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Lucerne(lo͞osûrn`), Ger. Luzern (lo͞otsĕrn`), canton (1993 pop. 331,800), 576 sq mi (1,492 sq km), central Switzerland. Drained by the Reuss and Kleine Emme rivers, Lucerne is mainly an agricultural and pastoral region, with orchards and large forested areas. It contains the Lake of Sempach and borders on the Lake of Lucerne. There are several resort areas, notably along the northwest shores of the Lake of Lucerne. The population is mainly German-speaking and Roman Catholic. Manufactures of the canton include machinery, textiles, metallurgic goods, electrical equipment, paper, and wood products. Boatbuilding and automobile assembly are also important. One of the Four Forest CantonsFour Forest Cantons, the,
Ger. Die Vier Waldstätten, in central Switzerland, the cantons of Unterwalden, Schwyz, Uri, and Lucerne, the first Swiss communities to win their freedom against the Hapsburgs.
..... Click the link for more information. , its history is that of its capital, Lucerne (1990 pop. 59,115), which is on both banks of the Reuss where it flows out of the Lake of Lucerne. It is one of the largest resorts (mainly summer) in Switzerland and relies on tourism as the staple of its economy. A narrow-gauge rail line links Lucerne to the winter sports center of EngelbergEngelberg
, town, Obwalden half canton, central Switzerland. It is a winter and summer resort and has an early 12th-century Benedictine abbey.
..... Click the link for more information. . The city grew around the monastery of St. Leodegar, founded in the 8th cent. An important trade center on the St. Gotthard route, it became a Hapsburg possession in 1291. Lucerne joined the Swiss Confederation in 1332 and gained full freedom after the battle of SempachSempach
, town (1990 pop. 3,096), Lucerne canton, N central Switzerland, on the Lake of Sempach. Near Sempach the Swiss decisively defeated the Austrians in 1386.
..... Click the link for more information. (1386). It became capital of the Helvetic RepublicHelvetic Republic
, 1798–1803, Swiss state established under French auspices. In Sept., 1797, several exiled Swiss leaders in France (notably Frédéric César de La Harpe) formally urged the French Revolutionary government (the Directory) to help in
..... Click the link for more information. in 1798. Lucerne was one of the chief towns of the SonderbundSonderbund
[Ger.,=separate league], 1845–47, defensive league of seven Roman Catholic cantons of Switzerland; it was formed to protect Catholic interests and prevent the establishment of a more centralized Swiss government.
..... Click the link for more information. (1845–47). The noted monument, the Lion of Lucerne, designed by A. B. ThorvaldsenThorvaldsen or Thorwaldsen, Albert Bertel
, 1770–1844, Danish sculptor, b. Copenhagen. In 1797 he went to Rome, where he shared with Canova the leadership of the neoclassicists.
..... Click the link for more information. , was erected (1820–21) in memory of the Swiss GuardsSwiss Guards,
Swiss mercenaries who fought in various European armies from the 15th cent. until the 19th cent. These mercenaries, who were not volunteers, were put at the disposal of foreign powers by treaties (called capitulations) between the Swiss diet, the separate cantons,
..... Click the link for more information. killed in Paris in 1792. Other points of interest are a mainly 17th-century church (Hofkirche), the Glacier Garden, the cantonal buildings, and several museums. The city's Chapel Bridge, built in 1333 and purported to be Europe's oldest and longest (219 yards) covered wooden bridge, long stood as a city symbol. In 1993 a fire damaged or destroyed much of it; it reopened in 1994 following reconstruction. Lucerne hosts an annual music festival (est. 1938), which moved into a striking lakeside cultural center in 1997.
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McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. a canton in central Switzerland, northwest of Lake Lucerne: joined the Swiss Confederacy in 1332. Pop.: 352 300 (2002 est.). Area: 1494 sq. km (577 sq. miles)
2. a city in central Switzerland, capital of Lucerne canton, on Lake Lucerne: tourist centre. Pop.: 59 496 (2000)
3. Lake. a lake in central Switzerland: fed and drained chiefly by the River Reuss. Area: 115 sq. km (44 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005