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Canton of Zug

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From an old 1911 encyclopedia
Zug (Fr. Zoug, It. Zugo) is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland in central Switzerland. Its capital is Zug. It is one of the smallest cantons, both as regards area and as regards population. Its total area is but 92-3 sq. m., of which, however, no fewer than 75-1 sq. m. are reckoned as "productive," forests covering 19-9 sq. m. Of the rest 10 sq. m. are occupied by the cantonal share of the lake of Zug, and 21 sq. m. by the lake of Aegeri[?], which is wholly within the canton.

It includes the fertile strips on the eastern and western shores of the lower portion of the lake of Zug, together with the alluvial plain at its northern extremity. The lower range, culminating jn the Zugerberg[?] (3255 ft.), and the Wildspitz[?] (5194 ft.), the highest summit of the Rossberg, that rises east of the lake of Zug, separates it from the basin and lake of Aegeri, as well as from the hilly district of Menzingen[?]. The Lorze[?] issues from the lake of Aegeri, forces its way through moraine deposits in a deep gorge with fine stalactite caverns and falls into the lake of Zug, issuing from it very soon to flow into the Reuss.

The canton thus belongs to the hilly, not to the mountainous, Swiss cantons, but as it commands the entrance to the higher ground it has a certain strategical position. Railways connect it both with Lucerne and with Zurich, while lines running along either shore of the lake of Zug join at the Arth-Goldau station of the St Gotthard railway. On the eastern shore of the lake of Aegeri, and within the territory of the canton, is the true site of the famous battle of Morgarten won by the Swiss in 1315. Till 1814 Zug was in the diocese of Constance, but on the reconstruction of the diocese of Basel in 1828 it was assigned to it. In 1900 the population of the canton was 25,093, of whom 24,042 were German-speaking, 819 Italian-speaking, and 157 French-speaking, while 23,362 were Romanists, 1701 Protestants, and 19 Jews. Its capital is Zug, while the manufacturing village of Baar[?], 2 m. N., had 4484 inhabitants, and the village of Cham, 3 miles northwest, had 3025 inhabitants. In both cases the environs of the villages are included, and this is even more the case with the wide-spreading parishes of Unteraegeri[?] with 2593 inhabitants, of Menzingen[?] with 2495 inhabitants, and the great school for girls and female teachers, founded in 1844 by Father Theodosius Florentini[?], and of Oberaegeri[?] with 1891 inhabitants.

In the higher regions of the canton the population is mainly engaged in pastoral pursuits and cattle-breeding. There are 61 "alps," or high pastures, in the canton. At Cham is a well-known factory of condensed milk, now united with that of Nestlé of Vevey[?]. At Baar there are extensive cotton-spinning mills and other factories. Round the town of Zug there are great numbers of fruit trees, and Kirschwasser[?] (cherry-water) and cider are largely manufactured. Apiculture too flourishes greatly. A number of factories have sprung up in the new quarter of the town, but the silk-weaving industry has all but disappeared.

The canton forms a single administrative district, which comprises eleven communes. The legislature, or Kantonsrat, has one member to every 350 inhabitants, and the seven members of the executive, or Regierungsrat, are elected directly by popular vote, proportional representation obtaining in both cases if more than two members are to be elected in the same electoral district to posts in the same authority. The term of office in both cases is four years. Besides the "facultative Referendum" by which, in case of a demand by one-third of the members of the legislative assembly, or by 800 citizens, any law, and any resolution involving a capital expenditure of 40,000, or an annual one of 10,000 francs, must be submitted to a direct popular vote, and the "initiative" at the demand of 1000 citizens in case of amendments to the cantonal constitution; there is also an "initiative" in case of bills, to be exercised at the demand of 800 citizens. The two members of the Federal Ständerat[?], as well as the one member of the Federal Nationalrat[?], are also elected by a popular vote.

The earlier history of the canton is practically identical with that of its capital Zug. From 1728 to 1738 it was distracted by violent disputes about the distribution of the French pensions. In 1798 its inhabitants opposed the French, and the canton formed part of the Tellgau, and later of one of the districts of the huge canton of the Waldstätten in the Helvetic republic[?]. In 1803 it regained its independence as a separate canton, and by the constitution of 1814 the “Landsgemeinde,” or assembly of all the citizens, which had existed for both districts since 1376, became a body of electors to choose a cantonal council. The reform movement of 5850 did not affect the canton, which in 1845 was a member of the Sonderbund[?] and shared in the war of 1847. In 1848 the remaining functions of the Landsgemeinde[?] were abolished. Both in 1848 and in 1874 the canton voted against the acceptance of the federal constitutions. The constitution of 1873—76 was amended in 1881, and was replaced by a new one in 1894.

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