Once called the Roman province of Helvetia, it was renamed Switzerland later and quickly established a reputation for being a peace-loving country. After being governed by Roman rule until 400 BC, germanic feudal structures until the 1500s, the Austrian House of Habsburg until 1740, and French rule due to Napoleon's campaigns, the unified Cantons in Switzerland decide on a stance of armed neutrality and adopted a new Federal Constitution in 1848.
Nearly half the country is covered by the Alps and Jura mountains. Most Swiss citizens live on a plateau in a valley between the two mountain ranges. The people are industrious and known for their good craftsmanship and secure banking practices. The Government consists of a Federal Council of six elected officials that runs the government, and a president who serves in a largely ceremonial role as head of state. The president is elected for a one-year term only.
Switzerland has total religious freedom. Nearly half the population is Roman Catholic while the other half is Protestant. The Pentecostal movement in Switzerland gained momentum prior to 1900 with the Holiness Movement, but many believers see the Welsh Revival as the true origin of Swiss Pentecostalism. German and French-speaking evangelists ministered early in the 20th century, and Smith Wigglesworth also had an effective ministry among the Swiss in the 1920s. Several other Pentecostal movements were formed throughout the 20th century: The “Eglise Evangelique de Reveil,” the “Swiss Pentecostal Mission,” “Freie Christengemeinden,” and “Gemeinde fur Urchristentum.”
The Movement Today
Switzerland was the site of two triennial meetings known as Pentecostal World Conferences, where Pentecostals from around the world gather to pray and worship in spiritual unity. The Pentecostal Churches of Switzerland places great emphasis on foreign missions. They report the following statistics about the fellowship there: 120 Churches and outstations, 11,500 members and adherents, 100 ministers, and one Bible school educating 25 students.
Additional Facts About Switzerland
- Capital: Bern
- Area: 15,940 square miles
- Population: 8,454,000
- Government: Federal Republic
- Languages: German, French, Italian, Rumantsch
- Currency: Franc
- Agriculture: Dairy products, fruits, potatoes, sugar beets and wheat
- Industry: Chemicals, drugs, electrical equipment, machine tools, watches, precision instruments, textiles and wine