Cantons of Switzerland

cantoncantonscantonalSwiss cantonSwiss cantons26 cantonshalf-cantoncanton of Switzerlandhalf cantoncantonal law
The 26 cantons of Switzerland (Kanton, canton, cantone, chantun) are the member states of the Swiss Confederation.wikipedia
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Helvetic Republic

Helvetian RepublicHelveticSwitzerland
Ort (from before 1450), or Stand ("estate", from c. 1550), was a fully sovereign state with its own border controls, army, and currency from at least the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) until the establishment of the Swiss federal state in 1848, with a brief period of centralised government during the Helvetic Republic (1798–1803).
In Swiss history, the Helvetic Republic (1798–1803) represented an early attempt to impose a central authority over Switzerland, which until then had consisted of self-governing cantons united by a loose military alliance (and ruling over subject territories such as Vaud).

Canton of Bern

BernCanton of BerneBerne
From 1833, there were 25 cantons, increasing to 26 after the secession of the canton of Jura from Bern in 1979. In the 16th century, the Old Swiss Confederacy was composed of 13 sovereign confederate allies (the Thirteen Cantons; Die Dreizehn Alten Orte), and there were two different kinds: five rural states (Länder) – Uri, Schwyz (which became eponymous of the confederacy), Unterwalden, Glarus, Appenzell – and eight urban states (Städte) – Zürich, Bern, Luzern, Zug, Basel, Fribourg, Solothurn, Schaffhausen.
The canton of Bern or Berne (Kanton Bern; canton de Berne) is the second-largest of the 26 Swiss cantons by both surface area and population.

Canton of Jura

JuraJUacross the frontier
From 1833, there were 25 cantons, increasing to 26 after the secession of the canton of Jura from Bern in 1979. Geneva (formally République et canton de Genève "Republic and canton of Geneva"), Jura, Neuchâtel, Valais, Vaud and Ticino.
The Republic and Canton of the Jura (République et canton du Jura), also known as the canton of Jura or canton Jura, is the newest (founded in 1979) of the 26 Swiss cantons, located in the northwestern part of Switzerland.

Canton of Basel-Stadt

Basel-StadtBasel-CityBS
The areas of the cantons vary from 37 km (canton of Basel-Stadt) to 7,105 km (canton of Grisons); the populations vary from 16,003 (canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden) to 1,487,969 (canton of Zürich).
The canton of Basel-Stadt (undefined, canton of Basel-City, canton de Bâle-Ville, Cantone di Basilea Città, chantun Basilea-Citad) is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland, and the smallest of the cantons by area.

Canton of Zürich

Zürichcanton of ZurichZurich
The areas of the cantons vary from 37 km (canton of Basel-Stadt) to 7,105 km (canton of Grisons); the populations vary from 16,003 (canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden) to 1,487,969 (canton of Zürich). In the 16th century, the Old Swiss Confederacy was composed of 13 sovereign confederate allies (the Thirteen Cantons; Die Dreizehn Alten Orte), and there were two different kinds: five rural states (Länder) – Uri, Schwyz (which became eponymous of the confederacy), Unterwalden, Glarus, Appenzell – and eight urban states (Städte) – Zürich, Bern, Luzern, Zug, Basel, Fribourg, Solothurn, Schaffhausen.
The canton of Zürich (Kanton ) is a Swiss canton in the northeastern part of the country.

Canton (country subdivision)

cantoncantonscanton seat
The term canton, now also used as the English term for administrative subdivisions of other countries, originates in French usage in the late 15th century (recorded in Fribourg in 1467), from a word for "edge, corner", at the time the literal translation of Early Modern High German ort.
As the constituents of the Swiss Confederation, theoretically (and historically), the Swiss cantons are semi-sovereign states.

Canton of Geneva

GenevaRepublic of GenevaGenevan
Geneva (formally République et canton de Genève "Republic and canton of Geneva"), Jura, Neuchâtel, Valais, Vaud and Ticino.
The Republic and Canton of Geneva (République et canton de Genève; Rèpublica et canton de Geneva; Republik und Kanton Genf; Repubblica e Cantone di Ginevra; Republica e chantun Genevra) is the French-speaking westernmost canton or state of Switzerland, surrounded on almost all sides by France (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes).

Canton of Neuchâtel

NeuchâtelPrincipality of NeuchâtelNE
Geneva (formally République et canton de Genève "Republic and canton of Geneva"), Jura, Neuchâtel, Valais, Vaud and Ticino.
The Republic and Canton of Neuchâtel (la République et Canton de Neuchâtel, ) is a French-speaking canton in western Switzerland.

Old Swiss Confederacy

Swiss ConfederationSwiss ConfederacySwitzerland
Two further major steps in the development of the Swiss cantonal system are referred to by the terms Acht Orte ("Eight Cantons"; between 1353 and 1481) and Dreizehn Orte ("Thirteen Cantons", during 1513–1798); they were important intermediate periods of the Ancient Swiss Confederacy. In the 16th century, the Old Swiss Confederacy was composed of 13 sovereign confederate allies (the Thirteen Cantons; Die Dreizehn Alten Orte), and there were two different kinds: five rural states (Länder) – Uri, Schwyz (which became eponymous of the confederacy), Unterwalden, Glarus, Appenzell – and eight urban states (Städte) – Zürich, Bern, Luzern, Zug, Basel, Fribourg, Solothurn, Schaffhausen.
From 1353 to 1481, the federation of eight cantons—known in German as the Acht Orte (Eight Cantons)—consolidated its position.

Canton of Valais

ValaisVSWallis
Geneva (formally République et canton de Genève "Republic and canton of Geneva"), Jura, Neuchâtel, Valais, Vaud and Ticino.
The canton of Valais (,, ; (Kanton) Wallis ; (Canton) Vallese ) is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland, situated in the southwestern part of the country, around the valley of the Rhône from its headwaters to Lake Geneva, separating the Pennine Alps from the Bernese Alps.

Canton of Uri

UriURUri, Switzerland
In the 16th century, the Old Swiss Confederacy was composed of 13 sovereign confederate allies (the Thirteen Cantons; Die Dreizehn Alten Orte), and there were two different kinds: five rural states (Länder) – Uri, Schwyz (which became eponymous of the confederacy), Unterwalden, Glarus, Appenzell – and eight urban states (Städte) – Zürich, Bern, Luzern, Zug, Basel, Fribourg, Solothurn, Schaffhausen.
The canton of Uri (Kanton Uri ) is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland and a founding member of the Swiss Confederation.

Waldstätte

Forest CantonsThree Forest Cantonscanton
The nucleus of the Swiss Confederacy in the form of the first three confederate allies used to be referred to as the Waldstätte.
The Middle High German terms Waldstette or Stette is used alongside Stett (in the sense of "town") and Lender (in the sense of rural countrysides) in reference to the individual confederate allies into the first half of 15th century and became gradually replaced by the term Ort ("lieu") or Stand ("state"), which stayed prominent in German-speaking Switzerland until Helvetic Republic; the term canton (in German: Kanton) was still unknown for the German-speaking allies until 1650.

Canton of Schwyz

SchwyzSZCanton Schwyz
In the 16th century, the Old Swiss Confederacy was composed of 13 sovereign confederate allies (the Thirteen Cantons; Die Dreizehn Alten Orte), and there were two different kinds: five rural states (Länder) – Uri, Schwyz (which became eponymous of the confederacy), Unterwalden, Glarus, Appenzell – and eight urban states (Städte) – Zürich, Bern, Luzern, Zug, Basel, Fribourg, Solothurn, Schaffhausen.
The canton of Schwyz (Kanton Schwyz ) is a canton in central Switzerland between the Alps in the south, Lake Lucerne to the west and Lake Zürich in the north, centered on and named after the town of Schwyz.

Canton of Glarus

GlarusGLCanton Glarus
In the 16th century, the Old Swiss Confederacy was composed of 13 sovereign confederate allies (the Thirteen Cantons; Die Dreizehn Alten Orte), and there were two different kinds: five rural states (Länder) – Uri, Schwyz (which became eponymous of the confederacy), Unterwalden, Glarus, Appenzell – and eight urban states (Städte) – Zürich, Bern, Luzern, Zug, Basel, Fribourg, Solothurn, Schaffhausen.
The canton of Glarus, also canton of Glaris (Kanton Glarus) is a canton in east central Switzerland.

Canton of Zug

ZugZGBaar (ZG)
In the 16th century, the Old Swiss Confederacy was composed of 13 sovereign confederate allies (the Thirteen Cantons; Die Dreizehn Alten Orte), and there were two different kinds: five rural states (Länder) – Uri, Schwyz (which became eponymous of the confederacy), Unterwalden, Glarus, Appenzell – and eight urban states (Städte) – Zürich, Bern, Luzern, Zug, Basel, Fribourg, Solothurn, Schaffhausen.
The canton of Zug (also canton of Zoug; Kanton) is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland.

Canton of Basel

Basel BaselBasel, Canton of
In the 16th century, the Old Swiss Confederacy was composed of 13 sovereign confederate allies (the Thirteen Cantons; Die Dreizehn Alten Orte), and there were two different kinds: five rural states (Länder) – Uri, Schwyz (which became eponymous of the confederacy), Unterwalden, Glarus, Appenzell – and eight urban states (Städte) – Zürich, Bern, Luzern, Zug, Basel, Fribourg, Solothurn, Schaffhausen.
Basel was a canton of Switzerland that was in existence between 1501 and 1833, when it was split into the two half-cantons of Basel-City and Basel-Country.

Canton of Solothurn

SolothurnSOCanton Solothurn
In the 16th century, the Old Swiss Confederacy was composed of 13 sovereign confederate allies (the Thirteen Cantons; Die Dreizehn Alten Orte), and there were two different kinds: five rural states (Länder) – Uri, Schwyz (which became eponymous of the confederacy), Unterwalden, Glarus, Appenzell – and eight urban states (Städte) – Zürich, Bern, Luzern, Zug, Basel, Fribourg, Solothurn, Schaffhausen.
The canton of Solothurn or canton of Soleure (Kanton Solothurn) is a canton of Switzerland.

Canton of Fribourg

FribourgFRFreiburg
In the 16th century, the Old Swiss Confederacy was composed of 13 sovereign confederate allies (the Thirteen Cantons; Die Dreizehn Alten Orte), and there were two different kinds: five rural states (Länder) – Uri, Schwyz (which became eponymous of the confederacy), Unterwalden, Glarus, Appenzell – and eight urban states (Städte) – Zürich, Bern, Luzern, Zug, Basel, Fribourg, Solothurn, Schaffhausen.
The canton is bilingual, with French spoken by two thirds of the citizens and German by about one third.

Canton of St. Gallen

St. GallenSGSt Gallen
The status of Switzerland as a federation of states was restored, at the time including 19 cantons (the six accessions to the early modern Thirteen Cantons being composed of former associates and subject territories: St. Gallen, Grisons, Aargau, Thurgau, Ticino, Vaud).
The canton of St. Gallen, also canton of St Gall (Kanton St. Gallen ; dialectally, canton de Saint-Gall, Cantone di San Gallo, chantun Son Gagl), is a canton of Switzerland.

Landsgemeinde

cantonal assembliespublic assembly placeSwitzerland
In the early modern period, the individual confederate allies came to be seen as republics; while the six traditional allies had a tradition of direct democracy in the form of the Landsgemeinde, the urban states operated via representation in city councils, de facto oligarchic systems dominated by families of the patriciate.
Still at use – in a few places – at the subnational political level in Switzerland, it was formerly practiced in eight cantons.

Vaud

Canton of VaudVDCanton de Vaud
Geneva (formally République et canton de Genève "Republic and canton of Geneva"), Jura, Neuchâtel, Valais, Vaud and Ticino. The status of Switzerland as a federation of states was restored, at the time including 19 cantons (the six accessions to the early modern Thirteen Cantons being composed of former associates and subject territories: St. Gallen, Grisons, Aargau, Thurgau, Ticino, Vaud).
The canton of Vaud (, ; Waadt, or ) is the third largest of the Swiss cantons by population and fourth by size.

Unterwalden

Canton of UnterwaldenUnterwald
In the 16th century, the Old Swiss Confederacy was composed of 13 sovereign confederate allies (the Thirteen Cantons; Die Dreizehn Alten Orte), and there were two different kinds: five rural states (Länder) – Uri, Schwyz (which became eponymous of the confederacy), Unterwalden, Glarus, Appenzell – and eight urban states (Städte) – Zürich, Bern, Luzern, Zug, Basel, Fribourg, Solothurn, Schaffhausen.
Unterwalden (Latinized as Sylvania, later also Subsylvania as opposed to Supersylvania) is the old name of a forest-canton of the Old Swiss Confederacy in central Switzerland, south of Lake Lucerne, consisting of two valleys or Talschaften, now two separate Swiss cantons (or two half-cantons), Obwalden and Nidwalden.

Sonderbund War

SonderbundSonderbundskriegSwiss civil war
This tension, paired with religious issues ("Jesuit question") escalated into armed conflict in the 1840s, with the brief Sonderbund War.
The Sonderbund War (Sonderbundskrieg) of November 1847 was a civil war in Switzerland, then still a relatively loose confederacy of cantons (states).

Religion in Switzerland

ChristianSwitzerlanddetails
This tension, paired with religious issues ("Jesuit question") escalated into armed conflict in the 1840s, with the brief Sonderbund War.
Switzerland as a federal state has no state religion, though most of the cantons (except for Geneva and Neuchâtel) recognize official churches (Landeskirchen), in all cases including the Roman Catholic Church and the Swiss Reformed Church.

Switzerland as a federal state

federal stateSwiss federal statemodern Switzerland
The victory of the radical party resulted in the formation of Switzerland as a federal state in 1848.
The constitution represents the first time that the Swiss were governed by a strong central government instead of being simply a collection of independent cantons bound by treaties.