Vaud vō [key], Ger. Waadt, canton (1993 pop. 593,000), 1,239 sq mi (3,209 sq km), W Switzerland. Lausanne is the capital. Bordering on France in the west, it lies roughly between the Lake of Geneva, the Lake of Neuchâtel, the Jura Mts., and the Bernese Alps. Cereals, tobacco, and other crops are grown and livestock is raised. Wine is produced in the large, fertile region at the center of the canton, near Lake Geneva. There are watchmaking towns in the west; other towns are known for their chocolate, metal products, and cigars. Montreux and Vevey are among its numerous resorts; tourism is Vaud's largest industry. The population is French-speaking and mainly Protestant. Originally occupied by Celts, the region was conquered by the Romans in 58 BC Under Roman rule many towns achieved great prosperity, particularly Avenches. Vaud passed (6th cent.) to the Franks and was under the rule of Transjurane Burgundy from 888 to 1032. It subsequently was subjected partly to the prince-bishops of Lausanne and partly to the counts of Savoy. In 1536 it was conquered by Bern and forced to accept the Reformation. In 1798, having revolted under the leadership of Frédéric César de La Harpe against its Bernese rulers, it became the canton of Leman in the Helvetic Republic. In 1803 it joined the Swiss Confederation under its present name.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Swiss Political Geography