The Essential
The Rütli or Grütli prairie overlooking Lake Uri symbolises the founding of the Swiss Confederation. The first three cantons of (Waldstätten) Uri, Schwyz and Unterwald rejected Habsburg rule and signed a mutual assistance pact or Rütli Oath, which gave birth to the Helvetian Confederation (called Swiss from 1350 onwards). The more-or-less mythical crossbowman William Tell became its national hero.