HOMESwitzerland / Etymology From Wikipedia
The English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, an obsolete term for the Swiss, in use during the 16th to 19th centuries.The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse, also in use since the 16th century. The name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, one of the Waldstätten cantons which formed the nucleus of the Old Swiss Confederacy. The toponym itself is first attested in 972, as Old High German Suittes, ultimately perhaps related to suedan "to burn", referring to the area of forest that was burned and cleared to build. The name was extended to the area dominated by the canton, and after the Swabian War of 1499 gradually came to be used pars pro toto for the entire Confederation.
The Swiss German name of the country, Schwiiz, is homophonous to that of the canton and the settlement, but distinguished by the use of the definite article (d'Schwiiz for the Confederation, but simple Schwiiz for the canton and the town).
The Neo-Latin name Confoederatio Helvetica was introduced at the formation of the federal state in 1848, harking back to the Napoleonic Helvetic Republic. It is derived from the name of the Helvetii, a Celtic tribe living on the Swiss plateau before the Roman era. The name of the Helvetii is attested epigraphically, in Etruscan form, on a vessel dated to ca. 300 BC. They first appear in historiography in the 2nd century BC, in Posidonius. Helvetia appears as a national personification of the Swiss confederacy in the 17th century, with a 1672 play by Johann Caspar Weissenbach.
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