01.08.

1291: Switzerland Founded by Three Small Cantons in the Alpine Forests

1291: Switzerland Founded by Three Small Cantons in the Alpine Forests
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/Switzerland has the tallest dams in Europe, among which the Mauvoisin Dam, in the Alps. Hydroelectricity is the most important domestic source of energy in the country.

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 1 August 1291
  • This day is celebrated as a national holiday in Switzerland since 1 August is considered the symbolic founding date of that state. Interestingly, the first three cantons – Schwyz, Uri and Unterwalden – were located in the central Alpine area and were heavily forested (and thus earned the nickname “Forest Cantons”).

This day, 1291 is considered the symbolic founding date of Switzerland.

This was the date of the signing of a charter through which a Confederation of the first three Swiss cantons – Schwyz, Uri and Unterwalden – was formed.

The admission of additional cantons to can therefore be considered an expansion of that initial confederation (today there are a total of 26 cantons).

Interestingly, the first three cantons – Schwyz, Uri and Unterwalden – were located in the central Alpine area and were heavily forested (and thus earned the nickname “Forest Cantons”).

All these three cantons were relatively small, among the smallest in all Switzerland. Indeed, the entire land area of that initial “Switzerland” took up less than 3,000 square kilometers (about the size of Yosemite National Park, or Cambridgeshire, UK).

The name “Switzerland” is derived from the name of the Schwyz canton. This day is celebrated as a national holiday in Switzerland, due to the historical significance of the charter that was signed on that day in 1291.

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