Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated at the confluence of Western, Central, and Southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities based in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided among the Swiss Plateau, the Alps, and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi), and land area of 39,997 km2 (15,443 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities and economic centres are located, among them Zürich, Geneva and Basel. These cities are home to several offices of international organisations such as the headquarters of FIFA, the UN's second-largest Office, and the main building of the Bank for International Settlements. The main international airports of Switzerland are also located in these cities.
The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The Federal Charter of 1291 is considered the founding document of Switzerland which is celebrated on Swiss National Day. Since the Reformation of the 16th century, Switzerland has maintained a strong policy of armed neutrality; it has not fought an international war since 1815 and did not join the United Nations until 2002. Nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. Switzerland is the birthplace of the Red Cross, one of the world's oldest and best known humanitarian organisations, and is home to numerous international organisations, including the United Nations Office at Geneva, which is its second-largest in the world. It is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties.
Switzerland occupies the crossroads of Germanic and Romance Europe, as reflected in its four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German-speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, and Alpine symbolism. Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz [ˈʃvaɪts] (German); Suisse [sɥis(ə)] (French); Svizzera [ˈzvittsera] (Italian); and Svizra [ˈʒviːtsrɐ, ˈʒviːtsʁɐ] (Romansh). On coins and stamps, the Latin name, Confoederatio Helvetica – frequently shortened to "Helvetia" – is used instead of the four national languages.
A developed country, it has the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product, and has been considered a tax haven. It ranks highly on some international metrics, including economic competitiveness and human development. Its cities such as Zürich, Geneva and Basel rank among the highest in the world in terms of quality of life, albeit with some of the highest costs of living in the world. In 2019, IMD placed Switzerland first in attracting skilled workers. The World Economic Forum ranks it the 5th most competitive country globally. (Full article...)
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Credit Suisse Group AG is a global wealth manager, investment bank and financial services firm founded and based in Switzerland. Headquartered in Zürich, it maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world and is one of the nine global "Bulge Bracket" banks providing services in investment banking, private banking, asset management, and shared services. Credit Suisse is known for its strict bank–client confidentiality and banking secrecy practices.
Credit Suisse was founded in 1856 to fund the development of Switzerland's rail system. It issued loans that helped create Switzerland's electrical grid
and the European rail system
. In the 1900s, it began shifting to retail banking
in response to the elevation of the middle class and competition from fellow Swiss banks UBS
and Julius Bär
. Credit Suisse partnered with First Boston
in 1978. After a large failed loan put First Boston under financial stress, Credit Suisse bought a controlling share of the bank in 1988. From 1990 to 2000, the company made a series of acquisitions dramatically increasing its market share via the purchases of Winterthur Group
, Swiss Volksbank, Swiss American Securities Inc. (SASI), and Bank Leu
, among others. The biggest owners of Credit Suisse include the Qatar Holding
, US mutual fund providers Harris Associates
and Dodge & Cox
, the central bank of Norway
and the Saudi Olayan Group
. (Full article...
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Topographic map of the battle
The Battle of Winterthur (27 May 1799) was an important action between elements of the Army of the Danube and elements of the Habsburg army, commanded by Friedrich Freiherr von Hotze, during the War of the Second Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. The small town of Winterthur lies 18 kilometers (11 mi) northeast of Zürich, in Switzerland. Because of its position at the junction of seven roads, the army that held the town controlled access to most of Switzerland and points crossing the Rhine into southern Germany. Although the forces involved were small, the ability of the Austrians to sustain their 11-hour assault on the French line resulted in the consolidation of three Austrian forces on the plateau north of Zürich, leading to the French defeat a few days later.
By mid-May 1799, the Austrians had wrested control of parts of Switzerland
from the French as forces under the command of Hotze and Count Heinrich von Bellegarde
pushed them out of the Grisons
. After defeating Jean-Baptiste Jourdan
's 25,000-man Army of the Danube
at the battles of Ostrach
, the main Austrian army, under command of Archduke Charles
, crossed the Rhine
at the Swiss town of Schaffhausen
and prepared to unite with the armies of Hotze and Friedrich Joseph, Count of Nauendorf
, on the plains surrounding Zürich. (Full article...
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