Switzerland is a country in central Europe consisting of a federation of 23 cantons. In 1798 the French Army entered the country and established the Helvetic Republic. However, at the the Congress of Vienna in 1815 Swiss control was restored and the European powers guaranteed Switzerland's neutrality.
After a brief civil war a new, democratic, federal constitution was introduced in 1848. Determined to retain its neutral status, Switzerland refused to join any military alliances.