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Switzerland

free international smsSwitzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a landlocked alpine country in Central Europe. The country, which is bordered by Germany to the north, France to the west, Italy to the south, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east, was historically a confederation, and has been a federation since 1848. Switzerland has a strong economy in finance and banking, and a long and strong tradition of political and military neutrality. This background allows Switzerland to host various international co-operations and organizations.

Confoederatio Helvetica, the country's official Latin name, means Helvetic Confederation. The use of Latin avoids having to favour one of the four national languages. The abbreviation (CH) is used for the same reason. The titles commonly used in French (Confederation suisse), Italian (Confederazione Svizzera) and Romansh (Confederaziun svizra) translate as "Swiss Confederation", while the German name of Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft translates literally as "Swiss Oath Fellowship" or "Swiss Commonwealth of the Covenant". A male native of Switzerland is said to be a Schweizer and a female is a Schweizerin in German; Suisse (male) and both Suisse or Suissesse (female) in French and svizzero (male) or svizzera (female) in Swiss Italian.

Geography

switzerland mapWith an area of 41,285 square kilometres (15,940 sq mi), Switzerland is a relatively small country. The population is about 7.4 million, resulting in a population density of 182 people per square kilometre (472/sq mi).

Switzerland comprises three basic topographical areas: the Swiss Alps, the Swiss plateau, and the Jura mountains. The Alps are a high mountain range running across the central-south of the country. Among the high peaks of the Swiss Alps, the highest of which is the Dufour Peak at 4,634 metres (15,203 ft), are found countless valleys, some with glaciers. From these the headwaters of several major European rivers such as the Rhine, the Rhone, the Inn, the Aare, and the Ticino flow down into lakes such as Lake Geneva, Lake Zurich, Lake Neuchatel, and Lake Constance.

free send sms worldwideThe northern, more populous part of the country is more open, but can still be mountainous, for example, in the Jura Mountains, a smaller range in the northwest. The Swiss climate is generally temperate, but can vary greatly between the localities, from harsh conditions on the high mountains to the often pleasant Mediterranean climate at Switzerland's southern tip.

Switzerland's eco-systems can be particularly vulnerable due to the many valleys separated by high mountains, often forming unique ecologies, and the mountainous regions themselves, with a rich range of plants not found at other altitudes.

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