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tiistai 19. toukokuuta 2015

Switzerland, Cool Facts #33

32. Austria <=                                                                                                               => 34. Germany 

1. Confoederatio Helvetica

58BC Julius Caesar established the province of Helvetia under the Roman power
1798 France occupies the country and establishes the Helvetic Republic
1815 Switzerland becomes independent permanently
1848 Switzerland becomes a federal state

After the formation of the federal state, the Latin name of Switzerland, Confoederatio Helvetica was introduced again and it started appearing in coins from 1879 and after 1948 it was used in the official seal. The name came from the Gallic tribe called Helvetii who lived on the Swiss plateau in ancient times. Then after Julius Caesar had named the province Helvetia the name was used again in later times for example when France occupied the country.

This is the historical explanation where the abbreviation CH comes from, which is used of Switzerland in several places.

2. Schwyz and the Old Swiss Confederacy

The name Switzerland comes from the canton Schwyz when three cantons Uri, Unterwalden and Schwyz established the Old Swiss Confederacy to ensure their immunity against the Habsburg dynasty and the Holy Roman Empire. Schwyz was the biggest canton then. The Confederacy lasted until 1798 when France occupied the country and Switzerland lost their flag and independence for the only time in its history. In 1815 Switzerland got its independence back permanently and the current borders of the country, when it received three new cantons, Neuchatel, Geneva and Valais.

Schwyz canton

3. Wilhelm Tell 

Wilhelm Tell is the national hero of Switzerland, but it's not sure if Wilhelm Tell was a real person or if the stories are just legends.

Legend of Wilhelm Tell: 

In the year 1307 Wilhelm Tell was visiting the city of Altdorf in the canton of Uri with his son. The Austrian Habsburg's were trying to dominate Uri and they had appointed Gessler as their reeve to the city. Gessler raised a pole in the central square of the village and hung his hat on top of it. Gessler demanded everyone to bow before the hat. Tell publicly reduced to bow before the hat.

Tell was given the chance to escape his and his son's execution if he shot an apple lying on the top of his son's head. Tell succeeded but then Gessler asked why he had another arrow. Tell told that if he had hit his son he would have shot Gessler after that with the second arrow.

Angered by the arrogant answer Gessler decided to put Tell in a dungeon for the rest of his life. They were heading towards Gessler's castle at Küssnacht with a boat when suddenly a storm broke loose and they let the strong Tell to row in the difficult conditions. Tell steered the boat near some rocks where he leaped out of the boat and escaped. He ran cross-country to Küssnacht and when Gessler arrived he shot him death with the second arrow.

It's told that Tell's blow of liberty sparked a rebellion which was the impetus to the creation of the Swiss Confederation. Tell was fighting then against Austria in 1315 in the Battle of Morgarten. According to the legends told by Tschudi, Tell died in 1354 when he was trying to save a child from drowning.

4. Neutrality 

Switzerland is known to be neutral everywhere in the world. Its neutrality was recognized internationally in the Congress of Vienna in 1815. The last time when Switzerland has been in a foreign war was in 1515 against France. Until that year Switzerland had expanded its territory constantly.

Switzerland 200 years of neutrality

5. Random facts

1863 The Red Cross was founded in Switzerland
1990 Women get the right to vote in the whole country when Appenzell Innerhoden get the right to vote
2002 Switzerland joins the UN
Switzerland and Vatican City are the only countries with square-shaped flags
After the military service people store their riffles and ammunition at their homes
2/3 German-speaking 
1/5 French-speaking
1/10 Italian-speaking
1/100 Romansh-speaking 

Swiss guards at Vatican City

This is Switzerland


58 BC Julius Caesar established the province of Helvetia under the rule of Rome
400 Germanic tribes move to the area
600 Christianity spreads to the area
800 The Franks start ruling the area
1291 Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden establish a confederation to ensure their immunity against the Habsburg's Holy Roman Empire
1339 The Laupe fight against the Habsburg
1500s Wars considering the faith
1515 Switzerland expands until it loses to France
1648 Peace of Westfalen, the leader of the Holy Roman Empire recognizes the independence of Switzerland
1798 The only time when Switzerland lost their independence and flag, France occupied the country and established the Republic of Helvetia
1803 French troops go away and the flag is restored
1815 Switzerland gets permanently its independence and three new cantons, Neuchatel, Geneva and Valais, Switzerland got its current borders then
1847 Faith wars again
1848 Bern becomes the capital
1959 Switzerland founds Efta
1971 Women voting rights

Maailman liput maat ja historia - Kimmo Kiljunen

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