Four Forest Cantons, the, Ger. Die Vier Waldstätten, in central Switzerland, the cantons of Unterwalden, Schwyz, Uri, and Lucerne, the first Swiss communities to win their freedom against the Hapsburgs. In 1291 the three mountain forest cantons (Unterwalden, Schwyz, and Uri) formed the League of Forest Cantons as the nucleus of an independent Switzerland. They were joined by Lucerne in 1332. The Lake of the Four Forest Cantons (Vierwaldstättersee) is called in English the Lake of Lucerne.