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(Der Schweiz, La Suisse, Swizzera)

Capital : Bern (Berne)

Aargau, Appenzell-Ausser-Rhoden, Appenzell-Inner-Rhoden, Basel Stadt, Baselland, Bern, Luzern, Glarus, Graubünden (Grisons), Sankt-Gallen, Obwalden, Nidwalden, Neuchatel, Fribourg, Schaffhausen, Genève, Schwyz, Thurgau, Valais, Zürich, Ticino, Vaud, Zug

Size: 15 900 sq m Popn: 6 905 000


Western Switzerland was settled by the Helvetii, a Celtic people, from the C1st BC to the C5th AD. One of the major phases of Celtic activity is named after La Tene in Switzerland, and the Upper Danube area to the north of modern Switzerland was heavily influenced by Celtic culture. Known to the Romans as Helvetians or Transalpine Gauls, the Helvetii invaded southern Gaul in 58 BC but were defeated by Julius Caesar at Bibracte, near Autun and Helvetia became subject to Rome. As an Imperial Province of the Roman Empire, Rhaetia fell to the Huns when they invaded Italy in the C5th. The Alemanni, a Germanic tribe, crossed the Rhine and Danube and settled in what is now Alsace, and northern Switzerland. The area known as Alemannia was conquered by the Frankish Empire in 744 and fully absorbed into the East Frankish kingdom in the C9th.

The Hohenstaufen family's Kingdom of Germany grew out of the East Frankish lands from the C10th on. In 1291, the cantons of Schwyz, Uri and Lower Unterwalden formed the Everlasting League to defend their rights against their Habsburg overlords. Other towns and cantons joined them and there were thirteen by 1513. During the Reformation, Zò rich, Berne and Basel became Protestant but the rural cantons remained Roman Catholic. Switzerland won more freedom from Habsburg control and its complete independence was recognised in 1648 by the Treaty of Westphalia which ended the Thirty Years War. A peasant uprising in 1653 was suppressed.

France invaded in 1798 and established the Helvetian Republic with a centralized government. Switzerland became a democratic federation under Napoleon's Act of Mediation in 1803. The Congress of Vienna, which followed Napoleon's defeat in 1815, guaranteed Swiss neutrality and gave Switzerland Geneva and other territories which increased the number of cantons to 22. There was civil war between the Liberals and the Sonderbund, a union of the Catholic cantons of Lucerne, Zug, Freiberg and Valais. A revised federal constitution which gave the government wider powers, was introduced in 1848 and an 1874 revision increased government powers further and introduced the principle of the referendum.

Swiss neutrality, retained during the two World Wars of 1914-18 and 1939-45, has led to the country becoming a base for many international organizations and a host for international peace conferences. It was a founder member of the European Free Trade Association in 1960. Stable internal politics and coalition governments have allowed Switzerland to become one of the richest countries, per capita, in the world. The ruling four-party coalition continued in power after the 1987 election but the Green Party gained a significant increase in its number of seats and a referendum of 1989 revealed widespread dissatisfaction with the national militia and military service requirements. Switzerland celebrated its 700th anniversary in August 1991. In October that year, there was little change in seat distribution and the four-party coalition stayed in power with Ren¾ Felber as president and Adolf Ogi as vice-president.

Swiss Names

The three languages spoken in Switzerland are French, German and Italian, all of which contribute to the name stock. Germanic pet forms tend to end in '-i' or '-li' (Mitzi, Resli) and the influence of the Roman Catholic Church is strong.


Alois Andrea Anselm
Anton Armando Arnold
Artur Beat (Lat Beatus) Blaise
Bruno Clement Daniel
Dieter Donato Egon
Elvin Ernst Erwin
Etienne Flavian Franco
Frankl Franz Guido
Hannes Hans-Ruedi Heinz
Herman Juerg Klaus
Linus Manfred Marc
Marcel Marius Markus
Marlo Michael Nino
Olivier Olli Olympio
Orell Pablo Paulo
Pirmin Reno Reto
Rodolphe Stephane Timo
Ueli Urs Vitus
Werner William Xavier
Zelimir Zoltan  


Ambra Annina Astrid
Babetta Beat Bettina
Chantal Clarisse Corinne
Cyrilla Dania Donata
Emerita Erma Erminia
Fabia Fabiana Fabiola
Flavia Florina Giona
Hanneli Hanni Heidi
Helga Imelda Isa
Karin Karine Katja
Ladina Liana Lisia
Lorella Maria Marilena
Marlies Melania Menica
Michaela Mirella Monette
Odile Orsina Orsola
Ottavia Patty Pia
Purissimma Ramona Regula
Renata Resli Roesli
Sabine Silva Sira
Sonja Teresa Trudi
Uschi Verena Vreneli

Swiss Surnames

Acklin Amiel Baertschi
Bragger Camenzind Cavegn
Cheda Christen Delfs
Donders Fah Gygax
Haefeli Hauri Henchoz
Hlasek Kaelin Lautens
Nef Rast Rausis
Seifert Stockli Wicky
Zingre Zinsli Zubriggen
Zuelle Zulle  


Albbrecht Anderhub Baehler
Besse Boller Brand
Burkhart Dreher Egemann
Emennegger Emmeneger Federer
Feurer Fischer Frei
Freiholc Frischknecht Geiger
Gier Gisler Goetschi
Graf Graupe Grossi
Gruenenfelder Handschin Hangl
Heinzer Heinzmann Heuberger
Hottiger Huber Huerliman
Huerlimann Hunkeler Jeker
Keller Kernen Kestenholz
Koller Lanbrigger Lehmann
Lengen Locher M¬ ndli
Mader Mahrer Melliger
Meyer Nielispach Nietlispach
Nuessli Oester Perathoner
Reich Reimann Reuteler
Riegler Rohner Rohr
Rohrer Rominger Roten
Rusterholz Sauber Schaerer
Schenk Schlafli Schneider
Schnyder Schoch Schorta
Schreider Schwaller Schyder
Seitz Simmen Struver
Trinkl Ubersechs Visser
Vogel Von Gruenigen Von Sibenthal
Wabe Wagner Walliser
Wasser Wertscher Weyermann
Widmer Zangger Zberg
Zeitner Zeller Zurcher
Zwirn Zwygart  


Accola Agassiz Berardi
Bettinelli Bianchini Bolla
Borghi Campigli Codoni
Conti Cotti Figini
Fossati Garzoli Genazzi
Giacomini Gilardi Girardelli
Grassi Lafranchi Lucchesi
Manta Marti Martinelli
Mazza Muscio Pascolo
Pomi Righetti Scilacci
Sesa Sforza Soldati
Tomasi Tomasini Vega


Almer Bertod Bollier
Bonvin Bornisson Bovet
Briguet Chapuisat Clerc
Comisett Corminboeuf Cuche
Devenoge Dion Dufaux
Foumer Gadient Gigandet
Grand Jeanneret Lambert
Metzier Monachon Perren
Plancherel Plaschy Quentin
Rey-Bellet Robinette Sartoris

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