Canton of Fribourg, member of the Federation since 1848. Photo: TES.

The Alpine Convention

The formation of political unities in Europe can be described as a process of concentration.

At the beginning of early modern times, around 1500, there were about two hundred independent states on the continent, shortly before 1900, there were only thirty. The increasing size of state territories is reflected in their declining numbers.

In the Alpine region one can see this process as well:  Johann Heinrich Zedler (1706-1751) enumerated more than twenty political units in the Alps in 1732.

The encyclopedias of the late 19th century no longer mentioned these political entities, except for the states, the German Reich. the Austrian Monarchy, the Kingdom of Italy, the French Republic and the Swiss Confederation.

The borders between the nation-states became barriers. After the Second World War, the development went into a different direction.

Regionalism is evident in the Alpine region. The Alpine Convention of 7 November 1991 is a clear signal. This region created a political structure. (J. Mathieu, Die Alpen. Raum, Kultur, Geschichte, Stuttgart 2015).