Simplon Tunnel from Iselle, Italy, to Brig, Switzerland, opened in 1906. Construction began in 1898. It was the longest railway tunnel until 1988 when Seikan Tunnel opened, connecting the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido. Idea: Children could locate Italy and Switzerland on a map.
Matterhorn was conquered for the first time by Edward Whymper and a group of climbers in 1865. Seven climbers reached the top, but four were killed on descent. The Matterhorn is one of the highest peaks located in the Pennine Alps between Switzerland and Italy. Currently around 3,000 people climb the Matterhorn per year.
Switzerland celebrates Confederation Day of 1291. Three cantons formed an alliance, and other cantons joined as years passed. The 1874 constitution changed the confederation into a country. The area of Switzerland is a bit less than twice the area of New Jersey, and the Alps dominate its geography. Almost eight million people live in Switzerland, and Bern is the capital. Parades, bonfires, and fireworks mark the day. Children can learn more at: Switzerland. They could also enjoy some Swiss cheese or some Swiss chocolate.