(Canton de Neuchâtel; Kanton Neuenburg) is a canton
of western Switzerland
. In 2007, its population was 169,640. The capital
The canton of Neuchâtel is located in Romandy
, the western part of Switzerland
. To its northeast it borders the canton of Bern
, to the northwest France
. The Lake Neuchâtel
lies southeast of the canton, while the canton of Vaud
is southwest of the canton of Neuchâtel. The canton lies in the central area of the Jura Mountains
. Lake Neuchâtel drains the lands in the south, whilst the River Doubs
drains the northern areas.
The canton is commonly divided into three regions. The viticultural region is located along the lake. Its name derives from the many vineyards found there. The region called Les Vallées lies further north. The two largest valleys of the canton of Neuchâtel lie in this region: the Ruz Valley and the Val de Travers. Both valleys lie at about . The highest region of the canton, however, is the Neuchâtelois Mountains at to . This region is made up of a long valley home to La Chaux-de-Fonds, Le Locle and La Brévine.
The name of the canton goes back to the Roman designation of Novum Castellum
(new castle). Rudolph III of Burgundy
mentioned Neuchâtel in his will in 1032. The dynasty of Count Ulrich von Fenis
took over the town and its territories in 1034. The dynasty prospered and by 1373 all the lands now part of the canton
belonged to the count. In 1405, the cities of Berne
and Neuchâtel entered a union. The lands of Neuchâtel passed to the lords of Freiburg
about a century later, and then in 1504 to the French
house of Orléans-Longueville.
The French preacher Guillaume Farel brought the teachings of the Protestant Reformation to the area in 1530. When the house of Orléans-Longueville became extinct in 1707, the lands of Neuchâtel went to King Frederick I of Prussia. The Kingdom of Prussia governed the Principality of Neuchâtel (Fürstentum Neuenburg) until 1848, with the exception of the period between 1806 and 1814 when the lands went as a sovereign principality to Napoleon Bonaparte's chief of staff, Louis Alexandre Berthier.
In 1815, the canton of Neuchâtel became part of the Swiss Confederation as a full member. For the first time, the Swiss admitted a canton that did not have a republican administration. This situation changed in 1848 when a peaceful revolution took place and established a republic. King Frederick William IV of Prussia did not give in immediately and several attempts at counter-revolution took place. In 1857, Frederick William renounced his claims on the area.
The canton is well-known for its wines, which are grown along the Lake Neuchâtel
. There are dairy farming
and cattle breeding in the valleys, but it is for the breeding of horses that Neuchâtel has a fine reputation. Watchmaking
is well established in the canton, with fine mechanics and microchip
production being established more recently.
The population is almost entirely French
-speaking. About two-thirds are Protestant
and about one-third Roman Catholic
The following is a list of municipalities
) by district.