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Vaud ( ) is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland and is located in Romandy, the southwestern part of the country. The capital is Lausannemarker. The name of the Canton in Switzerland's other languages are Vaud in Italian (pronounced differently), Waadt in German and Vad in Romansh.


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 Veveymarker ( ) and Lausannemarker (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 Avenchesmarker (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 Bernmarker. 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 . 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)


The canton stretches from Lake Neuchâtelmarker in the north, where it borders the canton of Neuchâtelmarker to Lake Genevamarker in the south, bordering the canton of Genevamarker, Haute-Savoiemarker (lake border with Francemarker) and canton of Valaismarker. On the Jura ranges in the west, the canton borders the Frenchmarker départements of Ainmarker, Juramarker, and Doubsmarker. In the east, it borders canton of Fribourgmarker and canton of Bernmarker. The total area is .

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 Alpsmarker. The region is commonly named the Vaud Alps ( ). The Diableretsmarker massif, peaking at , is the highest mountain of the canton and the only glaciated area. Other summits such as the Grand Muveranmarker or the Tour d'Aïmarker are well visible from most of the canton. The area also host several popular skiing destinations such as Villars, Les Diableretsmarker and Leysinmarker.


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 Avenchesmarker surrounded by canton of Fribourg and Lake Neuchâtelmarker. 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 Genevamarker(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 Jouxmarker 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 ( ).


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%).

The population of the canton is 672,039 (2007) of which 195,071 (or 29%) are foreigners. The major population centres of the canton are: Lausannemarker (approx. 275,000 inhabitants in 2000), Montreuxmarker-Veveymarker (70,000 inhabitants) and Yverdon-les-Bainsmarker. The region around Nyonmarker is often considered part of the agglomeration of Genevamarker. All of these are on Lake Genevamarker (incidently: in Romandie, the lake is exclusively called Lac Léman), except for Yverdon, which is on Lake Neuchâtelmarker.


The capital Lausannemarker is the major city in 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 wine, and most vineyards are located on the steep shores of Lake Geneva such as the UNESCOmarker World Heritage Site the Lavaux Vineyard Terracesmarker. There is agriculture in the areas away from Lake Geneva. Sugar beet is important around Orbemarker, 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 Bexmarker. Tourism is important in many towns along the Lake Geneva. Major lakeside resorts include Lausannemarker, Montreuxmarker and Veveymarker.


The Canton is home to several renowned universities and schools:

See also

External links


  1. Histoire de la Suisse, Éditions Fragnière, Fribourg, Switzerland

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