English School 19th, Century
The Entrance of the Unerlock Tunnel, Canton d'uri, Switzerland
Entrance of the Unerlock Tunnel, Canton d'uri,
4th April 1850
pencil and watercolour
22.86 x 15.24 cm. (9 x 6 in. )


Uri (German: Uri is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland. It is located in Central Switzerland. The canton's territory covers the valley of the Reuss River between Lake Lucerne and the St. Gotthard Pass. German is the primary language spoken in Uri. The population is about 35,000 of which 3,046 (or 8.7%) are foreigners. The legendary William Tell is said to have hailed from Uri. The canton is located in the centre of the country on the north side of the Swiss Alps. The lands of the canton are that of the Reuss valley and those of the main river's tributaries. The total area of the canton is 1,077 km². About half of this is considered productive land. Forests cover a significant part of the territory, and glaciers make up 20% of the unproductive land.

The highest elevation in the canton, and in the Urner Alps as a whole, is the Dammastock, at 3,630 m, north of the Furka Pass. The Glarus and Lepontine Alps ranges are also partially situated in the canton of Uri.Uri was first mentioned in 732 as belonging to the abbot of Reichenau. In 853 it was given to the nunnery at Zürich by Louis the German.It is thought that the name Uri derives from the old German word Aurochs meaning wild ox. This is backed up by the fact that the region's traditional coat of arms bears a bull's head. In 1243 the region had a common seal. By 1274 the powerful Rudolf of Habsburg recognized these privileges. Uri was one of the three original Swiss cantons, having signed the Letter of Alliance (Bundesbrief) in 1291. In 1386 Uri participated in the victory over the Austrians at Sempach. As a result Uri annexed the lands of Urseren in 1410. The region resisted the reformation and remained Roman Catholic. During the Helvetic Republic Uri was part of the canton of Waldstätten. After this, in 1803 as part of the Act of Mediation, Uri re-gained its independence. All attempts to religious or constitutional reform were resisted. In 1815 Uri joined the League of Sarnen for this reason. Later on Uri was one of the members of the Sonderbund. The Sonderbund was a separatist Catholic league, but was defeated by the Swiss Confederation which led to the Swiss Federal Constitution.