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List of Swiss Americans

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a list of notable Swiss Americans, including both original immigrants who obtained American citizenship and their American descendants.

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  • ✪ 10 Things You Didn't Know About Switzerland
  • ✪ Surprising Facts About Switzerland
  • ✪ 25 Crazy Facts You Never Knew About Switzerland
  • ✪ Top 10 Countries With The LARGEST Gold Reserves!
  • ✪ Top 10 Biggest Bank Robberies In History (Ranked)


Switzerland is truly a unique country especially in the context of Europe. Switzerland has a fierce independence straight to its personality and is not a member of the EU and has maintained a policy of official neutrality for longer than anyone can remember. These are just a few of the things that make Switzerland so fascinating, so brace yourself for even more because now we bring you the 10 things you didn't know about Switzerland. One of the most interesting features of Switzerland's political geography is its division into 26 cantons. Switzerland is rather unique in that it is officially known as the Swiss Confederacy and is the only state in Europe that is officially recognized as a confederacy of states. Each Swiss canton is considered a member state of the greater Swiss Confederation. A canton can be described in the same manner as a province, state or other administrative subdivisions found in most other countries. Each Swiss canton has rather uniquely its own constitution, legislature, government and courts and each canton is a sovereign state except with regards to matters of federal law. Despite this minor limitation, cantons are remarkably independent and responsible for their own healthcare, welfare, law enforcement, education and even retain the power of taxation. All of these areas of political life are also decided by Swiss citizens through a very robust direct democracy where the Swiss vote directly on almost all political matters. As with so many other things in Switzerland, this system seems very strange but the Swiss have lived this way for hundreds of years and take great pride in the liberty they enjoy. Many people have heard about the infamous Swiss banking system and by extension Swiss bank accounts. Swiss bank accounts have been portrayed in movies as a safe haven for criminals and tax evaders with Swiss bankers willing to go to jail for their unscrupulous and anonymous clients. While this isn't the case anymore the Swiss banking system over the centuries was a curious institution that accomplished many impressive financial feeds. In the past the Swiss banking law of 1934 made it a criminal act for a Swiss bank to reveal the name of an account holder. The protections were bank account holders afforded under Swiss law are similar to confidentiality protections between doctors and patients or lawyers in their clients. The Swiss banks in Geneva and Zurich served as safe havens for the wealth of dictators and despots, mobsters and arms dealers, corrupt officials and tax cheats of all kinds until 2015 when all this changed. On the 27th of May 2015 Switzerland signed an agreement with the EU that align Swiss bank practices with those of EU countries and ended their special secrecy that clients of Swiss banks had enjoyed in the past. Under the agreement, both Switzerland and EU countries automatically exchange information on the financial accounts of each other's residents. Numbered accounts where the owner of a bank account are only identified by a secret number plus protecting an individual's anonymity has largely been done away with leaving the criminal element of the world to seek other countries such as Hong Kong and Singapore to shelter their black money. Singapore in particular has strengthened penalties for violators of bank secrecy and now impose a steeper fines and longer jail sentences for offenders in order to attract former Swiss banking clients. It is likely that the importance of the Swiss banking system in terms of servicing the global criminal underground will greatly decline in the coming century. Many countries have more than just one official language. Canada, for example, has two. French and English. But Switzerland has more than just two. In fact, it has four official languages. German, French, Italian and Romansh. As might be expected the languages are related to geographic areas so in most of the east of Switzerland people speak German and in the west most people speak French. Italian is spoken in the south near the border to Italy and Romansh which is a unique Romance language is spoken in the southeastern canton of Grisons. Romansh in particular is interesting because very few people know anything about this unique language and the ethnic minority that speaks it. Romansh is descendant of the spoken Latin language of the Roman Empire pyar but over the centuries was heavily influenced by linguistic contact with the German language. As a result Romash sounds like a unique yet nearly incomprehensible blend of European languages. You would think that with all these languages the Swiss would be confused with their Canton system and direct democracy but this is not the case. If you take the time to ask any Swiss person. Like Austrian German, Swiss German is very very different from German German. And the accent is unmistakable so much so that it sounds like a completely different language and it is. Swiss German vocabulary is different, pronunciation is different and so is the grammar. And unlike Austrian German it's usually not possible for Germans to understand Swiss German. One of the key characteristics of Swiss German, called "Schwizerdütsch", is the preservation of some arcade features that are no longer present in Standard German. The best example of this is the sound [CH] which is often found at the beginning of words rather than just at the end and in the middle. For example, in Swiss German the word for kitchen is "Chüche" but in Standard German it is "Küche". And many other words that start with a K in German start with a [CH]. Swiss German is the de facto language of Swiss German speakers within Switzerland but when Swiss German speakers encounter Germans they usually switch and they will always use "Hochdeutsch" outside the context of Switzerland. Interestingly enough Swiss German speakers speakers have a bit of a complex concerning their language because most Germans just considered to be a barbaric dialect that sounds terrible. This in turn creates resentment towards Germans and that's the cycle of dislike and distrust is born. Still, things aren't too bad and the Swiss will tolerate the Germans with their strange language for the most part if only because they have to. One of the most iconic symbols of Switzerland is almost certainly the Alps. The towering and circular range of mountains is home to the tallest single peaks in Europe some of the most famous peaks are the Matterhorn and the Monte Rosa which rise up to respectively 14,692 and 15,023 feet above sea level. The Alps offer a natural protective barrier against outsiders for Switzerland which is why it has been theorized that the country has been able to maintain his position of neutrality for so long. Even before this, the Alps were known for halting the progress of the Carthaginian general Hannibal in his attempt to take Rome resulting in catastrophic losses for him, simply because of the sheer massiveness of this impressive mountain range. From a geological perspective the Alps are a medium age mountain range being neither young nor old when compared to such mountain ranges as the Appalachians or the Andes and of course people love to come to Switzerland to go skiing in the Alps which is probably what they're most famous for. It's quite possible that no other mountain range in the world conjures up the same images of history, romance and recreation as do the Alps which largely lie in and around Switzerland. Most people don't realize that some of the best and most delicious food comes from Switzerland. What are some of these tasty morsels? Well, muesli for one which is world famous as a mixture of oats and other grains combined with nuts, seeds, fruit and with so much variety that it would be impossible to do all the types of muesli justest here. To suffice to say muesli is known and appreciated well beyond the borders of Switzerland for its delicious and natural taste as well as its appeal to healthy living and it doesn't just stop there. Fondue is a Swiss dish composed of melted cheese in a large pot that is heated under particular conditions and is beyond delicious with people typically dipping bread into the mix for incredible awesome taste. And then there's the world famous Swiss chocolate which often covers entire aisles and Swiss supermarkets and has an international reputation for high quality and taste. One of Switzerland's best-kept secrets is its food, so fly on over and give it a taste, you won't regret it. When most people think of gun freaks most people think of Americans or "Muricans" as they're sometimes called. As the first online in terms of gun ownership and use but this might not be the most accurate view of things. Part of Swiss gun ownership goes back to traditions as far back as the post- Napoleonic restoration after the Swiss expelled their French conquers. Tradition and patriotism has kept gun ownership alive and well in Switzerland. As a consequence most Swiss citizens have extensive firearms training and most Swiss households also house multiple guns. What is striking, however, is the difference in crime when comparing Swiss gun culture to American gun culture where injuries and fatalities are much higher. No one really knows the reasons for this whether it is Switzerland smaller-sized, careful regulation of firearms, different style of governance or something else entirely but regardless of the cause, Switzerland is held up as a role model of safe gun culture in the world and it remains so to this day. In a not too similar way to how Austrians and Germans don't really get along Swiss people particularly Swiss German speakers tend not to like Germans very much. Germans are viewed as rude, intrusive and ignorant of Swiss culture and in recent decades there has been a huge influx of Germans entering the Swiss labor market, sucking up jobs and making their presence known. This coupled by Germans ignorance of Swiss history and politics but conversely Swiss people's better-than-average knowledge of German history and politics makes for a difficult situation. Then of course there is the language issue. High German isn't really the de facto official language in Switzerland and Germans sends a waltz into the country demanding that Swiss German speak their German which breeds resentment and distrust and with Germany's increasingly liberal policies and talking down to Switzerland it's unlikely that relations will improve anytime soon. Even though Switzerland has always officially maintain a policy of neutrality particularly during World War II, the issue is actually more complicated than one has led to believe. All Switzerland did not actively participate in National Socialism, it wasn't entirely neutral either. A great deal of property and gold that had been confiscated by the National Socialist from their victims ended up in Switzerland where much of it remains today. During World War II some of the more financially able victims of the National Socialist attempted to flee to Switzerland and were rejected and turned away and in some cases Swiss officials actively aided and abetted and carrying out National Socialist objectives. So, while officially neutral not everything in Switzerland has done has turned out this way. The greatest folk hero of the Swiss is surely William Tell or in German "Wilhelm Tell". He is venerated as a human symbol of bravery against tyranny and it is claimed he was a brilliant marksman to boot. The story or so it goes says that he was able to cleanly shoot an apple off the head of a child with either a bow or crossbow depending on which version you read. He is credited either with actively resisting, encouraging rebellion against or even assassinating some members of the Habsburgs as they sought to encroach on Swiss territory. Although no exact date is known for when he lived and that's as is often the case with folk heros he transposes the centuries, allowing them to conveniently fit whatever narrative people wanted to fit into. For more Top Lists just like this be sure to leave a like and subscribe if you haven't already and don't forget to check out other lists and thanks for watching and thanks for learning.



List by occupation


Arts and entertainment

Actors and directors

Visual artists

Writers and publicists



Law and politics

Governors and presidents

Congressmen and senators



  • Henry Bouquet, prominent Army officer in the French and Indian War and Pontiac's War[27]
  • Edward Walter Eberle (1864–1929), admiral in the United States Navy, served as Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy and third Chief of Naval Operations[28]
  • Felix Zollicoffer (1812–1862), newspaperman, three-term US Congressman from Tennessee, officer in the United States Army, and a Confederate brigadier general during the American Civil War
  • Henry Wirz (1822–1865), only Confederate soldier executed in the aftermath of the American Civil War for war crimes[29]


  • Henry B. Eyring (born 1933), educator, Stanford University professor, Presiding Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Daniel Kumler Flickinger (1824–1911), Bishop of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ
  • Martin Marty (1834–1886), Benedictine priest
  • Philip Schaff (1819–1893), Protestant theologian and a historian of the Christian church

Scientists and engineers



  • Helen Keller (1880–1968), author, political activist and lecturer; first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree
  • Christoph Meili (born 1968), whistleblower[45]
  • Chesley Sullenberger (born 1951), airline transport pilot who successfully carried out the emergency ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River, saving the lives of the 155 people on the aircraft[46]

See also


  1. ^ "Swiss Americans - History, Modern era, Swiss in British north america". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  2. ^ New Georgia Encyclopedia: John J. Zubly (1724-1781)
  3. ^ [1][permanent dead link] "German-born Swiss pioneer settler and colonizer in California; the discovery of gold on his land in 1848 precipitated the California Gold Rush."
  4. ^ "American Whiskey". Retrieved 2008-06-28.
  5. ^ [2] "Portfolio's Worst American CEOs of All Time." April 30, 2009.
  6. ^ [3] "Meyer, though a native speaker of German, was Swiss-German."
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2006-07-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) "The legendary Swiss manager has been tasked with bringing fresh momentum to the sputtering engine of the world's largest automobile group."
  9. ^ a b Swiss Roots: Renee Zellweger Archived 2006-07-21 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ [4][permanent dead link] "The actress, who's Alaskan/Swiss on her mother's side, was born in Schweigmatt, Germany.""Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-07-20. Retrieved 2006-05-16.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-09-23. Retrieved 2009-06-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) "His father had mainly Swiss and British roots."
  12. ^ Swiss Roots: Film Archived 2006-07-20 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ [5] "...and my mother is Swiss and Swede."
  14. ^ Biography for William Wyler on IMDb "Born Willi Wyler ... to a Swiss father and a German mother"
  15. ^ - Blade's man in Europe brought world to Toledo
  16. ^ Swiss Roots: Jewel Kilcher Archived 2006-07-20 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "An American of 10 Generations". New York Times. 1907-05-12.
  18. ^ Swiss Roots: Herbert Hoover Archived 2007-10-05 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ [6]
  20. ^ a b c d [7] "Swiss ancestry."
  21. ^ [8]
  22. ^ [9] "Ethnicity Swiss/German"
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-01-09. Retrieved 2006-04-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) "Born to an aristocratic Swiss family, Albert Gallatin (1761-1849) emigrated from Switzerland to America in 1780."
  24. ^ [10] "Swiss and German ancestry."
  25. ^ Robert Parkinson, Peter Staub. Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 2002. Retrieved: 5 August 2010.
  26. ^ [11] mentioned as one of several "Swiss Americans"
  27. ^ [12] "Bouqet as a free born Switzer..."
  28. ^ Mueller Science - Specialities: Switzerland
  29. ^ Swiss Roots: Henry Wirz Archived 2007-10-06 at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ Louis Agassiz - Britannica Student Encyclopaedia
  31. ^ (in German) Structurae [en]: Othmar Herrmann Ammann (1879-1965)
  32. ^ CERN Scientific Information Service
  33. ^ NOAA Central Library Archived 2006-02-08 at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ [13] "Though Swiss by birth, Frank traveled the world before settling in the United States in 1953."
  35. ^ [14] "After his graduation in the spring of 1900, he became a Swiss citizen, worked for two months as a mathematics teacher, and then was employed as examiner at the Swiss patent office in Bern."
  36. ^ Edmond Fischer
  37. ^ [15][permanent dead link] "Swiss-born U.S. psychiatrist"
  38. ^ Swiss Roots: Eddie Rickenbacker Archived 2006-07-20 at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ [16] "Martin Buser, a long-time Swiss citizen, is scheduled to be sworn in today as a United States citizen by Judge Ben Esch after crossing the finish line yesterday as winner of the 2002 Iditarod."
  40. ^ [17]
  41. ^ de:William Heffelfinger
  42. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-05-19. Retrieved 2006-04-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) "Swiss Roots: How much do you know about your Swiss heritage? Ben Roethlisberger: Honestly, I didn't know a whole lot until recently; then I started feeling it out a little more and hearing a little more about it. Now, when people ask me where I'm from, I'm quick to say, "Well, I'm Swiss." I'm sure I have a lot of things in me, but that's one of the things I tell people—that I'm Swiss."
  43. ^ [18] "The Wanderones were German-Swiss"
  44. ^ [19] "Zobrist Name Meaning Swiss German: topographic name for someone who lived at the highest or furthest point of a settlement."
  45. ^ [20] "the name of the 30-year-old former Swiss bank guard is already being entered into the ranks of the righteous gentiles -- those persons who have taken risks to help Jews."
  46. ^ ""Held vom Hudson" stammt aus Wynigen" (in German). Berner Zeitung. 2008-01-20. Retrieved 2009-01-20.

External links

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