|Switzerland : historical framework|
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Switzerland is often dismissed as an irrelevance in the broader picture of European history: because the country is peaceful today, the underlying suspicion is that it either wasn’t subject to the same tide of events as elsewhere, or that the place is just somehow inherently tranquil. Both ideas are false.
The Swiss difference came in solving the same problems that everyone else had in entirely different, co-operative ways. Decentralization, consultation and co-operation are still key Swiss attributes, as they were in 1291 at the start of the country’s history, when a group of mountain farmers decided to band together to defy their foreign occupiers. And stability didn’t come easily: up until 150 years ago, Switzerland was the most unstable country in Europe, with a history spanning centuries of internecine conflict. The Alpine calm that is notorious – or notoriously boring – today came at the price of almost a millennium of war.
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