Schweizer Eidgenossenschaft
Helvetia -
Confédération suisse - Confederazione Svizzera
Confederaziun svizra - Confoederatio Helvetica -

A land-locked federation in central Europe, situated between France, Germany, Austria and Italy. The country has three official languages: German, French and Italian. The nucleus of modern Switzerland appeared in the late 13th century, and in 1648, the Confederation became independent. 

Switzerland has not been involved in a foreign war since 1515 and, learning the lesson of Napoleon's seizure of the country, has since 1815 maintained a policy of armed neutrality. Switzerland has no military alliances and does not belong to the United Nations, although it participates in a number of U.N. programs and has U.N offices in Geneva. 

In 1986 the Swiss electorate rejected membership in the United Nations but in 1992 approved application to the European Union. The stability of the Swiss government and economy and of the Swiss franc -- along with Switzerland's policy of banking secrecy - has made the country one of the world's financial centers.

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