The 26 cantons ( French cantons, Italian cantoni, Romansh chantuns, in German Switzerland traditionally also state , in the plural objects , respectively, in the Romandie also état called) are the constituent states of the Swiss Confederation . The term canton was first used in 1475 in a Freiburg file.
Each canton has its own constitution and its own legislative , executive and judicial authorities. All cantons have a unicameral parliament (Grand Council, Cantonal Council, District Administrator, Parliament; see also: Cantonal Parliament ). Depending on the canton, this has 49 to 180 parliamentary seats. The cantonal government (government council, government, state council, professional ethics committee) consists of five or seven members, depending on the canton. In each canton there is a two-tier court system (first instance: district court , district court, cantonal court, district court, regional court, regional court, criminal court, civil court; second instance: higher court , cantonal court, appellate court), preceded by an arbitration authority (justice of the peace, mediation office).
All government areas that are not assigned to the Confederation by the Swiss Federal Constitution or regulated by a federal law belong to the competence of the cantons, for example cantonal state and administrative organization law, school system, social assistance, building law, police, notarial system, cantonal and communal tax law, to a large extent also health care, planning law, court constitution and others. Both the federal government and the cantons have competencies in many areas. Cantons, like the German states, are derivative subjects of international law and, within their competences, can conclude state treaties with one another (so-called concordats ) or with foreign states.
In two cantons - Glarus and Appenzell Innerrhoden - the people pass cantonal laws at a meeting of all citizens, the rural community . In the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, the members of the cantonal government and the cantonal courts are also elected at the Landsgemeinde. In all other cantons, elections and votes take place at the ballot box.
Word origin and other designations
The term "canton" for a member of the Confederation is first recorded in 1475 or 1467 from Friborg. Since cantone in Northern Italy has stood for "part of the country" since the 11th century, Walther von Wartburg assumes that the word was brought to what is now western Switzerland by Lombard merchants, where it was then adopted as a canton in German and as canton in French. Italian cantone is an enlarged form of canto, which means "corner, edge, angle, piece, part". Canto, on the other hand, comes from the Latin canthus "iron wheel tire", which in turn was perhaps originally a Celtic word.
Before and next to the word canton - this became more and more popular in German-speaking Switzerland from the 17th century and became official in 1798 - there were and are several other names for the members of the Swiss Confederation.
- The earliest official name was "Stett and Lender". To this day, land has been preserved in some cantons as “ Landsgemeinde ”, “Landrat”, “ Landammann ”, “Land (es) statthalter”, “Landschreiber”, “Landgericht”, “Landesarchiv” or “Landesbibliothek”.
- "Place", a comprehensive term for "cities" and "countries", was first found in 1426 in a Zurich council resolution. It lives on in the historical terms " eight-member " and " thirteen-member Confederation ".
- “Stand” (French état ) emerged as a neutral term for “city” and “country” in the 16th century and reached its peak in use in the 18th century. Nowadays the word sounds archaic, but can be found in combinations such as “more of the estates” and “ council of states ” at the federal level as well as in the “ethics commission”, the “booth chancellery”, the “state president” and the “state woman” in the official language Cantons.
- «State» (French also état ) is the Latin-derived counterpart to state . It was not used more broadly for the cantons until after 1800 and is now used in numerous terms such as "public prosecutor", "state archive", "state contribution", "state chancellery", "state staff", "state council", "state clerk", "state tax", " Staatsstrasse ”or“ Staatsweibel ”are common.
The so-called original cantons which the Federal Charter of 1291 are said to have founded the Confederation are the Waldstätte Uri , Schwyz and Unterwalden . In the Old Confederation , the cantons were often called places . Therefore, in relation to the expansion phases of Switzerland, one speaks of the eight old places and the thirteen old places (or the eight-place and thirteen-place confederation). Allies who were not full members of the Confederation were designated as facing places . The full members and even more so the places facing the Confederation were still independent states.
With the Helvetic Republic (1798–1803) the term canton got a heavier use. In the newly created unitary state, however, the cantons were mere administrative districts without rights of autonomy. The demarcation was changed in order to create cantons of approximately the same size and to smash the old order. This also resulted in the short-lived cantons of Säntis , Linth , Waldstätte , Oberland , Baden , Lugano and Bellinzona , and from 1802 the canton of Fricktal for one year .
Mediation, restoration, regeneration
With the mediation constitution of 1803, the number of cantons increased to 19 and with the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to 22. Related places such as the Republic of Gersau , the area of Engelberg Abbey and others were added to individual cantons against their will. In 1833, the canton of Basel-Landschaft split off from the canton of Basel-Stadt in an armed conflict , and at the same time the canton of Ausserschwyz split from the center of Schwyz (but this did not last). The last traces of the territorial assignments of the Congress of Vienna so far were cleared democratically in 1979 with the establishment of the canton of Jura and in 1994 with the transfer of the Bernese district of Laufen to the canton of Basel-Landschaft, both of which were split off from the canton of Bern ; the future of the Bernese Jura could lead to changes again.
State of 1848
When a federal state was founded in 1848 , the sovereignty of the cantons was restricted, and areas such as foreign policy, customs, currency and postal services came under federal authority. With industrialization and economic growth, state life became increasingly complex, which made further centralization necessary and led to the unification of substantive law in areas such as civil law, criminal law, commercial and economic law. Today the areas in which the cantons can really still legislate autonomously are fairly limited. There is increasing talk of «enforcement federalism».
Admission of new cantons
The enlargement of Switzerland through the inclusion of further areas as cantons ended in 1815, since then there have only been changes to the area between the cantons and in 1978 the canton of Jura was founded by splitting off from the canton of Bern .
After the end of the Habsburg monarchy , efforts were made to include the Austrian state of Vorarlberg as a canton in Switzerland. The referendum in Vorarlberg in 1919 showed that a majority of a good 80 percent of Vorarlbergers was in favor of joining Switzerland. However, the project failed because of the hesitant policy of the (provisional) Vorarlberg state assembly and the Swiss Federal Council , which did not want to imbalance the carefully balanced relationship between the languages of Switzerland and the denominations in Switzerland by adding an additional canton with German-speaking Catholics , as well as the peace treaties with the Entente .
In 2010, Dominique Baettig , a member of the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) in the National Council , called for a legal framework to allow regions bordering Switzerland to join Switzerland as additional cantons. The Federal Council rejected this, as such a decree would constitute an unfriendly political act that neighboring states could perceive as a provocation.
Today the number of cantons is given as 26, sometimes as 23. The reason is that six cantons ( Obwalden , Nidwalden , Appenzell Innerrhoden , Appenzell Ausserrhoden , Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft ) are still sometimes referred to as half-cantons for historical reasons . Since the complete revision of the Federal Constitution in 1999, they have been regarded as cantons with half a professional vote. This distinction is only relevant for the composition of the Council of States and for the number of estates and has no influence on internal autonomy.
The official order of the cantons (see list below ), as it appears in Article 1 of the Federal Constitution, goes back to the time before the founding of the federal state. The three suburbs from the period between 1815 and 1848 are named first , followed by the other cantons in the order in which they joined.
Tables and lists
List of Swiss cantons with their key data
|Members of the
Council of States
|AR||Appenzell Ausserrhoden||15th||1513||Herisau , Trogen 5||55'234||242.84||1||227||German|
|SG||St. Gallen||17th||1803||St. Gallen||507,697||2028.20||2||250||German|
|GR||Grisons||18th||1803||Chur||198,379||7105.30||2||28||German, Romansh, Italian|
|CH||Swiss Confederation||7 1291||
( federal city )
The two-letter abbreviations Canton ( abbreviations ) are common, they include for vehicle license plates are required and in the ISO 3166-2: CH (with the prefix "CH-", for example, CH-SZ for the canton of Schwyz).
Canton names in the Swiss official languages and in dialect
The names of the cantons are given in the spelling and the official order as they can be found in Article 1 of the Federal Constitution. The names in the respective official languages in the official full name form are highlighted. The names in Swiss German are not binding, as there is no official spelling for them. In the following, the dialect wording is given for wholly or partially German-speaking cantons that applies in the respective regional dialect.
|BE||2||Canton Bern||Canton de Berne||Berna||Berna||Bear|
|UR||4th||Canton of Uri||Uri||Uri||Uri||Üüri, Ürnerland|
|SZ||5||Canton of Schwyz||Schwyz (Schwytz *) )||Svitto||Sviz||Schwyz|
|OW||6th||Canton of Obwalden||Obwald||Obvaldo||Sursilvania||Obwaldä|
|NW||7th||Canton of Nidwalden||Nidwald||Nidvaldo||Sutsilvania||Nidwaldä, Nidwaudä|
|GL||8th||Canton of Glarus||Glaris||Glarona||Glaruna||Glaris, Glarnerland|
|ZG||9||Canton of Zug||Zoug||Zugo||train||Zùùg|
|FR||10||State of Freiburg||Etat de Friborg||Friburgo||Friburg||Frybùrg|
|SO||11||Canton of Solothurn||Soleure||Soletta||Soloturn||Soledurn|
|BS||12||Canton of Basel-Stadt||Bâle-Ville||Basilea Città||Basilea Citad||Baaselstadt|
|BL||13||Canton of Basel-Country||Bâle Campagne||Basilea Campagna||Basilea Champagna||Baaselbiet|
|SH||14th||Canton of Schaffhausen||Schaffhouse||Sciaffusa||Sheepusa||Sheepfoot|
|AR||15th||Canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden||Appenzell Rhodes Extérieures||Appenzello Esterno||Appenzell Dadora||Appezäll Osserode|
|AI||16||Canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden||Appenzell Rhodes-Intérieures||Appenzello Interno||Appenzell Dadens||Appezöll Innerode|
|SG||17th||Canton of St. Gallen||Saint Gall||San Gallo||Son Gagl||Sanggale|
|GR||18th||canton of Grisons||Grisons||Cantone dei Grigioni||Chantun Grischun||Graubünda, Bündnerland|
|AG||19th||Kanton Aargau||Argovie||Argovia||Argovia||Aargou, Aargau, Aargöi|
|TG||20th||Canton of Thurgau||Thurgovie||Turgovia||Turgovia||Tùùrgi, Tùùrgau|
|TI||21st||Canton of Ticino||Ticino||Repubblica e Cantone Ticino||Ticino||Ticino|
|VD||22nd||Canton of Vaud||Canton de Vaud||Vaud||Vad||Wadt|
|VS||23||Canton of Valais||État du Valais||Vallese||Vallais||Valais|
|NE||24||Canton of Neuchâtel||République et Canton de Neuchâtel||Neuchâtel||Neuchâtel||Nöieburg, Nüüeburg|
|GE||25th||Canton of Geneva||République et Canton de Genève||Ginevra||Genevra||Gämf, Gänf|
|JU||26th||Canton of Jura||République et Canton du Jura||Giura||Giura||law|
Inland cantons are those cantons that do not border on other countries. Switzerland has eleven inland cantons: Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Bern (since the Bern district of Laufen changed to the canton of Basel-Landschaft in 1994), Freiburg, Glarus, Lucerne, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Schwyz, Uri and Zug. Nidwalden and Obwalden are surrounded exclusively by inland cantons.
"Canton" is used jokingly for other countries and organizations.
- Big Canton stands for Germany. The term comes from the second half of the 19th century and at that time referred to the heavy immigration from Germany. Among other things, it was used for the film The Great Canton .
- 27. Canton stands
- Cantonal spirit
- District (Switzerland)
- Federalism in Switzerland
- List of coats of arms and flags of the Swiss cantons
- List of the incumbent members of the Swiss cantonal governments
- List of Swiss cantons by gross domestic product
- Andreas Auer : Constitutional law of the Swiss cantons. Stämpfli-Verlag, Bern 2016. ISBN 978-3-7272-3217-6 .
- Andreas Kley: Cantons. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
- Kurt Müller (Ed.): Building blocks of Switzerland. Portraits of the 26 cantons . Verlag Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zurich 1987. ISBN 3-85823-178-9 .
- (Various authors :) The Swiss cantons under the microscope. Authorities, personnel, finances. Haupt Verlag, Bern 2005. ISBN 978-3-258-06887-9 .
- Stefan Rieder, Thomas Widmer: Cantons in Transition. Reform activities of the Swiss cantons between 1990 and 1999: causes, structure and consequences (from the series: Public Management). Haupt Verlag, Bern 2007. ISBN 978-3-258-07249-4 .
- Switzerland and its 26 cantons. A (differentiated) country study in regions, traditions and coats of arms . Verlag Bär, Niederuzwil 2007. ISBN 978-3-9523212-0-1 (study book) or ISBN 978-3-9523212-1-8 (paperback).
- Wilhelm Oechsli : The names of the old Confederation and its members. In: Yearbook for Swiss History 41, 1916, pp. 51–230 ( digitized version ), here p. 78; then Andreas Kley: Cantons. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
- Wilhelm Oechsli : The names of the old Confederation and its members. In: Yearbook for Swiss History 41, 1916, pp. 51–230 ( digitized version ), here p. 78.
- Dictionnaire Suisse romand. Particularités lexicales du français contemporain, edited by André Thibault, Carouge 1997, p. 197.
- Walther von Wartburg : French Etymological Dictionary , 2nd volume. Leipzig / Berlin 1940, pp. 227-234; Manlio Cortelazzo, Paolo Zolli: Dizionario Etimologico della Lingua Italiana. Bologna 1999, p. 288; Christoph Landolt : Canton. Word history from August 22, 2019, ed. from the editors of the Swiss Idiotikon .
- The following according to Wilhelm Oechsli: The names of the old Confederation and its members. In: Yearbook for Swiss History 41, 1916, pp. 51–230 ( digitized version ); Christoph Landolt: Canton. Word history from August 22, 2019, ed. from the editors of the Swiss Idiotikon .
- On the meaning of status in the sense of 'federal place; Canton 'see Schweizerisches Idiotikon, Volume XI, Column 956 ff. Lemma, Stand or directly Col. 965 middle meaning 2cβ2 .
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