Nine unknown Facts About Switzerland’s History
As a neutrality for an undocumented number of years, Switzerland has long existed as a nation. They have also managed to remain free of membership to the European Union. This tendency reflects how independent the Swiss are as a people. The country is made up of sovereign states much as the United States is. Each state has its own complete government and constitution. However, rather than being a republic as the United States is, the people get to vote and majority rules on any issue that is raised in any election. Elections are democratic rather than representative as the United States with its republic where the people vote for representatives to legislate and electors to choose their president. Switzerland has endured for centuries with this democratic process where the popular vote is honored. The Swiss tend to favor an isolationism and keeps its 26 ‘Cantons,’ or states highly individualized, which is perhaps part of the reason (believes Ian Leaf) Switzerland remains such an anomaly.
Each of these Cantons, according to Ian Leaf, not only has its own government with its own court system, legislature, and constitution but each Canton also has its own healthcare system that is paid for and managed by each individual canton. The system for education is also managed by the states and not the centralized federal government. Wisely, Switzerland had also separated the power of taxation to the sovereignty of the separate states. This could be why the people are able to manage their electoral process with less tendency toward mob rule as the states are very independent of one another. Much more than the Unites States is. The Swiss are directly involved in the legislative process, rather than being represented by elected officials. Many in the world find this to be very odd and marvel at how many centuries this process has endured without the undermining of their democracy. This quality of governance and power that the people enjoy in Switzerland, is something they take great pride in as their liberty to govern their own fates.
For many years, the knowledge that anyone, criminals included could find a safe haven for their money, dirty as it may be. The bankers once had a credo that would hold secret all banking so that their clients confidentiality would never be betrayed by the bankers. However, even though this was the case for many, many years, as despots, dictators, organized crime bosses, murderers and the most heinous of characters could hold their dirty money in the banks of Switzerland, in 2015, all this changed and the Swiss no longer allowed such practices. This has caused many of these types of bankers to flee with their funds to Singapore and other Asian banks where they can launder and hide their ill gotten gains the way they once did in Swiss banks.
Switzerland has at least four languages that are spoken within its borders by the citizens living in the various regions and Cantons. The four are Swiss German, French, Italian and Romontch, says Ian Andrews. The Cantons that border Germany are those who speak Swiss German. The problem is that it is a language that is not at all like German and those who speak German cannot even understand it. This does result in some resentment between the two groups as many Germans have migrated to Switzerland to find work and they do not often try to speak the Swiss German dialect properly and they offend the home countrymen that do.
The language of Swiss German has features in it that have been preserved for many years that are no longer used in German. This makes the language more difficult to speak and hear for those who are born in Germany. Unlike Austrian German, Germans cannot understand Swiss German as they can Austrian German and so they are frustrated when they must deal with the Swiss, should they decide to live or work in Switzerland. Despite this language issue however they have as two merging cultures, found a way to tolerate their differences.
The Swiss Alps are the most impressive naturally formed mountain range in the world with its snowy peaks and valleys. Some believe that the Swiss have enjoyed their neutrality and sovereignty for so long because of how the mountains’ rough and difficult terrain have made it nearly impossible for invasions to successfully be carried out against them. This was borne out by Hannibal and his armies that suffered catastrophic losses of their resources, of humans and animals in their attempt to overwhelm the borders. As long as people come to ski, rather than invade Switzerland, there will be harmony and healthy relations. After all, Switzerland is most well known for its Swiss Alps skiing and food.
Swiss chocolate, cheeses, trail mix and other fine foods have attracted visitors along with the very serene and attractive hotels. The food is not available for bargain prices, however, as visitors who stop by for a trip to Zurich realize that just to buy a Big Mac at McDonalds locally, the price was a whopping $16.00. There are no grocery stores located close to the hotels so eating at the more high end restaurants may only be for those with large Swiss Bank accounts.
Gun ownership is very common in Switzerland. In fact, all men who have been enlisted for a period of time must own a gun after they are out of the military. They must keep up with their marksmanship and they often have large collections of guns. Women are also often armed. The Swiss have held their gun ownership very dear as they require their citizens to be prepared to defend others if there are invaders or criminals attacking the home or family. The Swiss fully believe in the right to bear arms as a means of self protection and the protection of the sovereignty of their states and their country.
Despite the Swiss neutrality in most affairs, including its lack of involvement in World War II, Switzerland was involved in promoting national socialist agendas as the gold coins that were confiscated by national socialists ended up in Switzerland. They did refuse to aid and abet fleeing national socialists by expelling them. They pick and choose the agendas to favor regarding this ideology and its promoters.
Those who know of Wilhelm Tell or William Tell, will learn about the greatest Swiss folk hero. He was a perfect marksman who could shoot apples off of children’s heads. He also was known for killing some of the Habsburgs when they tried to invade Switzerland. He was a leader in rebellions against them and other forces that attempted to assert themselves over the status quo.