February 14, 2016

2098, 2099, 2294 SWITZERLAND - The map and the flag of the country

2098 The map and the flag of Switzerland,
and the coats of arms of the 26 cantons

Posted on 04.12.2015, 14.02.2016
Located between Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein, Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the  Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura. While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8 million people is concentrated mostly on the Plateau, where the largest cities are to be found. Among them are the two global and economic centres,  Zürich and Geneva, and also Bern, de facto capital city. It has a stable, prosperous and high-tech economy and enjoys great wealth, being ranked as the wealthiest country in the world per capita in multiple rankings.

2099 The physical map of Switzerland

Even if it is still named the "Swiss Confederation" (Latin: Confoederatio Helvetica, abbreviated CH) for historical reasons, Switzerland is a federal directorial republic consisting of 26 cantons. Straddling the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, it comprises four linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. It don't form a nation in the sense of a common ethnicity or language; rather, its strong sense of identity is founded on a common historical background, and on shared values.

2294 The administrative map of Switzerland

One of the most important tribal groups in the Swiss region in Antiquity was the Helvetii. The territory of modern Switzerland was part, successively, of Roman Empire, kingdoms of Alemannia and BurgundyFrankish Empire, and Holy Roman Empire. The Federal Charter of 1291 is considered the confederacy's founding document, the Old Swiss Confederacy being an alliance among the valley communities of the central Alps, aiming to facilitated management of common interests and ensured peace on the important mountain trade routes.

By 1353, the three original cantons had joined with the cantons of Glarus and Zug and the Lucerne, Zürich and Bern city states to form the Old Confederacy that existed until the end of the 15th century. The increased power and wealth of the federation, strengthened by several military victories which brought it a reputation of invincibility, led to de facto independence within the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. Its defeat in the Battle of Marignano (1515) ended the so-called "heroic" epoch of Swiss history.

In 1648, European countries recognized Switzerland's independence from the Holy Roman Empire and its neutrality. After 17 years of French possession, in 1815 the Congress of Vienna fully re-established Swiss independence and the European powers agreed to permanently recognise Swiss neutrality. The treaty also allowed Switzerland to increase its territory, with the admission of the cantons of Valais, Neuchâtel and Geneva. Country's borders have not changed since, except for some minor adjustments.

In 1848 the Swiss drew up a constitution which provided for a federal layout, much of it inspired by the American example. In 1891, the constitution was revised with unusually strong elements of direct democracy, which remain unique even today. Switzerland remained neutral and was not invaded during either of the world wars. Direct democracy and federalism are hallmarks of its political system. However, it was the last Western republic to grant women the right to vote (at the federal level in 1971, and in the last canton Appenzell Innerrhoden in 1990).

The flag of Switzerland consists of a red flag with a white cross (a bold, equilateral cross) in the centre. It is one of only two square sovereign-state flags, the other being the flag of Vatican City. Use of the white cross as a military ensign (attached to the cantonal flags in the form of strips of linen) has been used in the Old Swiss Confederacy since the 14th century, but the modern design was introduced only during the Napoleonic period.

About the stamps
On the postcard 2098
The stamp is part of a series depicting vegetable blossoms, about which I wrote here.

On the postcard 2099
The first stamp is part of a set which belongs to the series Seals (Emblems), issued on September 3, 1981.
• City seal of Freiburg
• City seal of Solothurn - It's on the postcard 2099

The second stamp is part of a series of two issued to celebrate the 150th birthday of Ernst Kreidolf (1863-1956), about which I wrote here.

On the postcard 2294

The minisheet on the left, designed by Beatrice Zehnder, was issued on November 13, 2014 to mark the Stamp Day.

The second stamp is part of the series Flora - Mushrooms, designed by Karin Hanni and issued on March 6, 2014:
• Cantharellus cibarius (10 CHF)
• Lactarius lignyotus (15 CHF)
• Hydnellum caeruleum (20 CHF)
• Strobilomyces strobilaceus (50 CHF) - It's on the postcard 2294

The last stamp is part of the second set of the series Flora - Flowering Plants, about which I wrote here.

Switzerland - Wikipedia

Sender 2098: Rosmarie
Sent from Will (St. Gallen / Switzerland), on 23.07.2014
Sender 2099: Zasa Lein (direct swap)
Sent from Bern (Bern / Switzerland), on 11.06.2013
Sender 2294: 
Sent from ??? (Bern / Switzerland), on 11.04.2015

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