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Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation (Confoederatio Helvetica in Latin, hence its ISO country codes CH and CHE), is a landlocked country of roughly 7.5 million people in Western Europe with an area of 41,285 km². Switzerland is a federal republic consisting of 26 states. These states are called cantons. Berne is the seat of the federation and de facto capital, while the country's economic centres are its two global cities, Geneva and especially Zürich. Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world.
With an area of 41,285 square kilometres (15,940 sq mi), Switzerland is a relatively small country. The population is about 7.5 million, resulting in an average population density of 182 people per square kilometer (472/sq mi). However, the more mountainous southern half of the country is far more sparsely populated than this average, while the northern half has a somewhat greater density, as it comprises more hospitable hilly terrain, partly forested and partly cleared, as well as several large lakes.
Switzerland comprises three basic topographical areas: the Swiss Alps, the Swiss plateau or "middleland", and the Jura mountains along the northwestern border with France. The Alps are a high mountain range running across the central-south of the country, comprising about 60 % of the country's total area. Among the high peaks of the Swiss Alps, the highest of which is the Dufourspitze at 4,634 metres (15,203 ft), countless valleys are found, many with waterfalls and glaciers. From these the headwaters of several major European rivers such as the Rhine, Rhône, Inn, Aare, and Ticino flow finally into the largest Swiss lakes such as Lake Geneva (Lac Léman), Lake Zürich, Lake Neuchâtel, and Lake Constance.
Cantons of Switzerland