The Swiss are citizens of the nation of Switzerland (Swiss Confederation). Switzerland is located in central Europe and covers 41,295 square kilometers of territory. The estimated population for 1990 is 6,628,000. Switzerland is a pluralistic society with about 65 percent of the population German-speaking, 18 percent French-speaking, 12 percent Italian-speaking, and about 1 percent Romansch-speaking. The population is split about equally between Catholics and Protestants. Politically, Switzerland is divided into twenty cantons and six half-cantons. The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 when three cantons joined together for defensive purposes and gradually expanded over the centuries. Switzerland is known today for its military neutrality, banking industry, and as the headquarters for many international organizations.

See German Swiss ; Jurassians ; Romansch ; Swiss, Italian


Kurian, George T. (1990). Encyclopedia of the First World. 2 Vols. New York: Facts on File.

Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations (1988). 7th ed. New York: Worldmark Press.

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