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Canton of Uri

Canton of Uri

Flag of the canton
Area:1,077 km²
Uri is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland. It is located in central Switzerland. The canton's territory covers the valley of the Reuss River between Lake Lucerne and the Gotthard pass. German is the primary language spoken in Uri. The population is about 35,000.


The canton is located in the centre of Switzerland. The lands of the canton are that of the Reuss valley and those of the main river's tributaries. The total area of the canton is 1,077 km². About half of this is considered productive land. Forests cover a significant part of the land, and glaciers make up 20 percent of the unproductive land.

The highest elevation is the Dammastock at 3,630m. The Dammastock lies just north of the Furka Pass.

Location of the canton


Uri was first mentioned in 732 as belonging to the abbot of Reichenau. In 853 it was given to the nunnery at Zürich by Louis the German.

It is thought that the name Uri derives from the the old German word Auerochs meaning wild ox. This is backed up by the fact that the coat of arms of the region traditionally bears a bull's head.

In 1243 the region had a common seal. By 1274 the powerful Rudolf of Habsburg recognized these priviledges. Uri was one of the three original Swiss cantons, having signed the Eternal Alliance (Bundesbrief) in 1291. In 1386 Uri participated in the victory over the Austrians at Sempach. As a result Uri annexed the lands of Urseren in 1410.

The region resisted the reformation and remained Roman Catholic. During the Helvetic Republic Uri was part of the canton of Waldstätten. After this, in 1803, Uri re-gained its independence. All attempts to religious or constitutional reform were resisted. In 1815 Uri joined the League of Sarnen for this reason. Later on Uri was one of the members of the Sonderbund. The Sonderbund was a separatist Catholic league, but overthrown by the Swiss Confederation.


The current constitution dates back to to 1888. It was revised in 1929 when the open assembly (Landsgemeinde) was abolished. The cantonal capital is Altdorf.


The cultivated fields of the canton are located in the valley of the river Reuss. There are pastures on the lower mountain slopes. Since most of the terrain is extremely hilly, it is not suitable for cultivation. Hydroelecric power generation is of great importance. Forestry is one of the most important sectors of agriculture. At Altdorf there are cable and rubber factories.

Tourism is an important source of income in the canton of Uri. An excellent network of roads facilitates tourisms in remote areas in the mountains.


The population is German speaking and Roman Catholic.


The municipalities of the canton of Uri are: Altdorf, Andermatt, Attinghausen, Bauen, Bürglen, Erstfeld, Flüelen, Göschenen, Gurtnellen, Hospental, Isenthal, Realp, Schattdorf, Seedorf, Seelisberg, Silenen, Sisikon, Spiringen, Unterschächen, Wassen

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