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Canton de Vaud
Flag of Canton of Vaud.svg Wappen Waadt matt.svg
Map of Switzerland, location of Vaud highlighted
Coordinates 46°37′N 6°33′E / 46.617°N 6.55°E / 46.617; 6.55Coordinates: 46°37′N 6°33′E / 46.617°N 6.55°E / 46.617; 6.55
Capital Lausanne
Population 672,039 
 - Density 209 /km² (542 /sq mi)
Area  3,212 km² (1,240 sq mi)
Highest point 3,210 m (10,531 ft) - Les Diablerets
Lowest point 372 m (1,220 ft) - Lake Geneva
Joined 1803
Abbreviation VD
Languages French
Executive Conseil d'Etat (7)
Legislative Grand Council (150)
Municipalities 376 (as of 2008-01-01) municipalities
Districts 10 districts

Vaud (French pronunciation: [vo]) is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland and is located in Romandy, the southwestern part of the country. The capital is Lausanne. The name of the Canton in Switzerland's other languages are Vaud in Italian (pronounced [vaud]), Waadt in German (pronounced [vaːt]), and Vad in Romansh.



Château Saint-Maire, seat of the cantonal government

Along the lakes, Vaud was inhabited in prehistoric times. Later on, the Celtic tribe of the Helvetii inhabited the area. The tribe was defeated by Caesar's troops in 58 BC and as a consequence the Romans settled the area. The towns of Vevey (Latin: Viviscus) and Lausanne (Lausonium or Lausonna) are two of the many towns established by the Romans.

In 27 BC the state of Civitas Helvetiorum was established around the capital of Avenches (Aventicum). There are still many Roman remains around the town today. Between the 2nd and the 4th century the area was repeatedly invaded by Alemannic tribes, and in the 5th century the Burgundians occupied the area. The Merovingian Franks later replaced the Burgundians. Their occupancy did not last long either, and in 888 the area of the canton of Vaud was made part of the Carolingian Empire. In 1032 the Zähringens of Germany defeated the Burgundians. The Zähringens themselves were succeeded in 1218 by the counts of Savoy. It was only under the counts of Savoy that the area was given political unity, establishing what is today in greater part known as the canton of Vaud. A part stretching from Attalens to the River Sarine, in the north, was absorbed by the canton of Fribourg.

As the power of the Savoys declined at the beginning of the 15th century the land was occupied by troops from Bern. By 1536 the area was completely annexed. Reformation was started by co-workers of John Calvin like Pierre Viret, including a famous debate at the cathedral of Lausanne; but it was only decisively implemented when Bern put its full force behind it.

The Bernese occupants were not popular amongst the population. In 1723 Major Abraham Davel led a revolt against Berne, in protest at what he saw as the denial of political rights of the French-speaking Vaudians by the German-speaking Bernese and was subsequently beheaded .[1] Later, inspired by the French Revolution, the Vaudians drove out the Bernese governor in 1798 and declared the Lemanic Republic. Vaud nationalists like Frédéric-César de La Harpe had called for French intervention in liberating the area and French Revolutionary troops moved in, taking over the whole of Switzerland itself in the process and setting up the Helvetic Republic. Vaud became the canton of Léman which in 1803 joined the re-installed Swiss confederation. In spite of Bernese attempts to reclaim Vaud, it has remained a sovereign canton ever since.

In the 19th century, the canton of Vaud was an outspoken opponent of the Catholic separatist movement (Sonderbund) which led to intervention in 1847 by 99,000 Swiss Federal troops under General Henri Dufour against 79,000 separatists in what is called the Sonderbund War. Separation was prevented at the cost of very few lives. The current constitution dates from April 14, 2003, replacing the one from 1885. (cite: Sonderbund War Wikipedia)


Lavaux vineyards above Lake Geneva
Nyon, close to the border with the Canton of Geneva

The canton stretches from Lake Neuchâtel in the north, where it borders the canton of Neuchâtel to Lake Geneva in the south, bordering the canton of Geneva, Haute-Savoie (lake border with France) and canton of Valais. On the Jura ranges in the west, the canton borders the French départements of Ain, Jura, and Doubs. In the east, it borders canton of Fribourg and canton of Bern. The total area is 3,212 square kilometers (1,240.2 sq mi).

Along with the canton of Berne, Vaud is one of the two cantons whose territory extends from the Jura to the Alps, through the three distinct geographic regions of Switzerland.



Members of the national council

UDC members PS members PES members PLR members PDC members PST member(s)
André Bugnon Josiane Aubert Daniel Brélaz Charles Favre Jacques Neirynck Josef Zisyadis
Alice Glauser-Zufferey Ada Marra Adèle Thorens Goumaz Olivier Français --- ---
Jean-Pierre Grin Roger Nordmann Christian van Singer Isabelle Moret --- ---
Guy Parmelin Erid Voruz --- Claude Ruey --- ---
Pierre-François Veillon --- --- --- --- ---

Members of the council of states

PES member(s) PS member(s)
Luc Recordon Géraldine Savary


The areas in the southeast are mountainous, situated on the north side of the Bernese Alps. The region is commonly named the Vaud Alps (French: Alpes Vaudoises). The Diablerets massif, peaking at 3,210 meters (10,531 ft), is the highest mountain of the canton and the only glaciated area. Other summits such as the Grand Muveran or the Tour d'Aï are well visible from most of the canton. The area also host several popular skiing destinations such as Villars, Les Diablerets and Leysin.


The central area of the canton, in contrast, consists of moraines and is thus hilly. There are plains along the lakes. In the north, there is an exclave containing Avenches surrounded by canton of Fribourg and Lake Neuchâtel. On the other hand, there are two enclaves of the canton of Fribourg(Estavayer-le-lac, Vuissens, Surpierre), as well as two enclaves of the canton of Geneva(Céligny), that are surrounded by the canton of Vaud.


The north-western part of the canton is also mountainous but in a more modest way with mountains (or hills) generally not above 1,500 metres. The Vallée de Joux is one of the most popular destinations in the region. and the heart of luxury mechanical Swiss Watch manufacturing (see "Watch Valley".

Political subdivisions


Districts of Canton Vaud

The Canton of Vaud is divided into 10 districts:


There are 376 municipalities in the canton (As of 2008).


Lausanne, capital and largest city in Vaud

The population is French-speaking and historically was overwhelmingly Protestant (Calvinist), dating from the early years of the Reformation. Recently, however, this has been changing due to immigration from Southern Europe. In 2000, the population was nearly evenly split between Protestants (40%) and Roman Catholics (34%).[2]

The population of the canton is 672,039 (2007) of which 195,071 (or 29%) are foreigners.[3] The major population centres of the canton are: Lausanne (approx. 275,000 inhabitants in 2000), Montreux-Vevey (70,000 inhabitants) and Yverdon-les-Bains. The region around Nyon is often considered part of the agglomeration of Geneva. All of these are on Lake Geneva (called Lac Léman in Romandy), except for Yverdon, which is on Lake Neuchâtel.


Nestlé headquarters in Vevey

The capital, Lausanne, is the major city of the canton. There are light industries concentrated around it. In 1998, 71.7% of the workers worked in the tertiary sector and 20.8% in the secondary.

The canton is the second-largest producer of wine in Switzerland. Most of the wine produced in the canton is white, and most vineyards are located on the steep shores of Lake Geneva such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces. There is agriculture in the areas away from Lake Geneva. Sugar beet is important around Orbe, tobacco in La Broye Valley and fruit is grown on the foot of the Jura mountains. Cattle breeding and pasture are common in the Alps and the Jura mountains. There is a salt mine at Bex. Tourism is important in many towns along the Lake Geneva. Major lakeside resorts include Lausanne, Montreux and Vevey.


The Canton is home to several renowned universities and schools:

See also

External links


  1. ^ Histoire de la Suisse, Éditions Fragnière, Fribourg, Switzerland
  2. ^ Federal Department of Statistics (2004). "Wohnbevölkerung nach Religion" (Interactive Map). Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  3. ^ Federal Department of Statistics (2008). "Ständige Wohnbevölkerung nach Staatsangehörigkeit, Geschlecht und Kantonen" (Microsoft Excel). Retrieved November 5, 2008. 

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Vaud is the largest canton in the French speaking part of Switzerland, and the third largest in the country as a whole. The geography is varied, with the Jura mountains in the north, a hilly plain in the center and in the southwest the Alps. The main attractions of the region are the cities and towns surrounding Lake Geneva, the opportunities for skiing and hiking in both mountain ranges, and of course Lake Geneva itself.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

VAUD (Ger. Waadt), one of the cantons of south-western Switzerland. Its total area is 1255.2 sq. m. (thus ranking after the Grisons, Bern and the Valais), of which 1056.7 sq. m. are reckoned as " productive " (forests covering 320.1 sq. m. and vineyards 24.9 sq. m., this last region being more extensive than in any other canton). Of the rest, 1604 sq. m. are occupied by the portions of various lakes partly in the canton (Geneva, 1231 sq. m.; Neuchatel, 33'33 sq. m.; and Morat, 31 sq. m.) and 4.3 by glaciers, the loftiest point in the canton being the Diablerets (10,650 ft.). The canton is of very irregular shape, as it owes its artificial existence solely to historical causes. It includes practically the whole northern shore of the Lake of Geneva, while it stretches from the " Alpes Vaudoises " and Bex, on the S.E., to the Jura and the French frontier, on the N.W. A long narrow tongue extending past Payerne (Peterlingen) to the Lake of Neuchatel is just disconnected with the Avenches region that forms an " enclave " in the canton of Fribourg, while in the canton of Vaud, Fribourg holds the two " enclaves " of Vuissens and Surpierre. A small stretch of the right bank of the Rhone (from Bex to the Lake of Geneva) is within the canton, while various short streams flow down into the Lake of Geneva. But the more northerly portion of the canton, beyond the Jorat range, to the north of Lausanne, and in particular the valley of the Broye, belongs to the Aar, and so to the Rhine basin. The canton is thus hilly rather than mountainous, save at its southeastern extremity. It is well supplied with railways, including that along the northern shore of the Lake of Geneva, while from Bex through Vallorbes runs the main Simplon line towards Paris. There are also numerous " regional " or small-gauge railways, as well as mountain lines from Montreux past Glion up the Rochers de Naye, and from Vevey up the Mont Pelerin, not to speak of that (" Montreux-Oberland " line) direct to the head of the Sarine valley and so by the Simme valley to the Lake of Thun. In 1900 the population was 281,279, of whom 243,463 were French-speaking, 24,372 German-speaking, and 10,667 Italian-speaking, while 242,811 were Protestants (Calvinists, whether of the larger eglise rationale or of the smaller eglise libre, founded in 1847), 36,980 Romanists, and 1076 Jews. Agriculture is the main occupation of the inhabitants: the land is much subdivided and very highly cultivated.

The vineyards give employment to great numbers of people. Much more white wine is produced than red wine. The best white wines of the canton are Yvorne (near Aigle) and La Cote (west of Lausanne), while the vineyard of Lavaux (east of Lausanne) produces both red and white wine. There is not very much industry in the canton, though at Ste Croix in the Jura watches and musical boxes are made, while at Payerne tobacco is grown. Many foreigners reside in the canton, partly for reasons of health, partly on account of the educational advantages that it offers. They chiefly favour Lausanne, Vevey and the collection of hamlets known as Montreux," as well as Chateaux d'Oex, in the upper Sarine valley. Lausanne (q.v.) is the political capital of the canton. Next in point of population comes the " agglomeration " known as Montreux (q.v.), with 14,144, and Vevey (q.v.), with 11,781. Other important villages or small towns are Yverdon (7985 inhab.), Ste Croix (5905 inhab.), Payerne (5224 inhab.), Nyon (4882 inhab.), Morges (4421 inhab.), Aigle (3897 inhab.), and Chateau d'Oex (3025 inhab.). In educational matters the canton holds a high place. The academy of Lausanne dates from 1537, and was raised to the rank of a university in 1890; and there are a very large number of schools and educational establishments at Morges, Lausanne, Vevey, and elsewhere. Pestalozzi's celebrated institution flourished at Yverdon from 1806 to 1825. Among the remarkable historical spots in the canton are Avenches (the chief Roman settlement in Helvetia), Grandson (q.v.) (scene of the famous battle in 1476 against Charles the Bold), and the castle of Chillon (where Bonivard, the prior of St Victor at Geneva, was imprisoned from 1530 to 1536 for defending the freedom of Geneva against the duke of Savoy).

The canton is divided into 19 administrative districts, which comprise 388 communes. The cantonal constitution dates from 1885. The government consists of a Grand Conseil, or great council (one member to every 300 electors or fraction over 150), for legislative and a conseil d'etat, or council of state, of seven members (chosen by the Grand Conseil) for executive purposes. In both cases the term of office is four years. Six thousand citizens can compel consideration of any project by the legislature (" initiative," first in 1845), and the referendum exists in its " facultative " form, if demanded by 6000 citizens, and also in case of expenditure (not included in the budget) of over half a million francs. The two members of the Federal Stcinderath are named by the Grand Conseil, while the fourteen members of the Federal Nationalrath are chosen by a popular vote. Capital punishment was abolished in 1874.

The early history of the main part of the territories comprised in the present canton is identical with that of south-west Switzerland generally. The Romans conquered (58 B.C.) the Celtic Helvetii and so thoroughly colonized the land that it has remained a Romance-speaking district, despite conquests by the Burgundians (5th century) and Franks (532) and the incursions of the Saracens (loth century). It formed part of the empire of Charlemagne, and of the kingdom of Transjurane Burgundy (888-1032), the memory of " good queen Bertha," wife of King Rudolph II., being still held in high honour. After the extinction of the house of Zahringen (1218) the counts of Savoy gradually won the larger part of it, especially in the days of Peter II., " le petit Charlemagne " (d. 1268). The bishop of Lausanne (to which place the see had probably been transferred from Aventicum by Marius the Chronicler at the end of the 6th century), however, still maintained the temporal power given to him by the king of Burgundy, and in 1125 had become a prince of the empire. (We must be careful to distinguish between the present canton of Vaud and the old medieval Pays de Vaud: the districts forming the present canton very nearly correspond to the Pays Romand.) Late in the 15th century Bern began to acquire lands to the south from the dukes of Savoy, and it was out of those conquests that the canton was formed in 1798. In 1475 she seized Aigle and (in concert with Fribourg) Echallens and Grandson as well as Orbe (the latter held of the county of Burgundy). Vaud had been occupied by Bern for a time (1475-1476), but the final conquest did not take place till 1536, when both Savoyard Vaud and the bishopric of Lausanne (including Lausanne and Avenches) were overrun and annexed by Bern (formally ceded in 1564), who added to them (1555) Château d'Oex, as her share of the domains of the debt-laden count of the Gruyere in the division of the spoil she made with Fribourg. Bern in 1526 sent Guillaume Farel, a preacher from Dauphine, to carry out the Reformation at Aigle, and after 1536 the new religion was imposed by force of arms and the bishop's residence moved to Fribourg (permanently from 1663). Thus the whole land became Protestant, save the district of Echallens. Vaud was ruled very harshly by bailiffs from Bern. In 1588 a plot of some nobles to hand it over to Savoy was crushed, and in 1723 the enthusiastic idealist Davel lost his life in an attempt to raise it to the rank of a canton. Political feeling was therefore much excited by the outbreak of the French Revolution, and. a Vaudois, F. C. de la Harpe, an exile and a patriot, persuaded the Directory in Paris to march on Vaud in virtue of alleged rights conferred by a treaty of 1565. The French troops were received enthusiastically, and the " Lemanic republic " was proclaimed (January 1798), succeeded by the short-lived Rhodanic republic, till in March 1798 the canton of Leman was formed as a district of the Helvetic republic. This corresponded precisely with the present canton minus Avenches and Payerne, which were given to the canton of Vaud (set up in 1803). The new canton was thus made up of the Bernese conquests of 1 475, 1 475-7 6, 1536 and 1555. The constitutions of 1803 and 1814 favoured the towns and wealthy men, so that an agitation went on for a radical change, which was effected in the constitution of 1831. Originally acting as a mediator, Vaud finally joined the anti-Jesuit movement (especially after the radicals came into power in 1845), opposed the Sonderbund, and accepted the new federal constitution of 1848, of which Druey of Vaud was one of the two drafters. From 1839 to 1846 the canton was distracted by religious struggles, owing to the attempt of the radicals to turn the church into a simple department of state, a struggle which ended in the splitting off (1847) of the " free church." The cantonal feeling in Vaud is very strong, and was the main cause of the failure of the project of revising the federal constitution in 1872, though that of 1874 was accepted. In 1879 Vaud was one of the three cantons which voted (though in vain) against a grant in aid of the St Gotthard railway. In 1882 the radicals obtained a great majority, and in 1885 the constitution of 1861 was revised.

Authorities.-C. Burnier, La Vie vaudoise et la revolution (Lausanne, 1902); E. Busset and E. de la Harpe, Aux Ormonts (2nd ed., Lausanne, 1906); J. Cart, Histoire de la liberte des cultes dans le canton de Vaud (Lausanne, 1890); A. Ceresole, Legendes des Alpes vaudoises (Lausanne, 1885); E. de la Harpe, Guide du Jura vaudois (Neuchatel, 1903); H. Dubi, Climbers' Guide for the Bernese Oberland, vol. iii. (including the Alpes Vaudoises) (London, 1907); E. Dunant, Guide illustre du musee d'Avenches (Lausanne, 1900); F. Forel, Chartes communales du pays de Vaud,1214-1527 (Lausanne, 1872); P. Maillefer, Histoire du canton de Vaud (Lausanne, 1903); Memoires et documents (published by the Soc. d'Histoire de la Suisse Romande) (Lausanne, from 1838); A4 de Montet, T. Rittener and A. Bonnard, Chez nos aieux (Lausanne, 1902); A. Pfleghart, Die schweizerische Uhrenindustrie (Leipzig, 1908); J. R. Rahn, Geschichte des Schlosses Chillon (2 parts, Zurich, 1888-89); E. Rambert, Bex et ses environs (Lausanne, 1871); Alexandre Vinet (2nd ed., Lausanne, 1875), and Ascensions et fidneries (Alpes vaudoises) (new ed., Lausanne, 1888); Meredith Read, Historic Studies in Vaud, Berne and Savoy (2 vols., London, 1897); A. Vautier, La Patrie vaudoise (Lausanne, 1903); L. Vulliemin, Le Canton de Vaud (3rd ed., Lausanne, 1885); A. Wagnon, Autour des Plans (Bex, 1890). See Lausanne.

(W. A. B. C.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun


  1. A canton of Switzerland.


  • the canton of Vaud


  • Esperanto: Vaud eo(eo)
  • French: Canton de Vaud
  • German: Kanton Waadt
  • Italian: Canton Vaud

See also

Simple English

[[Image:|170px|none|Map of Switzerland highlighting the Canton of Vaud]]
Capital Lausanne
Population (2004) 657,700 (Ranked 3rd)
  - Density 205 /km²
Area Coordinates: 46°37′N 6°33′E 3212 km² (Ranked 4th)
Highest point Les Diablerets 3210 m
Joined 1803
Abbreviation VD
Languages French
Executive Conseil d'Etat (7)
Legislative Grand Conseil (150)
Municipalities 382 municipalities
Districts 19 districts

Vaud is a canton of Switzerland. It borders the cantons of Geneva, Neuchâtel, Fribourg, Berne and Valais (west to east). The capital city is Lausanne. About 650,000 people live in the canton. Of these, about 125,000 live in Lausanne. About 82% of the population speak French as their first language.


Since 1803, the canton of Vaud has been formed out of 19 districts:

  • Aigle, capital Aigle
  • Aubonne, capital Aubonne
  • Avenches, capital Avenches
  • Cossonay, capital Cossonay
  • Echallens, capital Echallens
  • Grandson, capital Grandson
  • Lausanne, capital Lausanne
  • Lavaux, capital Cully
  • Morges, capital Morges
  • Moudon, capital Moudon
  • Nyon, capital Nyon
  • Orbe, capital Orbe
  • Oron, capital Oron
  • Payerne, capital Payerne
  • Pays-d'Enhaut, capital Château-d'Œx
  • Rolle, capital Rolle
  • La Vallée, capital Le Sentier
  • Vevey, capital Vevey
  • Yverdon, capital Yverdon-les-Bains
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