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Canton of Geneva
Canton of Geneva
The Republic and Canton of Geneva is the name of the westernmost canton or state of Switzerland, surrounded on almost all sides by France and centered around the city of Geneva. The official name of this canton is République et Canton de Genève. Like some other Swiss cantons (Ticino, Neuchâtel, Jura) this canton calls itself a republic, as part of the Swiss confederation.
The canton of Geneva is located in the south western corner of Switzerland. Thanks to its capital, the canton of Geneva is one of the most cosmopolitan areas of Switzerland. As a centre of Calvinist Reformation, the capital Geneva exercised significant influence on the canton, which essentially consists of Geneva and its hinterlands.
The area of the canton of Geneva is 282 km2. The canton is practically isolated from other Swiss cantons. The canton is bordered only by Vaud. The adjoining French departements are Ain (to the North) and Haute-Savoie (to the South). The current boundaries of the canton were established in 1815. As of 2002 the population of the canton is 414,300.
As home of Calvin's Reformation the canton of Geneva has traditionally been a Protestant Christian stronghold. However, over the latter part of the 20th century the proportion of Catholics rose, in large part due to immigration from southern Europe, and now Catholics outnumber Protestants in the canton. However, the canton is still officially considered Protestant. The French surroundings are mostly Roman Catholic.
The city of Geneva is predominant. It is a centre of commerce, trade and finance. A great number of Swiss banks are located in Geneva, particularly in the area of private banking. The service industry is most significant in Geneva where there are headquarters of a number of international corporations as well as international organizations, such as the United Nations and the International Postal Union. As a financial centre the city of Geneva is of international significance. Agricultural is commonplace in the hinterlands of Geneva, particularly wheat and wine.
Precision machinery and instruments are another branch where the economy of the canton of Geneva is strong. This is also reflected in the tradition of watch-making in Geneva.
- International Red Cross, since 1864
- League of Nations, 1919
- European headquarters of the United Nations, 1945
- European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN, 1954
- International Telecommunication Union ITU 1947
The main educational institution is the University of Geneva, founded in 1559 by Calvin. It was originally called Schola Genevensis. The original buildings are not used by the University anymore, but by "Collège Calvin".
Most of the main roads in the canton of Geneva radiate from the capital Geneva. Of these main roads, a great number lead into France rather than any Swiss canton.
The canton is served by an international airport at Cointrin (Geneva International Airport) which has one terminal only.
There are good rail links to cities in France and Switzerland. Since 1984 the French high-speed trains (TGV) come to Geneva.
The constitution of the canton was established in 1847 and since then amended. The cantonal government has seven members who are elected for four years (Council of State). The legislative (Great Council) has 100 seats. The deputies are elected for four years at a time.
Laws are to be subjected to a referendum if it is demanded by 7000 persons entitled to vote. 10 000 persons may also propose a new law.
The canton is divided into municipalities (communes) which have their own assemblies and a mayor.
From 1584 Geneva was an "everlasting ally" of the Swiss Confederation. During the time of the Helvetic Republic Geneva was not part of Switzerland (République Helvétique), but was a part of France. The Canton of Geneva joined the Swiss Confederation in 1815, having been enlarged by French and Savoyard territories at the Vienna Congress.
The municipalities of the canton are:
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