ENGELBERG, an Alpine village and valley in central Switzerland, much frequented by visitors in summer and to some extent in winter. It is 14 m. by electric railway from Stansstad, on the Lake of Lucerne, past Stans. The village (3343 ft.) is in a mountain basin, shut in on all sides by lofty mountains (the highest is the Titlis, 10,627 ft. in the south-east), so that it is often hot in summer. It communicates by the Surenen Pass (7563 ft.) with Wassen, on the St Gotthard railway, and by the Joch Pass (7267 ft.) past the favourite summer resort of the Engstlen Alp (6034 ft.), with Meiringen in the Bernese Oberland. The village has clustered round the great Benedictine monastery which gives its name to the valley, from the legend that its site was fixed by angels, so that the spot was named "Mons Angelorum." The monastery was founded about 1120 and still survives, though the buildings date only from the early 18th century. Its library suffered much at the hands of the French in 1798. From 1462 onwards it was under the protectorate of Lucerne, Schwyz, Unterwalden and Uri. In 1798 the abbot lost all his temporal powers, and his domains were annexed to the Obwalden division of Unterwalden, but in 1803 were transferred to the Nidwalden division. However, in 1816, in consequence of the desperate resistance made by the Nidwalden men to the new Federal Pact of 1815, they were punished by the fresh transfer of the valley to Obwalden, part of which it still forms. As the pastures forming the upper portion of the Engelberg valley have for ages belonged to Uri, the actual valley itself is politically isolated between Uri and Nidwalden. The monastery is still directly dependent on the pope. In 1900 the valley had 1973 inhabitants, practically all German-speaking and Romanists.
(W. A. B. C.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)