the Ticino Alps; the designation Lepontine Alps, derived from the Latin name of the Val Leventina, has long been somewhat vaguely applied to the Alpine ranges that enclose it, before being used for the whole range. Following the line marking the division of the waters that flow into the Po from those that feed the Rhone or the Rhine, the main ridge of the Lepontine Alps describes a somewhat irregular curve, convex to the north, from the Simplon Pass to the Splugen Pass. With the single exception of the Monte Leone, overlooking the pass of the Simplon, the summits of this portion of the chain are much inferior in height to those of the neighbouring chains.
The extensive region lying south of the main ridge is occupied by mountain ranges whose summits sometimes rival in height those of the dividing ridge, which are cut through by deep valleys, three of which converge in the basins of Lake Maggiore and Lake Como, the deepest of all the lakes on the south side of the Alps. The most important of these valleys is the Upper valley of the Ticino; this has been known from a remote antiquity because it leads to the Pass of St Gotthard, one of the easiest lines of communication between northern and southern Europe. The Lepontine Alps are drained by the rivers Rhône in the west, Reuss in the north, Rhine in the east and Ticino and Toce in the south; the chief peaks of the Lepontine Alps are: Main glaciers: Gries Glacier Paradies Glacier Basòdino Glacier The chief passes of the Lepontine Alps are: Swiss Alps This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Alps". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press