Saturday, October 1, 2011

Why Switzerland is .CH

Ever wondered why the ccTLD extension and ISO 3166 code for Switzerland is .CH and not .SW or .SS or .SL? A friend who attended the IGF Forum in Nairobi got a chance to interact with a Swiss delegate and solve the mystery: here is his take "Switzerland has four language groups-German, French, Italian and  Romansh. The Germans call Switzerland die Schweiz, the French call it Suisse, the Italians call it Svizzera and the Romansh call it Svizra. Since Switzerland is a very consensus based society where politicians serve on a part time basis while working full time on their other jobs and no language group wanted to be alienated in the choice of their ISO country code, which unfortunately must only take one form and not four, the politicians agreed on one ancient name for Switzerland: Confoederatio Helvetica abbreviated as "CH"which simply means the "Swiss Confederacy" in Latin."

 Switzerland was was once known as Confoederatio Helvetica or Swiss Confederacy consisting of a loose federation of small independent states called cantons which formed during the 14th Century. Puzzle solved. Next time you see a .CH in the cyberspace then you know you in Swiss but not Chinese namespace.

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