Today in World History: August 1st

The Old Swiss Confederacy, the predecessor to today’s Switzerland, was signed into existence on this day in 1291. As signed by three separate cantons in central Switzerland, it brought them to a union, which with other charters would expand to modern Switzerland’s borders. Switzerland was somewhat of a unique nation in Europe, as it comprised of several ethnic groups, with its population divided between Italian, German, and French, along with Romansh. The country was split during the Reformation, as some cities converted to Protestantism, while others remained Catholic. Geneva, which converted to Protestantism during the Reformation, also became home to John Calvin, the founder of Calvinism, yet another branch of Christianity. Throughout its history, Switzerland has remained largely neutral, resulting in its reputation as a safe and respectable country, becoming famed for its banks and military. Switzerland has also become a center for many worldwide organizations, as the home of the World Health Organization, CERN, the Red Cross, the second largest U.N. hub after New York City, and many more humanitarian and business organizations. Switzerland is also a global food hub, and its Alps and their history are immortalized in storied such as the famous children’s book, Heidi. Today, Switzerland is home to 8,000,000 people, and is consistently ranked as the country with the highest life quality.

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