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Stein am Rhein
Cantons of Switzerland

Switzerland is made up of 26 states known as cantons. They are the states that originally united in 1848 to form the Confederation, to which they each relinquished part of their sovereignty.

The cantons, as member states of the Swiss federal state, have a permanent constitutional status and, in comparison with the situation in other countries, a high degree of independence. Under the Federal Constitution, all 26 cantons are equal in status. Accordingly, at a federal level, all cantons have the same rights of intervention (e.g. cantonal initiative, referendum requested by the cantons). Each canton has its own constitution, and its own parliament, government and courts. However, there are considerable differences between the individual cantons, most particularly in terms of population, geographical area, economic power and political tradition. The character of each canton is largely determined by its geographical location, its predominant culture and its history. Direct democracy in the form of a People’s Assembly still exists in the cantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden and Glarus. In the other cantons, the people vote at the ballot box.

Abbr Canton Since Capital Population Official languages
ZH Zürich 1351 Zürich 1,228,600 German
BE Bern 1353 Bern 947,100 German,
LU Lucerne 1332 Lucerne 350,600 German
UR Uri 1291 Altdorf 35,000 German
SZ Schwyz 1291 Schwyz 131,400 German
OW Obwalden 1291 Sarnen 32,700 German
NW Nidwalden 1291 Stans 38,600 German
GL Glarus 1352 Glarus 38,300 German
ZG Zug 1352 Zug 100,900 German
FR Fribourg 1481 Fribourg 239,100 French,
SO Solothurn 1481 Solothurn 245,500 German
BS Basel-Stadt 1501 Basel 186,700 German
BL Basel-Land 1501 Liestal 261,400 German
SH Schaffhausen 1501 Schaffhausen 73,400 German
AR Appenzell Ausserrhoden 1513 Herisau 53,200 German
AI Appenzell Innerrhoden 1513 Appenzell 15,000 German
SG St. Gallen 1803 St. Gallen 452,600 German
GR Graubünden 1803 Chur 185,700 German,
AG Aargau 1803 Aarau 550,900 German
TG Thurgau 1803 Frauenfeld 228,200 German
TI Ticino 1803 Bellinzona 311,900 Italian
VD Vaud 1803 Lausanne 626,200 French
VS Valais 1815 Sion 278,200 French,
NE Neuchatel 1815 Neuchâtel 166,500 French
GE Geneva 1815 Geneva 414,300 French
JU Jura 1979 Delémont 69,100 French



Gun politics in Switzerland
Gun politics in Switzerland


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