Zürich

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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Zürich

Zürich (tsü´rĬkh), canton (1993 pop. 1,158,100), 668 sq mi (1,730 sq km), N Switzerland. The most populous Swiss canton, Zürich is bounded in part by the Lake of Zürich in the south and Germany in the north. It is a fertile agricultural region with orchards, meadows, and forests. Among the rivers that flow through the canton are the Rhine and the Thur. Machinery and other metal goods as well as textiles are manufactured. Its inhabitants are chiefly German-speaking and Protestant. In the canton there are numerous towns and a few industrial cities, notably Winterthur and the capital, Zürich (1993 pop. 345,200). The largest Swiss city, Zürich is the country's commercial and economic center as well as the intellectual center of German-speaking Switzerland. Its chief manufacture is machinery, and the city supports a healthy tourist trade. It is the hub of a printing and publishing industry, and its international banking and financial institutions are renowned. Zürich hosts many annual international congresses; its airport is the busiest in Switzerland. Occupied as early as the Neolithic period by lake dwellers, the site of Zürich was settled by the Helvetii. It was conquered (58 BC) by the Romans, and after the 5th cent. passed successively to the Alemanni, the Franks, and to Swabia. It became a free imperial city after 1218, accepted a corporative constitution in 1336, and joined the Swiss Confederation in 1351. Its claim to the Toggenburg led to a ruinous war (1436–50) with the other confederates. In the 16th cent. Zürich, under the influence of Ulrich Zwingli, became the leading power of the Swiss Reformation and once more provoked a civil war. The Roman Catholic victory at Kappel (1531) ended Zürich's political leadership. In 1799 the city was the scene of two battles of the French Revolutionary Wars (see Helvetic Republic). Zürich developed as a cultural and scientific center in the 18th and 19th cent. It has the largest Swiss university (founded 1833), a world-famous polytechnic school (est. mid-19th cent.), and many museums. The Romanesque Grossmünster (11th–13th cent.), where Zwingli preached, the Fraumünster (12th and 15th cent.), the 17th-century town hall, and numerous old residences contrast harmoniously with many fine modern structures. The educational reformer Heinrich Pestalozzi was born in the city, and James Joyce is buried there. The city is beautifully situated on the Limmat and Sihl rivers and at the northern end of the Lake of Zürich.

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