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Waldstätte (literally, "forest settlement") since the early fourteenth century had been a term for the wooded territories of the Alpine foothills of Central Switzerland. Drei Waldstätten or three forest cantons collectively refers to the founding cantons of the Old Swiss Confederacy of 1291, Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden, all of them situated at Lake Lucerne. In German called Vierwaldstättersee (lake of the four forest cantons,) referring to the three cantons just named, and to the Canton of Lucerne,[1] the first canton to join the confederation (1332).

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