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Fribourg (frī´bûrg, Fr. frēbōōr´), Ger. Freiburg, canton (1990 pop. 204,328), 645 sq mi (1,671 sq km), W Switzerland. Located on the Swiss Plateau and amid the foothills of the Alps, Fribourg is an agricultural region known for its cattle and cheese (notably Gruyère). Industries include the production of watches and chocolate. The canton is overwhelmingly Catholic, and the inhabitants are two-thirds French-speaking. It joined the Swiss Confederation in 1481 after being enlarged with land ceded from Vaud. A new constitution was adopted in 1857. The town of Fribourg (1990 pop. 36,355), the canton's original settlement and capital, is rich in medieval architecture and picturesquely situated on the Sarine River. It is famous for its chocolate. Other manufactures include machinery, electrical equipment, wood products, beer, and clothing. Founded in 1178 by Berchtold IV, duke of Zähringen, it passed successively to the houses of Kyburg (1218), Hapsburg (1277), and Savoy (1452). Fribourg is an episcopal residence. It has many convents and churches, including the Cathedral of St. Nicholas (13th–14th cent.). The Catholic Univ. was founded in 1889.

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