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   Switzerland Country Guide

Switzerland Country Guide The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities joined the original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. A constitution of 1848, subsequently modified in 1874, replaced the confederation with a centralized federal government. Switzerland's sovereignty and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and the country was not involved in either of the two world wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland's role in many UN and international organizations, has strengthened Switzerland's ties with its neighbors. However, the country did not officially become a UN member until 2002. Switzerland remains active in many UN and international organizations but retains a strong commitment to neutrality.

Switzerland Full Name: Swiss Confederation
Area: 41,290 sq km (land: 39,770 sq km, water: 1,520 sq km)
Population: 8,179,294 (July 2016 est.)
Capital City: Bern

People: German 65%, French 18%, Italian 10%, Romansch 1%, other 6%
Language: German (official) 63.5%, French (official) 22.5%, Italian (official) 8.1%, English 4.4%, Portuguese 3.4%, Albanian 3.1%, Serbo-Croatian 2.5%, Spanish 2.2%, Romansch (official) 0.5%, other 6.6%
note: German, French, Italian, and Romansch are all national and official languages; totals more than 100% because some respondents indicated more than one main language (2013 est.)
Religion: Roman Catholic 38.2%, Protestant 26.9%, other Christian 5.6%, Muslim 5%, other 1.6%, none 21.4%, unspecified 1.3% (2013 est.)

Government Type: Federal Republic (formally a Confederation)
Chief of State President of the Swiss Confederation Doris LEUTHARD (since 1 January 2017); Vice President Alain BERSET (since 1 January 2017; note - the Federal Council, which is comprised of 7 federal councillors, constitutes the federal government of Switzerland; council members rotate in a 1-year term as federal president (chief of state and head of government)
Head of Government: President of the Swiss Confederation Doris LEUTHARD (since 1 January 2017); Vice President Alain BERSET (since 1 January 2017)

GDP: $US 494.3 billion (2016 est.)
GDP per Capita: $US 59,400 (2016 est.)
Inflation: -0.4% (2016 est.)
Unemployment: 3.4% (2016 est.))
Industries: Machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments, tourism, banking, and insurance
Currency: Swiss franc (CHF)

Member of EU: No

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Info provided by the CIA World Factbook
Updated 2/2017
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