Geneva (Fr. Geneve, Ger. Genf, Ital. Ginevra), a canton in the south-west of Switzerland, bounded S., B., and W. by the territories of France. Area, 108 sq. m. ; pop. (1900) 131,674, about half being Catholics, and 85 per cent. French-speaking. It is watered by the Rhone and Arve, which unite 2 miles from the southwest extremity of the Lake of Geneva. The surface is hilly, chief eminences being the steep Saleve (4528 feet) and the Reculet (5631).
Geneva, the capital, is situated at the exit of the Rhone from the Lake of Geneva, 388 miles by rail SE. of Paris. A Gallic town originally, Geneva acknowledged Roman supremacy in 120 B.C. ; passed backwards and forwards from and to Burgundy; was made a bishop's seat in the 4th century; and having secured Freiburg (1519) and Bern (1526) for allies, finally won its complete independence from Savoy, a few years later accepting Protestantism. In 1535 Calvin arrived at Geneva, and began his reconstitution of the political and social life of the republic, which created it one of the chief strongholds of Protestantism in Europe. Formerly Geneva was walled, and consisted of clusters of narrow streets; but since the accession of the radical party to power in 1847 the town has been almost entirely rebuilt in modern style. The ancient ramparts have been removed, streets widened and well paved, and new and commodious quays constructed along the lake and river. In its course through the town the Rhone forms two islands, on one of which still exists an antique and picturesque cluster of buildings; on the other, laid out as a public pleasure-ground, is a statue of Rousseau. In the Place des Alpes is a sumptuous monument to Duke Charles XI. of Brunswick, who, dying here in 1873, left 16,500,000 francs to the city. Famous as a theological, literary, and scientific centre, Geneva has given birth to Rousseau; to the physicist De Saussure ; to the naturalist Bonnet and the Pictets; to Necker, the French minister of finance; to the humorist Toepffer ; and to the sculptor Pradier. The principal edifices are the Transition cathedral of St Peter (1124); the town-hall, in which the Alabama arbitrators met in 1872; the academy, founded by Calvin in 1559, with a library of 110,000 volumes, and in 1873 converted into a university (with over 700 students); the magnificent theatre (1879); the Rath Museum (1824-26); the Fol Museum, with Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities; the Athenaeum, devoted to the fine arts; and the museum of natural history, etc. The staple manufactures of the town are watches, musical-boxes, and jewellery. Pop. (1870) 61,486; (1901) 105,139.
Geneva, a town of New York, at the north end of Seneca Lake, 26 miles W. of Auburn by rail, with flouring-mills and manufactures of engines, boilers, etc. It is the seat of Hobart College (Episcopal, founded in 1824). Pop. 10,450.
Geneva, Lake of, or Lake Leman (Lacus Lemanus), situated between Switzerland, to which the larger portion belongs, and France. It. lies 1218 feet above sea-level, and curves 45 miles westward, in the form of a crescent. Its greatest breadth is 9 miles, its area 223 sq. m., and its maximum depth 1092 feet. The lake abounds in fish. The Pays de Vaud shore is celebrated by Rousseau and Byron, while the names of Voltaire and Madame de Stael are connected with Ferney and Coppet at the Geneva extremity, Gibbon's with Lausanne. The southern French shore rises solemn and stern, with the mountains of Savoy in the background ; Mont Blanc, though 60 miles distant, is often reflected in the water. The tidal phenomenon called seiches has been studied in the lake. The Rhone enters it at the upper end, turbid and yellow, and leaves it at the town of Geneva as clear as glass, and of a deep blue tint.