Located in central Europe, Switzerland is bordered by Germany , Austria , Liechtenstein , Italy , and France . A small country, Switzerland 's very name conjures up images of chocolates, cheese, watches, bankers, and snow-capped mountains.
Switzerland was inhabited by a Celtic tribe called Helvetia in the ancient times. It became a part of the Holy Roman Empire in AD 1032 but soon succumbed to the mighty Habsburgs of Germany. The death of the Habsburg ruler Rudolf I in AD 1291 led to the formation of the Swiss Confederation.
Switzerland was declared a neutral state following the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 and was accorded permanent neutrality in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna. A new federal constitution came into force in 1848 and Bern became the capital city. The Swiss remained neutral in both the World Wars