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Unterwalden(o͝on`tərväldən), canton, central Switzerland, 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. . A mountainous, forested, and chiefly pastoral region, Unterwalden is divided into the half cantons of Obwalden (1993 pop. 30,200), 190 sq mi (492 sq km), in the west, with its capital at Sarnen, and Nidwalden (1993 pop. 34,900), 106 sq mi (275 sq km), in the east, with its capital at Stans. Dairying and woodworking are the main occupations of Obwalden, while the economy of Nidwalden revolves around its winter tourist facilities. The population of Unterwalden is German-speaking and Roman Catholic. In 1291, Unterwalden formed with the cantons of Uri and Schwyz a league that became the nucleus of the Swiss Confederation (see SwitzerlandSwitzerland
, Fr. Suisse, Ger. Schweiz, Ital. Svizzera, officially Swiss Confederation, federal republic (2015 est. pop. 8,320,000), 15,941 sq mi (41,287 sq km), central Europe. It borders on France in the west and southwest, with the Jura Mts.
..... Click the link for more information. ). The two half cantons officially split from each other in 1340, although generally they continued to act as one unit. They gained sovereign status as individual units in 1803.
a canton in Switzerland. Unterwalden consists of two demicantons—Nidwalden and Obwalden. Nidwalden has an area of 300 sq km and a population of 27,000 (1974); its capital is Stans. Obwalden has an area of 500 sq km and a population of 26,300, and its capital is Sarnen.
In the fifth and sixth centuries, Unterwalden was conquered by the Alamanni, who subjugated the region’s inhabitants, the Helvetii. At the turn of the 13th century, the region became dependent on the Austrian Hapsburgs. In 1291, Unterwalden signed a treaty of perpetual alliance with the cantons of Uri and Schwyz, thus forming the Swiss state. The united cantons achieved independence from the Hapsburgs in 1308, and their independence was strengthened by their victory at Morgarten in 1315.
Unterwalden became one of the main areas for recruiting Swiss mercenaries into European armies in the late 15th century. In the 16th century, Unterwalden and other economically backward cantons opposed the Reformation in Switzerland. From 1789 to 1803 it was part of the “one and indivisible” Helvetian Republic. In the mid-19th century, Unterwalden joined the reactionary unions known as the League of Sarnen and the Sonderbund.