Schwytz, a N. E. canton of Switzerland, bordering on the cantons of Zürich, St. Gall, Glarus, Uri, Unterwalden, Lucerne, and Zug; area, 350 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 47,705, nearly all Germans and Roman Catholics. It is traversed by chains of mountains with offsets in every direction. The Rossberg, which is partly in this canton and partly in Zug, is 5,188 ft. above the sea; in 1806 a portion of it fell with most destructive effect. The other points of greatest elevation are the Drusberg, in the east, 7,480 ft.; the Mythen, near the centre, 6,250 ft.; and the Rigi, in the west, 5,902 ft. The whole canton belongs to the basin of the Rhine, and the drainage flows into the Limmat and the lakes of Zürich on the north and Lucerne on the west, mainly by the rivers Sihl and Muotta. The minerals are not valuable; there is some iron, and formerly the sands were washed for gold. The climate is milder than in many other parts of Switzerland, as none of the mountains rise above the limit of perpetual snow. Very little of the soil is arable; the country is almost wholly pastoral, and the finest cattle in Switzerland are reared here. Schwytz is one of the three original cantons that resisted Austria and formed the primitive confederation; and it gave a name to the whole country.
The inhabitants made spirited efforts to resist the French in 1798, and suffered severely in 1799, when the war was carried into their country. - Schwytz, the capital, is built at the foot of the rocky eminences Kaken and Mythen, 55 m. E. by N. of Bern; pop. in 1870, 6,154. In the council house are portraits of 43 grand bailiffs of the canton, dating from 1534. Other places of historical interest are Küssnacht, Brunnen, and Einsiedeln.