Online Encyclopedia

LAKE OF LUCERNE

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 97 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LAKE OF LUCERNE, the name usually given by foreigners to the principal lake of Central Switzerland. In French it is called the Lac des Quatre Cantons, and in German the Vierwaldstdttersee, this term being often wrongly translated " Lake of the Four Forest Cantons," whereas it means the " Lake of the Four Valleys "—valles—which form the four Cantons of Lucerne, Unterwalden, Uri and Schwyz. It takes its name from the town of Lucerne, which is situated at its west end, just where the Reuss issues from the lake, after having entered it at Fluelen at the east end and so practically formed it; the Muota enters the lake at Brunnen (northern shore) and the two mountain streams called the Engelberg and the Sarnen Aa at Buochs and Alpnachstad respectively (S.). The lake is generally supposed to be, on the whole, the most beautiful in Switzerland. This is partly due to the steep limestone mountains between which it lies, the best known being the Rigi (5906 ft.) to the N., and Pilatus (6995 ft.) to the S.W., and to the great promontories that thrust themselves into its waters, such as those of Horw (S.), of Burgenstock (S.), of Meggenhorn (N.) and of Seelisberg (S.), and partly constitution dates in its main features from 1875. The legislature or Grossrath consists of members elected in 55 electoral circles, in the proportion of r to every r000 souls (or fraction over 500) of the Swiss population, and lasts for 4 years. On the 4th of April 1909 proportional representation was adopted for elections of members of the Grossrath. Since 1905 the executive of 7 members is elected by a popular vote for 4 years, as are the 2 members of the federal Standerath and the 7 members of the federal Nationalrath. Five thousand citizens can demand a facultative referendum as to all legislative projects and important financial decrees, or as to the revision of the cantonal constitution, while the same number can also revoke the mandate of the cantonal legislature before its proper term of office has ended, though this revocation does not affect the executive. Four thousand citizens have the right of " initiative " as to constitutional amendments or legislative projects. The canton is composed of the various districts which the town acquired, the dates being those at which the particular region was finally secured—Weggis (1380), Rothenburg, Kriens, Horw, Sempach and Hochdorf (all in 1394), Wolhusen and the Entlebuch (1405), the so-called " Habsburger region " to the N.E. of the town of Lucerne (1406), Willisau (1407), Sursee and Beromunster (1415), Malters (1477) and Littau (1481), while in 1803, in exchange for Hitzkirch, Merenschwand (held since 1397) was given up. (W. A. B. C.)
End of Article: LAKE OF LUCERNE
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LUCERNE (Ger. Luzern; Ital. Lucerne)
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