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Swiss
Schweizer / Suisses / Svizzeri
Johann Bernoulli.jpgGuillaume-Henri Dufour (Irminger).png
Vallotton Mon portrait 1885.jpg
Henry Nestle.jpgLeonhard Euler 2.jpg
Elisabeth Kopp.gifRyan Seacrest in parade.jpg
Johann Bernoulli • Henri Dufour • Félix Vallotton • Henri Nestlé • Leonhard Euler • Elisabeth Kopp • Ryan Seacrest
Total population
6.66 million[1]
Regions with significant populations
Swiss Alps, Swiss plateau, Jura
 Switzerland 5.99 million
rest of Europe 415,000
 France (177,000)
 Germany (75,000)
 Italy (48,000)
 United Kingdom (28,000)
Americas 169,000
 United States (74,000)
 Canada (38,000)
 Argentina (15,000)
Asia 35,500
Australia / Oceania 28,600
Africa 19,000
Languages

Swiss German, Swiss French, Swiss Italian, Romansh

Religion

Roman Catholicism, Zwinglianism, Calvinism

The Swiss (German: die Schweizer, French: les Suisses, Italian: gli Svizzeri, Romansh: ils Svizzers) are citizens of the Swiss Confederation, natives of Switzerland.[2] The demonym derives from the toponym of Schwyz and has been in widespread use to refer to the Old Swiss Confederacy since the 16th century.[3]

Although the modern state of Switzerland originated in 1848, the period of romantic nationalism, it is not a nation-state, and the Swiss are not usually considered to form a single ethnic group, but a confederacy (Eidgenossenschaft) or Willensnation ("nation of will", "nation by choice", that is, a consociational state), a term coined in conscious contrast to "nation" in the ethnic sense of the term.[4]

The Swiss have grown in number from 1.7 million in 1815 to 6.7 million in 2007, 90% of them living in Switzerland. About 60% of those living abroad reside in the European Union (415,000), the largest overseas community is in the USA (74,000).

Contents

Ethno-linguistic composition

The traditional ethnic composition of the territories of modern Switzerland includes the following components:

With worldwide human migration, there are an increasing number of Swiss not descended or only partially descended from the core ethnic groups listed above. Most naturalized Swiss citizens will be linguistically oriented according to their canton of residence.

Similarly, differences between the various regions of Switzerland are increasingly being levelled as a consequence of increased mobility, so that the Swiss as a whole may be argued to be in the process of undergoing ethnogenesis.

Cultural history and national identity

The Swiss populace historically derives from an amalgamation of Gaulish or Gallo-Roman, Alamannic and Rhaetic stock. Their cultural history is dominated by the Alps, and the alpine environment is often cited as an important factor in the formation of the Swiss national character.[5] The "Swiss illness", the condition of Swiss mercenaries pining for their mountainous native home, became prototypical of the medical condition of nostalgia ("homesickness") described in the 17th century,

Switzerland is atypical in its successful political integration of a multiethnic and multilingual populace, and is often cited as a model for new efforts at creating unification, as in the European Union's frequent invocation of the Swiss Confederate model.[6] Because the various populations of Switzerland share language, ethnicity, and religion not with each other but with the major European powers between whom Switzerland during the modern history of Europe found itself positioned, a policy of domestic plurality in conjunction with international neutrality became a matter of self-preservation.[7] Consequently, the Swiss elites during the period of the formation of nation states throughout Europe did not attempt to impose a national language or a nationalism based on ethnicity, instead pushing for the creation of a civic nation grounded in democratic ideology, common political institutions, and shared political ritual. Political allegiance and patriotism was directed towards the cantons, not the federal level, where a spirit of rivalry and competition rather than unity prevailed.

From the 19th century there were conscious attempts to foster a federal "Pan-Swiss" national identity that would replace or alleviate the cantonal patriotisms. Among the traditions enlisted to this end were federal sharpshooting competitions or tirs, because they were one of the few recognized symbols of pan-Swiss identity prior to the creation of the 1815 Confederation and because they traditionally involved men from all levels of society, including the peasants, who in Romantic nationalism had become ideologically synonymous with liberty and nationhood.[8] An additional symbol of federal national identity at the federal level was introduced with the Swiss national holiday in 1889. The bonfires associated with the national holiday have become so customary since then that they have displaced many other fire rituals of greater antiquity. Identification with the national symbolism relating to the Old Swiss Confederacy was especially difficult for the cantons which had been joined to the Helvetic Republic in 1798 without any prior history of participation in the Swiss Conferedacy, and which were given the status of Swiss cantons only after the end of the Napoleonic era. These specifically include Grisons, Valais, Ticino, Vaud and Geneva. St. Gallen is a special case in a different sense, being a conglomerate of various historical regions created in 1803; in this case, patriotism may attach itself even to sub-cantonal entities, such as the Toggenburg. Similarly, due to the historical imperialism of the canton of Berne, there is considerable irredentism within the Bernese lands, most visibly in the Bernese Jura but to a lesser extent also in parts of the Bernese Oberland such as Hasli. According to Hartley-Moore (2007:213f.),

Localized equivalents of nationalist symbols were also essential to the creation of Swiss civil society. Rather than allowing a centralized federal government to force assimilation to a national ideal, Swiss policy nourished individual characteristics of different regional and language groups" throughout the country. In the Swiss model, pride in local identity is to some degree synonymous with loyalty to the larger state; national identity is nurtured through local "patriotism." As Gottfried Keller argued in the nineteenth century, "Without cantons and without their differences and competition, no Swiss federation could exist".

Swiss diaspora

The Swiss diaspora (German: Auslandschweizer), also referred to as "fifth Switzerland" (German: Fünfte Schweiz, Italian: Quinta Svizzera, French: Cinquième Suisse), alluding to the fourfold linguistic division within Switzerland), Swiss people living abroad, accounts for some 9% of Swiss citizens.

In 2006 (on 31 December), 645,010 Swiss citizens were registered as residing abroad. 71% of these had dual citizenships. Of these, 389,732 (60%) resided in the European Union. About 498,395 of Swiss residing abroad were adults, 146,615 were minors aged below 18 years. Of the adult population, 58.2% were female, 41.8% were male. The distribution by continent is: 415,000 in Europe, 169,000 in the Americas, 35,000 in Asia, 28,000 in Oceania and 19,000 in Africa.

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Russia

There was significant emigration of Swiss people to the Russian Empire from the late 17th to the late 19th century. The late 18th and early 19th century saw a flow of Swiss farmers forming colonies such as Şaba (Bessarabia, at the Dniester Liman, now part of the Ukraine). The Russian-Swiss generally prospered, partly merging with German diaspora populations.

United States

The first Swiss person in what is now the territory of the United States was Theobald von Erlach (1541–1565).[9] Before the year 1820 some estimated 25,000 to 30,000 Swiss entered British North America. Most of them settled in regions of today's Pennsylvania as well as North and South Carolina.

Most Swiss preferred rural villages of the Midwest and the Pacific Coast where especially the Italian Swiss were taking part in California's winegrowing culture.[10] Swiss immigration diminished after 1930 because of the Great Depression and World War II.

Argentina

By 1940 some 44,000 Swiss had emigrated to Argentina, settling mainly in the provinces of Córdoba and Santa Fe, and to a lesser extent, in Buenos Aires. In 1856 the colony farm of Esperanza was founded in Santa Fe becoming the mother of agricultural colonies in Argentina, and thus beginning a long process of European colonization and immigration on Argentine soil. Current estimates state 78,000 Swiss descendants residing in Argentina.[11]

Brazil

The history of Swiss immigration to Brazil began with the foundation of the colony of Nova Friburgo[12] in 1819. Nova Friburgo was the first colonial company contracted by the Portuguese government. The immigrant colonists wrote letters for publication in Swiss newspapers of the period, and these documents reveal the migrants' perceptions, information and expectations.

In July 4, 1819 depart from Estavayer-le-Lac, Lake Neuchâtel 1,088 Swiss, included 830 of the Canton of Fribourg, presents Jean-Claude Marchon, his wife Marie Prostasie Chavannaz Marchon, his brother Antoine Marchon and fiancee Marieanne Elizabeth Clerc, to Basle, the meeting point of the Swiss Transmigration for Brasil. And then 2.000 Swiss, by the Rhein River, go to Holland and after a lot of peripetia they depart from St. Gravendeel, near Dordrecht, in the Daphne, for the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, in September 11. Their arrival in Rio de Janeiro was in November 4, spenting 55 days, a very good time for the epoch. And, finally, they arrive in Morro-Quiemado (Burnt Mount) in November 15, 1819 – about 12000 kilometers in 105 days, approximately 114 kilometers a day.

Chile

The number of Swiss in Chile is minor, despite having a relatively large number of members. This is because their linguistic and cultural characteristics are commonly confused with Germans, Italians and French. Swiss migration to Chile took place at the end of nineteenth century, between 1883 and 1900, particularly in the area of Araucanía, especially in Victoria and Traiguén. It is estimated that more than 8,000 thousand families received grants of land.[13]

Between April 1876 and May 1877 came to the area of Magellan (Punta Arenas and Fresh Water) a contingent of Swiss immigrants comprising 119 families, mostly peasants from the canton of Freiburg.[14]

Later during 1915 to 1950 was the last recorded mass exodus of Swiss to Chile recorded 30,000 residents installed in the central area of the country, primarily in Santiago and Valparaíso.[15] There are currently 5,000 Swiss citizens residing in Chile and 90,000 Swiss descendants.[16]

Naturalization

Swiss nationality law requires of candidates for naturalization a minimum of twelve years of permanent, legal, notated residence and fluency in one national language as well as integration into the Swiss way of life and compliance with the Swiss rule of law[17].

Statistics

With more than 20% resident aliens, Switzerland has one of the highest ratios of non-naturalized inhabitants in Europe (comparable to the Netherlands; roughly twice the ratio of Germany). In 2003, 35,424 residents were naturalized, a number exceeding net population growth. Over the 25 year period of 1983 to 2007, 479,264 resident foreigners were naturalized, yearly numbers rising gradually from below 10,000 (0.1%) in the 1980s to above 40,000 (0.6%) in the 2000s.[18] Compare the figure of 0.2% (140,795) in the United Kingdom (2004).[19]

Controversies

Naturalization procedures are subject to some controversy, with left-wing positions typically ascribing the high ratio of resident aliens to overly strict requirements, and right-wing positions opposing facilitation of naturalization as an attempt to hide the high percentage of foreigners by merely nominal naturalization.[citation needed]

Genetics

The genetic composition of the Swiss population is similar to that of Central Europe in general. Switzerland is on one hand at the crossroads of several prehistoric migrations, while on the other hand the Alps acted as a refuge in some cases. Genetic studies found the following haplogroups to be prevalent:

Notes

  1. ^ official figures for 2007 (Federal Office of Statistics)
  2. ^ the term is sometimes extended to include the descendants of Swiss emigrant, see e.g. "Swiss". New Oxford American Dictionary. . Conversely, being born in Switzerland does not give an individual Swiss citizenship automatically, so that there are numerous second generation legal aliens who are technically "natives of Switzerland" without being considered Swiss.
  3. ^ "Schwyz". New Oxford American Dictionary. 
  4. ^ Dissent to the effect that the state should be re-oriented along ethnic lines is constrained to far-right and völkisch circles such as the PNOS and remains a fringe position (held by far below 1% of Swiss citizens) in direct opposition to the letter and spirit of the Swiss Constitution.
  5. ^ "Some landscapes were highlighted because they were considered essential in the building of the nation and the shaping of its culture. This was most obvious in Switzerland where the Swiss character was forged by the daily confrontation with the difficult mountainous environment of the Alps. Lunn (1963) suggests that the wonderful scenery gave those who inhabited it an opportunity to develop a sense of dignity and grandeur." Niamh Moore, Yvonne Whelan, Heritage, memory and the politics of identity: new perspectives on the cultural landscape, Ashgate Publishing, 2007, ISBN 9780754640080, p. 88.
  6. ^ Hartley-Moore (2007)
  7. ^ Kohn 1956:15–20
  8. ^ Hartley-Moore (2007), citing Kohn 1956:78.
  9. ^ Swiss Americans
  10. ^ History of Swiss Settlers
  11. ^ Argentinien land der Immigranten
  12. ^ História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos - From Nova Friburgo to Fribourg in writing: Swiss colonization seen by the immigrants
  13. ^ (Spanish) Los suizos del fin del mundo.
  14. ^ families, mostly peasants from the canton of Freiburg.
  15. ^ (Spanish) Suizos en Chile.
  16. ^ 90,000 Descendants of Swiss in Chile.
  17. ^ Regular naturalisation
  18. ^ Bundesamt für Migration
  19. ^ Persons Granted British Citizenship, 2004 (pdf)
  20. ^ [1]
  21. ^ associated with the Paleolithic (Cro-Magnon); forming a small local maximum [2]
  22. ^ associated with the Neolithic revolution
  23. ^ [3][4], together with Northern Italy forming a local I1c minimum [5]
  24. ^ exhibiting a gradient of decreasing frequency east to west, shared with Germany and Northern Italy [6]
  25. ^ however at a local minimum

References

  • Walter Sorell, The Swiss: a cultural panorama of Switzerland Bobbs-Merrill, 1972.
  • Heinrich Zschokke, Des Schweizerlands Geschichten für das Schweizervolk, J.J. Mäcken, 1823[7], trans. as The History of Switzerland, for the Swiss People by Francis George Shaw, 1855.[8]
  • Frank Webb, Switzerland of the Swiss, Scribners, 1910.[9]
  • Paul Bilton, The Xenophobe's Guide to the Swiss, Oval Projects Ltd, 1999.[10]
  • Leo Schelbert, Swiss migration to America: the Swiss Mennonites, Ayer Publishing, 1980.
  • John Paul Von Grueningen, The Swiss In The United States: A Compilation Prepared for the Swiss-American Historical Society as the Second Volume of Its Publications, Swiss-American Historical Society, 1940, reprinted for Clearfield Co. by Genealogical Pub. Co., 2005, ISBN 9780806352657.
  • Henry Demarest Lloyd, John Atkinson Hobson, The Swiss democracy: the study of a sovereign people, T. F. Unwin, 1908.
  • J. Christopher Herold, The Swiss without halos, Greenwood Press, 1979.
  • Julie Hartley-Moore, The Song of Gryon: Political Ritual, Local Identity, and the Consolidation of Nationalism in Multiethnic Switzerland, Journal of American Folklore 120.476 (2007) 204-229.
  • Arnold Henry Moore Lunn, The Swiss and their mountains: a study of the influence of mountains on man, Rand McNally, 1963.
  • Hans Kohn, Nationalism and Liberty: The Swiss Example. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1956.

See also


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