|German name: Schweiz, French name: Suisse, Italian name: Svizzera, Latin name: Helvetia a federal republic in W central Europe: the cantons of Schwyz, Uri, and Unterwalden formed a defensive league against the Hapsburgs in 1291, later joined by other cantons; gained independence in 1499; adopted a policy of permanent neutrality from 1516; a leading centre of the Reformation in the 16th century. It lies in the Jura Mountains and the Alps, with a plateau between the two ranges. Official languages: German, French, and Italian; Romansch minority. Religion: mostly Protestant and Roman Catholic. Currency: Swiss franc. Capital: Bern. Pop: 7 163 000 (2004 est). Area: 41 288 sq km (15 941 sq miles)|
Republic in central Europe, bordered by France to the west, Germany to the north, Liechtenstein and Austria to the east, and Italy to the east and south. Its capital is Bern, and its largest city is Zurich.
Note: Known for its strict neutrality, Switzerland maintained armed neutrality in both World War I and World War II.
Note: Swiss banks allow depositors to be identified by a number known only to the depositor and a few bank officials; private fortunes can therefore be kept secret.
Note: It is famous for its watchmaking industry and its milk chocolate.