Zurich, Switzerland – Powers of Influence

Switzerland was colonized only some 15,000 years ago. Celtic tribes, among them the Helvetians are the first inhabitants of Switzerland we have written reports of, however not by themselves but by their rivals, the Greeks and Romans. Roman commander Julius Cesar defeated the Helvetians in 58 B.C. and made Helvetia a Roman territory with fortified borders.

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(50BC) Romans established provincial towns in Switzerland.

An example of ancient Roman Influence.

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(400) Roman legions withdrew from the towns they established in Switzerland; many people converted to Christianity.

(600) Franks invaded the indigenous tribes of Switzerland, converted many Swiss Pagan tribes to Christianity.

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(1291) A constitution formed between rural communities in Switzerland under Germany.

(1499) Swabian Wars led to independence from the German empire; first parliament formed in Switzerland, representatives from different confederates met to consult and vote on political issues.

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(1798) French army under the command of Napoleon invaded Switzerland.

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(1802) Swiss revolt forced French army to leave Switzerland.

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(1848) Switzerland became a unified federal state with a constitution.

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(1914-18) During World War I, Switzerland organized Red Cross units.

Switzerland has a long republican tradition, its modern democratic constitution dates back to 1848 only, however, and was put into effect after a short civil war in 1847. The constitution was totally revised in 1874 and is amended organically from time to time since. The 1999 total revision did not change anything of importance in substance, the sole purpose was to establish a modern and more readable structure and language.

Switzerland’s government, parliament and courts are organized on three levels:

  • federal
  • cantonal (based on 26 cantonal constitutions)
  • communal (in a few small cantons and in some 2500 small villages reunions of all citizens are held instead of cantonal and communal parliaments; local courts are usually common to several communities)

In conclusion, Switzerland is heavily influenced by it’s surrounding countries.

Zurich, Switzerland has influenced the world through it’s banking.

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Banking in Switzerland is regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), which derives its authority from a series of federal statutes. The country’s tradition of bank secrecy, which dates to the Middle Ages, was first codified in the Federal Act on Banks and Savings Banks, colloquially known as the Banking Law of 1934. The regime of bank secrecy that Swiss banks are famous for coming under pressure in the wake of the UBS tax evasion scandal, and the 1934 banking law was amended in 2009 to limit tax evasion by non-Swiss bank clients.

In 2011, banks represented 59.4% of the total value added of the Swiss financial sector, totalling CHF 35.0 billion representing 6.2% of the country’s GDP. UBS and Credit Suisse, the two largest banks in Switzerland, were ranked globally at #19 and #25 among banks, with assets of approximately US$1.375 trillion and US$1.090 trillion, respectively.

As of 11 October 2008, the banking industry in Switzerland has an average leverage ratio (assets/net worth) of 29 to 1, while the industry’s short-term liabilities are equal to 260 percent of the Swiss GDP or 1,273 percent of the Swiss national debt.

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