Liechtenstein Cities with Hotels
Liechtenstein, independent principality in central Europe; bounded on the east
by Austria, and on the south, west, and north by
Switzerland. One of the
smallest independent states in the world, Liechtenstein has a total area of 160
square kilometres (62 square miles).
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Land and Resources
The western edge of Liechtenstein lies in the valley of the
Rhine River. The rest of the country consists of foothills of the Alps,
which rise in the south to peaks of more than 2438 m (more than 8000 ft)
above sea level. The Rhine River, which forms the western border,
drains, along with its local tributaries, the greater part of the
country. The Samina River is the principal stream of the mountain
region. Liechtenstein has a mild climate; average temperatures range
from -1.1° C (30° F) in January to 21.1° C (70° F) in July. The average
annual precipitation is about 1016 mm (about 40 in). One-third of the
land is forest covered; deciduous trees predominate at lower elevations,
conifers at higher elevations. Wildlife includes deer, chamois, fox,
marten, and badger.
The population of Liechtenstein (1990) was 28,877 (including
10,218 resident aliens), with an overall density of 184 persons per sq
km (about 473 per sq mi). The capital and principal urban center is
Vaduz (population, 1991, 4887). German is the official language, but a
dialect, Alemannish, is spoken commonly. Approximately 87 percent of the
population is Roman Catholic. In 1991 primary school enrollment totaled
1985 pupils; about 1200 pupils attended secondary schools. Primary and
secondary education is free in Liechtenstein; schooling is compulsory
for eight years.
Liechtenstein is highly industrialized, with less than 2
percent of the labor force engaged in agriculture. The principal crops
are corn, potatoes, barley, wheat, vegetables, and grapes. Livestock are
grazed in the alpine meadows in summer. The major manufactures include
machinery, pharmaceuticals, food products, metal goods, precision
instruments, furniture, and pottery. Much of the principality's income
is derived from banking, tourism, the sale of postage stamps, and from
international firms that maintain headquarters here because of favorable
tax treatment. The unit of currency is the Swiss franc, and
Liechtenstein maintains a customs union with Switzerland. The country
has 19 km (12 mi) of railroads and 323 km (201 mi) of roads, but it has
Liechtenstein is a constitutional monarchy governed by
hereditary princes. According to the constitution of 1921, legislative
power is exercised by the unicameral parliament, made up of 25 members
elected to four-year terms by universal adult suffrage. On the
recommendation of parliament, the prince appoints a chief of government
and four councillors who form the government. Since 1919, Switzerland
has represented Liechtenstein diplomatically.
The modern history of Liechtenstein dates from 1719, when the
country formally acquired its present name and ruling family with the
consolidation of the counties of Vaduz and Schellenberg under the house
of Liechtenstein. During the 18th and 19th centuries, it was allied with
the Habsburg monarchy of Austria. When that monarchy was abolished after
World War I (1914-1918), Liechtenstein formed its present connection
Prince Franz Joseph II, who became sovereign in 1938, yielded
executive authority in 1984 to his son and heir, Crown Prince Hans Adam,
who succeeded his father in 1989. Also in 1984, a referendum granted
women the right to vote in national elections. Liechtenstein joined the
United Nations in 1990 and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) as
a full member in September 1991. In December 1992 voters approved
Liechtenstein's membership in the European Economic Area (EEA). The
election of February 1993 resulted in the formation of a coalition
government of the Progressive Citizens' Party and the Patriotic Union.
Markus Büchel was named head of government.
"Liechtenstein," Microsoft® Encarta® 97 Encyclopedia.
© 1993-1996 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
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October 10, 2008 07:37 PM.