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Geneva

Introduction

Geneva (jənēˈvə) [key], Fr. Genève, canton (1990 pop. 373,019), 109 sq mi (282 sq km), SW Switzerland, surrounding the southwest tip of the Lake of Geneva. One of the smallest cantons, Geneva is in the plain between the Jura and the Alps. It borders on Vaud canton for 3.5 mi (5.6 km) in the north, but otherwise it is almost entirely surrounded by French territory. The population is primarily French-speaking. The rural areas produce fruit, vegetables, cereals, and wine; industry and population are centered in the city of Geneva (1990 pop. 171,042), the capital of the canton. Situated on the Lake of Geneva and divided by the Rhône River, which emerges from the lake, it is a picturesque city joined by numerous bridges. Geneva is a cultural, financial, and administrative center. Its major industries are trade, banking, insurance, and the manufacture of precision machinery, watches, jewelry, chemicals, and food. Among its historic buildings are the Cathedral of St. Pierre (12th–14th cent.), where John Calvin preached, the 16th-century town hall, and the 18th-century palace of justice. The Univ. of Geneva (1473; founded as an academy by Calvin in 1559) faces the noted Reformation monument (1917). The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art opened in 1994. A very high fountain on the south shore of the lake has become a symbol of the city.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Swiss Political Geography


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