The Swiss Federation is situated in the Western-central region of the continent of Europe. The country is landlocked, and it is made up of 26 cantons. Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland, and the nation does not have an official capital city, though Bern is considered the capital. The country has a total land surface area of about 15,940 square miles, and the population was estimated at 8.4 million in 2016. The name Switzerland is a combination of two words Switzer, which is an old name for the Swiss, and land.
Switzerland’s cantons include Aargau, Fribourg, Glarus, Geneva, Bern, Grisons, Lucerne, Jura, Neuchatel, Schwyz, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, St. Gallen, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Zug, Vaud, and Zurich. The half-cantons include Basel Stadt, Basel Landschaft, Appenzell Innerhoden, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Obwalden, and Nidwalden. The half-cantons are represented by one councilor in the national assembly's upper house/council of states while the other cantons are represented by two. The cantons are considered equal in status with each having its parliament, courts, government, and constitution.
The Red Crescent Movement and the Red Cross were founded in Geneva, Switzerland. The country is part of the Schengen area but has rejected to join the European Union since a referendum in 1992. Switzerland is home to some international organizations due to its neutrality. Geneva has hosted the United Nations Human Rights Council since 2006. Switzerland is home to some other UN agencies such as the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and the World Health Organization, though it joined the United Nations in 2002. Switzerland has produced several Nobel Prize Laureates and there have been 113 Swiss Nobel prize winners.
Economy of Switzerland
Switzerland is among the world’s highly developed nations having the strongest nominal wealth per person ranks the 8th-highest GDP per capita. The country ranks top worldwide in different parameters of national measure such as quality of life, civil liberties, human development, government transparency, and economic competitiveness. Zurich city plays a significant role as an economic center in the country. Switzerland's nominal GDP in 2017 was $659 billion, and the nominal GDP per capita was $78,245. The country is third after China and Hong Kong in the manufacture and export of clocks and watches, though Switzerland is the major manufacturer of high-end watches. Some major industries in the country include Nestle, Norvatis, Sika AG, and Roche. The country also has the biggest construction materials company, LafargeHolcim. The agricultural sector produces 60% of the local food output. Switzerland’s major exports include glycosides and vaccines, pharmaceuticals, watches, orthopedic appliances, cheese, wine, chocolate, and precious jewelry. Switzerland had the highest average wealth per adult in 2016.
The European Continent
Continental Europe has 50 independent countries. Both World War I and World War II took place in Europe. European superpowers have in the past ruled several parts of the world by obtaining colonies. Western civilization originated from ancient Greece in Europe. In Greek mythology, the name Europe is thought to have been coined from Europa, which is the name of either a queen of Crete or a Phoenician princess. The name Europe could also mean wide gazing. The continent is the richest globally with most of the wealthy countries located in the western part of the continent.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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