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Trip Planner Europe  /  Switzerland  /  Canton of Obwalden

Canton of Obwalden

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Mountains · Bridges · Landmarks
The Canton of Obwalden is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the centre of Switzerland. Its capital is Sarnen. The canton contains the geographical centre of Switzerland.HistoryObwalden is one of the two valleys, along with Nidwalden, that make up Unterwalden. Throughout its history, the political situation and the exact amount of independence has varied widely. Between 1291 and 1309, Unterwalden joined the nascent Swiss Confederation. During that time Obwalden was known as Unterwalden ob dem Kernwald and Nidwalden was Unterwalden nit dem Kernwald. Unterwalden's votes in the Tagsatzung were split between the two valleys. Between 1798 and 1803 it became the District of Sarnen in the Canton of Waldstätten. From 1803 until 1999 it was the half-canton of Obwalden. In 1999, the new Federal Constitution eliminated the half-canton designation and made Obwalden a full canton, though they still shared representation in the Council of States and only had half a vote. Due to the complex history of Obwalden there will be some overlap between the histories of Obwalden, Nidwalden and Unterwalden.PrehistoryThe earliest archaeological traces in Obwalden is a stone knife from the 8th millennium BC, which was found in Brand by Lungern. Two Horgen culture sites from the 4th millennium BC have been found in the Canton. An ax and two bone blades were found in Giswil and a hammer-ax was found in Wilen. It appears that the valleys in Obwalden were at least temporarily inhabited during this time, but no evidence of agriculture or permanent settlements have been found.
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