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The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities joined the original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. A constitution of 1848, subsequently modified in 1874, replaced the confederation with a centralized federal government. Switzerland's sovereignty and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and the country was not involved in either of the two world wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland's role in many UN and international organizations, has strengthened Switzerland's ties with its neighbors. However, the country did not officially become a UN member until 2002. Switzerland remains active in many UN and international organizations but retains a strong commitment to neutrality.


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Transportation

Airports World Ranking: 79
64 (2012)

Airports - with paved runways
Total 41
Over 3,047 m 3
2,438 to 3,047 m 2
1,524 to 2,437 m 13
914 to 1,523 m 6
Under 914 m 17 (2012)

Airports - with unpaved runways
Total 23
Under 914 m 23 (2012)

Heliports
1 (2012)

Pipelines
Gas 1,681 km; oil 94 km; refined products 7 km (2010)

Railways World Ranking: 37
Total 4,876 km
Standard gauge
3,846 km 1.435-m gauge (3,591 km electrified)
Narrow gauge
1,020 km 1.000-m gauge (1,013 km electrified); 10 km 0.800-m gauge (10 km electrified) (2008)

Roadways World Ranking: 65
Total 71,454 km
Paved
71,454 km (includes 1,790 of expressways) (2010)

Waterways World Ranking: 58
1,292 km (there are 1,227 km of waterways on lakes and rivers for public transport and another 65 km on the Rhine River between Basel-Rheinfelden and Schaffhausen-Bodensee used for the transport of commercial goods) (2010)

Merchant marine World Ranking: 76
Total 38
By type
Bulk carrier 19, cargo 9, chemical tanker 5, container 4, petroleum tanker 1
Registered in other countries
127 (Antigua and Barbuda 7, Bahamas 1, Belize 1, Cayman Islands 1, France 5, Germany 2, Hong Kong 5, Italy 13, Liberia 25, Luxembourg 1, Malta 20, Marshall Islands 12, NZ 2, Panama 15, Portugal 3, Russia 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 7, Singapore 3, Spain 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals
Basel


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  Switzerland (Bern):


  GPS points from Switzerland (Bern)

Rhaetian Alps Kanton Graubunden

Evolene Canton Du Valais

Obergerlafingen Kanton Solothurn

Wolfenschiessen Kanton Nidwalden

Blumenstein Kanton Bern

Gommiswald Switzerland (general)

Lustenau Kanton Schwyz

Etzel Kanton Schwyz




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