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Word Count: 923
Switzerland is a small European country known for its beautiful snow-capped mountains and freedom-loving people The Alps and the Jura Mountains cover more than half of Switzerland However most of the Swiss people live on a plateau that extends across the middle of the country between the two mountain ranges In this region are most of Switzerlands capital Bern and largest city Zurich are also there The Swiss have a long tradition of freedom About 700 years ago people in what is now central Switzerland agreed to help each other stay free from foreign rule Gradually people in nearby areas joined them in what became to be known as the Swiss Confederation Various Swiss groups speak different languages Switzerland has three official languagesGerman French and Italian The Latin name for Switzerland Helvetia appears on Swiss coins and postage stamps The Swiss now show great pride in their long independence Switzerland has no regular army but almost all the men receive military training yearly They keep their weapons and uniforms at home and can be called up quickly in an emergency Local marksmanship contests are held frequentlyIn the early 1500s Switzerland established a policy of not taking sides in the many wars that raged in Europe During World Wars I and II Switzerland remained an island of peace Almost all the nations around it took part in the bloody struggles Switzerland provided safety for thousands who fled from the fighting or from political persecution The nations neutrality policy helped the Swiss develop valuable banking services to people of countries throughout the world where banks are less safe The League of Nations the major world organization of the 1920s and 1930s had its headquarters in the Swiss City of Geneva Today many international organizations including various United Nations agencies have headquarters in GenevaSwitzerland has limited natural resources but it is a thriving industrial nation Using imported raw materials the Swiss manufacture high-quality
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