1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ticino (river)

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TICINO (Ger. Tessin, anc. Ticinus), a canton of Switzerland, the only one situated almost wholly on the southern slope of the Alps and inhabited by a population of which the majority is Italian- speaking. It takes its name from the Ticino river, the whole upper course of which (the Val Leventina, with its side glen of Val Blenio, the so-called Riviera, extending from Biasca to near Bellinzona, and the bit beyond Bellinzona), till it swells into the Lago Maggiore, is within the canton. Not far from the head of the Lago Maggiore the lake is increased by the Maggia torrent which is formed by the union of the torrents descending from the mountain glens known as the valleys of Locarno, save the Val Verzasca, the stream from which falls into the lake without joining the Maggia. The third portion of the canton is that called Monte Cenere, including the hilly region between Bellinzona on the Ticino and Lugano, together with most of the lake of that name, and stretching on the south as far as Mendrisio, not far from Como. These three districts were all formerly part of the duchy of Milan till conquered by the Swiss, and in 1803 were joined together to form a Swiss canton of the most artificial kind (Campione, opposite Lugano, is still an Italian " enclave "). Its total area is 1081.1 sq. m., of which 721-9 sq. m. are reckoned as "productive" (forests covering 267.2 sq. m. and vineyards 19.9 sq. m.), while of the rest part is taken up by the Lake of Lugano (the Swiss share of which is 7 ½ sq. m.), and those of the Lago Maggiore (Swiss share 16 ¼ sq. m.), and by 13 ¼ sq. m. of glaciers. In point of size the canton is surpassed by only four other cantons (Bern, the Grisons, the Valais, and Vaud), while only Vaud can boast of a larger vine-growing district. The highest points in the canton are two of the loftiest summits of the two halves of the Lcpontine Alps—the Basodino (10,749 ft.) and the Rheinwaldhorn or Piz Valrhcin (11,149 ft.) in the Adula Alps. Save the Ticino valley between Biasca, Bellinzona and Locarno, and the environs of Lugano, the canton is principally composed of hills and mountains, and is therefore poor from the material point of view, though rich in fine scenery.

The canton is traversed from end to end, from Airolo at the southern mouth of the St Gotthard tunnel to beyond Mondrisio (about 74 m.), by the main line of the St Gotthard railway, many of the marvellous engineering triumphs of which occur between Airolo and Biasca. From Bellinzona there is a short branch railway to Locarno (14 m.), whence another runs up to Bignasco (17½ m.), while from Lugano there is a mountain line up the Monte S. Salvatore (3004 ft.), and from Capolago another similar line up the Monte Generoso (5591 ft., that summit being just on the political frontier). Till 1859 the canton was legally included in the Italian dioceses of Milan (the portion north of Bellinzona, the Val Leventina and the Val Blenio therefore still using the ancient " Ambrosian Liturgy ") and of Como (the rest of the canton). In that year the Swiss Confederation abolished this foreign jurisdiction, but practically the two bishops named had' charge of these districts till in 1888 the purely Swiss diocese of Lugano was set up, being now joined to that of Basel, and governed by an administrator apostolic. In 1900 the population of the canton was 138,638, of whom 134,774 were Italian-speaking, 3180 German- speaking and 403 French-speaking, while 135,828 were Romanists, 2209 Protestants and 1 8 Jews. Of the German-speaking inhabitants 260 belonged to the hamlet of Bosco or Gurin, situated at the head of one of the side glens of the Val Maggia, and colonized before 1253 from the neighbouring Tosa or Pommat valley (now politically Italian), which is inhabited by German-speaking emigrants from the canton of the Valais. In loco there were in the canton 75,731 women to 62,907 men, the men being in the habit of emigrating in search of work. Up to 1881 Bellinzona, Locarno and Lugano were alternately the political capital, each for six years, jg practically Italian, though . canton has produced many sculptors, painters and architects. But its industrial development is backward, though the opening of the St Gotthard railway has attracted many foreign travellers. Yet the male population largely migrate in search of work and wages as coffee-house keepers (such as Dclmonicq, of New York), waiters in cafe's, masons, plasterers, labourers, navvies. &c. Fruit, chestnuts and wine are among the principal exports. The canton is divided into 8 administrative districts, which comprise 265 communes. The cantonal constitution is still that of 1830. which, however, has been almost mended out of sight owing to the political struggles