Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a landlocked country situated at the confluence of Western, Central, and Southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities based in Bern. Switzerland is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided among the Swiss Plateau, the Alps, and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km², and land area of 39,997 km². Although the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities and economic centres are located, among them Zürich, Geneva, and Basel. These cities are home to several offices of international organisations such as the headquarters of FIFA, the UN's second-largest Office, and the main building of the Bank for International Settlements. The main international airports of Switzerland are also located in these cities.
The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy.