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|Canton of Vaud|
The canton stretches from Lake Neuchâtel in the north, where it borders the canton of Neuchâtel to Lake Geneva in the south, bordering the canton of Geneva, Haute-Savoie (lake border with France) and canton of Valais. On the Jura ranges in the west, the canton borders the French départements of Ain, Jura, and Doubs. In the east, it borders canton of Fribourg and canton of Bern. The total area is 3,212 km².
In the north, there is an enclave containing Avenches surrounded by canton of Fribourg and Lake Neuchâtel. On the other hand, there are two enclaves of the canton of Fribourg, as well as two enclaves of the canton of Geneva, that are surrounded by the canton of Vaud.
The areas in the southeast are mountainous, part of the Swiss Alps. The Diablerets with 3,210m are part of these mountains. There are significant glaciers in these mountains, home to some well-known ski resorts, such as Les Diablerets and Leysin. The central area of the canton, in contrast, constitutes of moraines and is thus hilly. There are plains along the lakes.
Along the lakes, Vaud was inhabited in prehistoric times. Later on, the Celtic tribe of the Helvetii inhabited the area. The tribe was defeated by Caesar’s troops in 58 BC and as a consequence the Romans settled the area. The towns of Vevey (Viviscus) and Lausanne (Lausonium or Lausonna) are two of the many towns established by the Romans.
In 27 BC the state of Civitas Helvetiorum was established around the capital of Avenches (Aventicum). There are still many Roman remains around the town today. Between the 2nd and the 4th century the area was repeatedly invaded by Alemannic tribes, and in the 5th century the Burgundians occupied the area. The Merovingian Franks later replaced the Burgundians. Their occupancy did not last long either, and in 888 the area of the canton of Vaud was made part of the Carolingian Empire. In 1032 the Zähringens of Germany defeated the Burgundians. The Zähringens themselves were succeeded in 1218 by the counts of Savoy. It was only under the counts of Savoy that the area was given political unity, establishing what is today in greater part known as the canton of Vaud. A part stretching from Attalens to the River Sarine, in the north was absorbed by the canton of Fribourg.
As the power of the Savoys declined at the beginning of the 15th century the land was occupied by troops from Bern. By 1536 the area was completely annexed. The rulers from Bern imposed the Reformation by force. The Bernese occupants were not popular amongst the population and the French Revolutionary troops were received with enthusiasm in 1798. The French troops were victorious and a Lemanic Republic was declared. This was soon turned into the canton of Léman, which in 1803 joined the Swiss confederation.
The capital Lausanne is the major city in the canton. There are light industries concentrated around the capital, and the federal school of engineering EPFL. In 1998, 71.7% of the workers worked in the tertiary sector and 20.8% in the secondary.
The canton is the second largest producer of wine in Switzerland. Most of the wine produced in the canton is white wine, and most vineyards are located on the steep shores of Lake Geneva. There is agriculture in the areas away from Lake Geneva. Sugar beet is important around Orbe, tobacco in the La Broye Valley and fruits are grown on the foot of the Jura mountains. Cattle breeding and pasture are common in the Alps and the Jura mountains. There is a salt mine at Bex. Tourism is important in many towns along the Lake Geneva. Major lakeside resorts include Lausanne, Montreux or Vevey.
The major population centres of the canton are: Lausanne (approx. 275,000 inhabitants in 2000), Montreux-Vevey (70,000 inhabitants) and Yverdon-les-Bains. The region around Nyon is often considered part of the agglomeration of Geneva. All of these are on Lake Geneva, except for Yverdon, which is on Lake Neuchâtel.
See also: Municipalities of the canton of Vaud
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