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
Neuchâtel, or Neuchatel. The city has 34,000 inhabitants; the city is sometimes referred to by the German name Neuenburg, which has the same meaning. It was part of the Holy Roman Empire and under Prussian control from 1707 until 1848; the official language of Neuchâtel is French. Neuchâtel is a pilot of the Council of Europe and the European Commission Intercultural Cities programme; the oldest traces of humans in the municipal area are the remains of a Magdalenian hunting camp, dated to 13,000 BC. It was discovered in 1990 during construction of the A5 motorway at Monruz; the site was about 5 m below the main road. Around the fire pits carved bones were found. In addition to the flint and bone artifacts three tiny earrings from lignite were found; the earrings may have served as symbols of fertility and represent the oldest known art in Switzerland. This first camp was used by Cro-Magnons to hunt reindeer in the area. Azilian hunters had a camp at the same site at about 11,000 BC. Since the climate had changed, their prey was now wild boar.
During the 19th century, traces of some stilt houses were found in Le Cret near the red church. However, their location was not well documented and the site was lost. In 1999, during construction of the lower station of the funicular railway, which connects the railway station and university, the settlement was rediscovered, it was determined to be a Cortaillod culture village. According to dendrochronological studies, some of the piles were from 3571 BC. A Hallstatt grave was found in the forest of Les Cadolles. At Les Favarger a Gallo-Roman and at André Fontaine a small coin depot were discovered. In 1908, an excavation at the mouth of Serrière discovered Gallo-Roman baths from the 2nd and 3rd Centuries AD. One of the most important Merovingian cemeteries in the canton was discovered at Les Battieux in Serrières. In 1982, 38 graves dating from the 7th century were excavated many of which contained silver-inlaid or silver-plated belt buckles. In Serrières at the church of Saint-Jean, the remains of a 7th-century shrine were excavated.
In 1011, Rudolph III of Burgundy presented a Novum castellum or new castle on the lake shore to his wife Irmengarde. It was long assumed that this new castle replaced an older one, but nothing about its location or design is known. At the time of this gift Neuchâtel was the center of a newly created royal court, developed to complement the other royal estates which managed western estates of the Kings of Burgundy; the first counts of Neuchâtel were named shortly afterwards, in 1214 their domain was dubbed a city. For three centuries, the County of Neuchâtel flourished, in 1530, the people of Neuchâtel accepted the Reformation, their city and territory were proclaimed to be indivisible from on. Future rulers were required to seek investiture from the citizens. With increasing power and prestige, Neuchâtel was raised to the level of a principality at the beginning of the 17th century. On the death in 1707 Marie d'Orleans-Longueville, duchess de Nemours and Princess of Neuchâtel, the people had to choose her successor from among fifteen claimants.
They wanted their new prince first and foremost to be a Protestant, to be strong enough to protect their territory but based far enough away to leave them to their own devices. Louis XIV promoted the many French pretenders to the title, but the Neuchâtelois people passed them over in favour of King Frederick I of Prussia, who claimed his entitlement in a rather complicated fashion through the Houses of Orange and Nassau. With the requisite stability assured, Neuchâtel entered its golden age, with commerce and industry and banking undergoing steady expansion. At the turn of the 19th century, the King of Prussia was defeated by Napoleon I and was forced to give up Neuchâtel in order to keep Hanover. Napoleon's field marshal, became Prince of Neuchâtel, building roads and restoring infrastructure, but never setting foot in his domain. After the fall of Napoleon, Frederick William III of Prussia reasserted his rights by proposing that Neuchâtel be linked with the other Swiss cantons. On September 12, 1814, Neuchâtel became the capital of the 21st canton, but remained a Prussian principality.
It took a bloodless revolution in the decades following for Neuchâtel to shake off its princely past and declare itself, on March 1, 1848, a republic within the Swiss Confederation. Neuchâtel has an area, as of 2009, of 18.1 square kilometers. Of this area, 1.84 km2 or 10.2% is used for agricultural purposes, while 9.74 km2 or 53.8% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 6.42 km2 or 35.5% is settled, 0.03 km2 or 0.2% is either rivers or lakes and 0.02 km2 or 0.1% is unproductive land. Of the built up area, industrial buildings made up 2.2% of the total area while housing and buildings made up 18.0% and transportation infrastructure made up 10.1%. While parks, green belts and sports fields made up 4.3%. Out of the forested land, 51.8% of the total land area is forested and 2.0% is covered with orchards or small clusters of trees. Of the agricultural land
Latin Monetary Union
The Latin Monetary Union was a 19th-century system that unified several European currencies into a single currency that could be used in all the member states, at a time when most national currencies were still made out of gold and silver. It was established in 1865 and disbanded in 1927. Many countries minted coins according to the LMU standard though they did not formally accede to the LMU treaty; the LMU adopted the specifications of the French gold franc, introduced by Napoleon I in 1803 and was struck in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 40, 50 and 100 francs, with the 20 franc coin being the most common. In the French system the gold franc was interchangeable with the silver franc based on an exchange ratio of 1:15.5, the approximate relative value of the two metals at the time of the law of 1803. By treaty dated 23 December 1865, Belgium and Switzerland formed the Latin Monetary Union, they agreed to a combined gold and silver standard with a gold-to-silver ratio of 15.5 to 1 as established in the French Franc.
One LMU Franc represented 0.290322 gram of fine gold. The treaty required that all four contracting states strike exchangeable gold coins and silver coins according to common specifications. Before the treaty, for example, the fineness of the silver coins in the four states varied from 0.800 to 0.900. The treaty required that the largest silver coin of 5 francs be struck 0.900 fine and the fractional silver of 2 francs, 1 franc, 50 centimes and 20 centimes all be struck at 0.835 fine. The agreement came into force on 1 August 1866; the LMU served the function of facilitating trade between different countries by setting the standards by which gold and silver currency could be minted and exchanged. In this manner a French trader could accept Italian lire for his goods with confidence that it could be converted back to a comparable amount of francs. Following the International Monetary Conference of 1867, the original four nations were joined by Greece on April 10, 1867. Greece took advantage of a clause in the treaty that guaranteed admission of foreign states that agreed to abide by the treaty.
Spain and Romania considered joining. The discussions broke off unsuccessfully, but both countries made an attempt to conform their currencies to the LMU standard. Austria-Hungary refused to join the LMU because it rejected bimetallism, but signed a separate monetary treaty with France on December 24, 1867 whereby both states agreed to receive into their treasuries one another's gold coins at specified rates. Austria-Hungary thereafter minted some but not all of its gold coins on the LMU standard, including the 4 and 8 gulden, which matched the specifications of the French 10 and 20 francs. Other states adopted the system without formally joining the treaty: The colonies of France came under the scope of the treaty in 1865. In 1904, the Danish West Indies were placed on this standard but did not join the Union itself; when Albania emerged from the Ottoman Empire as an independent nation in 1912, coins of the Latin Monetary Union from France, Italy and Austria-Hungary began to circulate in place of the Ottoman Lira.
Albania did not however mint its own coins, or issue its own paper money until it adopted an independent monetary system in 1925. With the tacit agreement of Napoleon III of France, Giacomo Antonelli, the administrator of the Papal Treasury, embarked from 1866 on an ambitious increase in silver coinage without the prescribed amount of precious metal, equivalent to Belgium's total; the papal coins became debased and excessively circulated in other union states, to the profit of the Holy See, but Swiss and French banks rejected papal coins and the Papal States were ejected from the Union in 1870, owing 20 million lire. From the beginning, fluctuations in the relative value of gold and silver on the world market stressed the currency union; this is today recognized as an inevitable effect of a currency based on bimetalism when precious metal prices fluctuate. When the LMU was formed in 1865, silver was nearing the end of a period of high valuation compared to gold. In 1873 the value of silver dropped followed by a sharp increase in silver imports in the LMU countries in France and Belgium.
By 1873, the decreasing value of silver made it profitable to mint silver in exchange for gold at the Union's standard rate of 15.5 ounces to 1. Indeed, in all of 1871 and 1872 the French mint had received just 5,000,000 francs of silver for conversion to coin, but in 1873 alone received 154,000,000 francs. Fearing an influx of silver coinage, the member nations of the Union agreed in Paris on January 30, 1874, to limit the free conversion of silver temporarily. By 1878, with no recovery in the silver price in sight, minting of silver coinage was suspended absolutely. From 1873 onwards, the Union was on a de facto gold standard; the law still permitted payment in silver. The 5 franc silver pieces were "essentially upon the same footing as bank notes"; the ultimate failure of the LMU was due to outbreak of World War I, which led to the suspension of the Gold Standard throughout the international monetary system. Other issues had arisen, however. For example, some members, notably the Papal State's treasurer, Cardinal Giacomo Antonelli, began to debase their currency.
This meant he minted coins with an inadequate amount of silver and exchanged them for coins from ot
A gold coin is a coin, made or of gold. Most gold coins minted since 1800 are 90–92% gold, while most of today's gold bullion coins are pure gold, such as the Britannia, Canadian Maple Leaf, American Buffalo. Alloyed gold coins, like the American Gold Eagle and South African Krugerrand, are 91.7% gold by weight, with the remainder being silver and copper. Traditionally, gold coins have been circulation coins, including coin-like dinars. Since recent decades, gold coins are produced as bullion coins to investors and as commemorative coins to collectors. While modern gold coins are legal tender, they are not observed in everyday financial transactions, as the metal value exceeds the nominal value. For example, the American Gold Eagle, given a denomination of 50 USD, has a metal value of more than $1,200 USD; the gold reserves of central banks are dominated by gold bars, but gold coins may contribute. Gold has been used as money for many reasons, it is fungible, with a low spread between the prices to sell.
Gold is easily transportable, as it has a high value to weight ratio, compared to other commodities, such as silver. Gold can be re-coined, divided into smaller units, or re-melted into larger units such as gold bars, without destroying its metal value; the density of gold is higher than most other metals. Additionally, gold is unreactive, hence it does not tarnish or corrode over time. Gold was used in commerce in the Ancient Near East since the Bronze Age, but coins proper originated much during the 6th century BC, in Anatolia; the name of king Croesus of Lydia remains associated with the invention. In 546 BC, Croesus was captured by the Persians; the most valuable of all Persian minted coinage still remains the gold drams, minted in 1 AD as a gift by the Persian King Vonones Hebrew Bible new testament. Ancient Greek coinage contained a number of gold coins issued by the various city states; the Ying yuan is an early gold coin minted in ancient China. The oldest ones known are from about the 5th or 6th century BC.
Larger units such as the various talent measures were used for high value exchanges. The German gold mark was introduced in 1873 in the German Empire, replacing the various local Gulden coins of the Holy Roman Empire. Gold coins had a long period as a primary form of money, only falling into disuse in the early 20th century. Most of the world stopped making gold coins as currency by 1933, as countries switched from the gold standard due to hoarding during the worldwide economic crisis of the Great Depression. In the United States, 1933's Executive Order 6102 forbade the hoarding of gold and was followed by a devaluation of the dollar relative to gold, although the United States did not uncouple the dollar from the value of gold until 1971. Gold-colored coins have made a comeback in many currencies. However, "gold coin" always refers to a coin, made of gold, does not include coins made of manganese brass or other alloys. Furthermore, many countries continue to make legal tender gold coins, but these are meant for collectors and investment purposes and are not meant for circulation.
Many factors determine the value of a gold coin, such as its rarity, age and the number minted. Most gold coins minted since the late 19th century are worth more than spot price, but many are worth more. Gold coins coveted by collectors include the Aureus and Spur Ryal. In July 2002, a rare $20 1933 Double Eagle gold coin sold for a record $7,590,020 at Sotheby's, making it by far the most valuable coin sold up to that time. In early 1933, more than 445,000 Double Eagle coins were struck by the U. S. Mint, but most of these were surrendered and melted down following Executive Order 6102. Only a few coins survived. In 2007 the Royal Canadian Mint produced a 100 kilograms gold coin with a face value of $1,000,000, though the gold content was worth over $2 million at the time, it is 3 centimetres thick. It was intended as a one-off to promote a new line of Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coins, but after several interested buyers came forward the mint announced it would manufacture them as ordered and sell them for between $2.5 million and $3 million.
As of May 3, 2007, there were five orders. One of these coins has been stolen. Austria had produced a 37 centimetres diameter 31 kg Philharmonic gold coin with a face value of €100,000. On October 4, 2007, David Albanese stated that a $10, 1804-dated eagle coin was sold to an anonymous private collector for $5 million. In 2012 the Royal Canadian Mint produced the world first gold coin with a 0.11–0.14ct diamond. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee coin has been crafted in 99.999% pure gold with a face value of $300. Precious metals in bulk form are known as bullion, are traded on commodity markets. Bullion metals may be minted into coins; the defining attribute of bullion is that it is valued by its mass and purity rather than by a face value as money. While obsolete gold coins are collected for their numismatic value, gold bull
A Rappen was a variant of the medieval Pfennig common to the Alemannic German regions Alsace and northern Switzerland. As with other German pennies, its half-piece was a Haller, the smallest piece, struck. Today, one-hundredth of a Swiss franc is still called a Rappen in German and Swiss German. In French-speaking Switzerland, the modern Swiss coins are called centime and in Italian-speaking Switzerland, respectively; the origin of the term can be traced back to the Rappenpfennig, a form of the penny minted in Freiburg im Breisgau in the 13th century featuring an eagle, which on was interpreted to depict a raven. Due to the coin's wide circulation in the Upper Rhine region, it was adopted as standard currency in the so-called Rappenbund, a union of regional mints formed in 1399 that included the Bishop of Basel and most of the region's larger cities. After the dissolution of the Rappenbund in 1584, a number of Swiss states continued to mint rappen within their territories, where they remained in local use until the middle of the 19th century.
In 1798, when Switzerland was politically unified by the French under the Helvetic Republic, a unified currency was needed to standardise the differing currencies of the so-far sovereign Swiss states. A new Swiss franc based on the Berne thaler was introduced, in which 10 rappen made one batzen, 10 of which in turn formed one franc; this unified coinage was struck for five years only, until the end of the Helvetic Republic in 1803. However, many of the newly independent Cantons of Switzerland now minted their own, localised versions of decimal franc and rappen currencies, until Switzerland was again politically unified in 1848 and the modern Swiss franc was issued to replace the local currencies in the Federal Coinage Act of 1850. Two-rappen coins were struck until 1974 and withdrawn from circulation in 1978, one-rappen coins continued to be struck until 2006 and were demonetised in 2007, long after they had fallen out of daily use; the 5-, 10-, 20-rappen coins are in circulation, while the füfzgi is not a 50-rappen coin, but a half-franc coin.
Hans Schweizer: Der Rappenmünzbund. Hilterfingen: Helvetische Münzenzeitung, 1969. Julius Cahn: Der Rappenmünzbund: eine Studie zur Münz- und Geldgeschichte des oberen Rheintales. Heidelberg 1901. Ilisch, Lutz: Dirham und Rappenpfennig. Band 1, Mittelalterliche Münzprägung in Bergbauregionen. Analysenreihen. Zeitschrift für Archäologie des Mittelalters: Beiheft 17. Bonn 2003. ISBN 3-7749-3086-4 Band 2, Mittelalterliche Münzprägung in Südwestdeutschland. Zeitschrift für Archäologie des Mittelalters: Beiheft 19. Bonn 2004. ISBN 3-7749-3299-9 Vreneli Coins of the Swiss franc Withdrawal of low-denomination coins Rappen in German and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland
World War I
World War I known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history, it is one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, on 23 July Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, the two moved to a war footing. A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe.
By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente—consisting of France and Britain—and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and, after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the 28th, partial mobilisation was approved. General Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; when Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, with Austria-Hungary following suit on 6th. German strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within four weeks shift forces to the East before Russia could mobilise. On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France; when this was refused, German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day. On 12 August and France declared war on Austria-Hungary.
In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Alliance, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in and drew upon each power's colonial empire as well, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe; the Entente and its allies would become known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary and their allies would become known as the Central Powers. The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917. In 1915, Italy opened a front in the Alps. Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans; the United States remained neutral, although by doing nothing to prevent the Allies from procuring American supplies whilst the Allied blockade prevented the Germans from doing the same the U. S. became an important supplier of war material to the Allies.
After the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the U. S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces would not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but the American Expeditionary Force would reach some two million troops. Though Serbia was defeated in 1915, Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916 only to be defeated in 1917, none of the great powers were knocked out of the war until 1918; the 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government in March 1918, ending Russia's involvement in the war. This allowed the transfer of large numbers of German troops from the East to the Western Front, resulting in the German March 1918 Offensive.
This offensive was successful, but the Allies rallied and drove the Germans back in their Hundred Days Offensive. Bulgaria was the first Central Power to sign an armistice—the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September 1918. On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated. On 4 November, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to the Armistice of Villa Giusti after being decisively defeated by Italy in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. With its allies defeated, revolution at home, the military no longer willing to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918. World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural and social climate of the world; the war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous uprisings. The Big Four (Britain, the United States, It
Flag of Switzerland
The flag of Switzerland displays a white cross in the centre of a square red field. The white cross is known as the Swiss cross, its arms are equilateral, their ratio of length to width is 7:6. The size of the cross in relation to the field was set in 2017 as 5:8; the white cross has been used as the field sign of the Old Swiss Confederacy since its formation in the late 13th or early 14th century. Its symbolism was described by the Swiss Federal Council in 1889 as representing "at the same the Christian cross symbol and the field sign of the Old Confederacy"; as a national ensign, it was first used in 1800 during the Hundred Days by general Niklaus Franz von Bachmann, as regimental flag of all cantonal troops from 1841. The federal coat of arms was defined in 1815 for the Restored Confederacy as the white-on-red Swiss cross in a heraldic shield; the current design was used together with a cross composed of five squares until 1889, when its dimensions were set. The civil and state ensign of Switzerland, used by Swiss ships and non-governmental bodies, is rectangular in shape and has the more common proportions of 3:2.
The Swiss flag is one of only two square sovereign-state flags, the other being the flag of Vatican City. The emblem of the Red Cross is the Swiss flag with switched colours. According to the 2017 flag law, "The Swiss flag shows a Swiss cross on a square background". Special provisions are made for civil aircraft identification; the Swiss cross is defined as "a white, free-standing cross depicted against a red background, whose arms, which are all of equal size, are one-sixth longer than they are wide."Swiss Standard German uses Fahne rather than the term Flagge used for national flags in Germany. The name of the flag of the Swiss Confederation is Schweizerfahne. While the proportions of the cross have been fixed since 1889, the size of the cross relative to the flag had not been fixed prior to 2017; the annex to SR 232.21 provides an image specifying that the margin is to be of the same width as the cross arms, so that the total height of the cross is fixed at 20:32 = 5:8 of the height of the flag.
This ratio is given as a "vexillological recommendation" in the flag regulation used by the Swiss Armed Forces. Flags with a cross of larger relative widths than the prescribed 20:32 = 62.5% remain in wide use. For the ensign, the ratio of the size of the cross to the height is 5:8, so that the ratio of cross to flag width is 5:12; the shade of red used in the flag was not defined by law prior to 2017. The 2017 flag law specifies the colour of the flag as: CMYK 0 / 100 / 100 / 0 Pantone 485 C / 485 U RGB 255 / 0 / 0 Hexadecimal #FF0000 Scotchcal 100 -13 RAL 3020 Traffic red NCS S 1085-Y90R In 2004, the Federal Chancellery published a corporate design guide for the federal administration, in force since 1 January 2007; the colour specifications given there are compatible with those put in the annex to the flag law. The matching of heraldic tincture to modern color specifications for print or screen display is uncertain, to some extent left to the discretion of the publisher. A 2004 source specifies "Pantone Red 032 C", or RGB #F00000, for heraldic red.
Recommendations for using "web safe" colours for electronic displays have been obsoleted by technological progress. However, it has become common to specify colours for printing using the "Pantone Matching System", a proprietary colour space, Pantone LLC prevents the publication of keys to their codes under intellectual property laws; the pdf document of the official "corporate design" manual published by the Federal Chancellery appears to be representing the red in the Swiss flag as RGB #e30613. There are conflicting conventions in use among those canotons whose cantonal coats of arms have red tincture; the ultimate origin of the white cross is attributed by three competing legends: To the Theban Legion, to the Reichssturmfahne attested from the 12th century, to the Arma Christi that were venerated in the three forest cantons, which they were allowed to display on the uniformly red battle flag from 1289 by king Rudolph I of Habsburg at the occasion of a campaign to Besançon. Use of a white cross as a mark of identification of the combined troops of the Old Swiss Confederacy is first attested in the Battle of Laupen, where it was sewn on combatants' clothing as two stripes of textile, contrasting with the red St. George's cross of Habsburg Austria, with the St. Andrew's cross used by Burgundy and Maximilian I.
The first flag used as a field sign representing the confederacy rather than the individual cantons may have been used in the Battle of Arbedo in 1422. This was a triangular red flag with an elongated white cross; the white cross was thus in origin a field mark attached to combatants for ide