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Canton of Jura

The Republic and Canton of the Jura (French: République et Canton du Jura), also known as the Canton of Jura or Canton Jura, is one of the cantons of Switzerland. It is the newest (created in 1979) of the 26 Swiss cantons, located in the northwestern part of Switzerland. The capital is Delémont. It shares borders with the Canton of Basel-Landschaft, the Canton of Bern, and the French département of Doubs.

History

The King of Burgundy donated much of the land that today makes up Canton Jura to the Bishop of Basel in 999. The area was a sovereign state within the Holy Roman Empire for more than 800 years. After the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 the Jura had close ties with the Swiss Confederation. At the Congress of Vienna (1815), the Jura was given to the canton of Bern. This act caused dissention. The Jura was French-speaking and Roman Catholic, whereas the canton of Bern was mostly German-speaking and Protestant.

After World War II, a separatist movement campaigned for a secession of Jura from the Canton of Bern. After a long and partly militant struggle, which included some arson attacks by a youth organisation Les Béliers, a constitution was accepted in 1977. In 1978 the split was made official when the Swiss people voted in favour of it, and in 1979 the Jura joined the Swiss Confederation as a full member. It celebrates its independence from the Canton of Bern on 23 June. However, the southern part of the Jura region, which is also predominantly French-speaking but has a Protestant majority, opted not to join the newly-formed canton, and instead remained part of the Canton of Bern. This decision may seem somewhat strange from a linguistic standpoint. However this choice may have been influenced by the fact that the Canton of Bern is financially richer and is at the heart of federal power in Switzerland. The area is now known as Bernese Jura. The word Jura, therefore, may refer either to Canton Jura, or to the combined territory of Canton Jura and the Bernese Jura. Switzerland as a whole, often presents the latter from a touristic standpoint with documentation easily available in French or German.

On creation, the canton adopted the title Republic and Canton of the Jura. Other cantons in Switzerland using the title "Republic and Canton" are Ticino, Canton Geneva, and Canton Neuchâtel. In each case, the title asserts the autonomy of the canton and its nominal sovereignty within the Swiss Confederation.

Since 1994, the question of the Jura region has again been controversial. In 2004, a federal commission proposed that the French-speaking southern Jura be reunited with the Canton of Jura, as the language question now seems to be more important than the denominational one. A possible solution would be to create two Half-Cantons, as reunification with the creation of only a single Canton would mean a complete restructuring of the Jura's current political system with the Cantonal capital being transferred from Delémont to Moutier.

Geography

Canton Jura lies in the northwest of Switzerland. It consists of parts of the Jura mountains in the south and the Jura plateau in the north. The Jura plateau is hilly and almost entirely limestone. The districts of Ajoie and Franches-Montagnes lie in this region. The term "Jurassic" is derived from the Jura Alps, strata of which date to that era.

To the north and the west of the Canton lies France. The canton of Solothurn and Basel-Landschaft are to east of the canton, while the canton of Bern bounds the Jura to the south. The River Doubs and the river Birs drain the lands. The Doubs joins the Saône and then the Rhône, whereas the Birs is a tributary to the Rhine.

[ source: wikipedia ]

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