The Swiss Alps are the portion of the Alps mountain range that lies within Switzerland. Because of their central position within the entire Alpine range, they are also known as the Central Alps.The highest summit in the Swiss Alps is Monte Rosa near the Swiss-Italian border. The highest mountain which lies entirely on Swiss territory is the Dom . Other main summits can be found in the list of mountains in Switzerland.Since the Middle Ages, transit across the Alps played an important role in history. The region north of the St. Gotthard Pass became the nucleus of the Swiss Confederacy in the early 14th century.The Alps cover 65% of Switzerland's surface area, making it one of the most alpine countries. Despite the fact that Switzerland covers only 14% of the Alps total area,many alpine four-thousanders are located in the Swiss Alps and the remaining few are within 20 km of the country's border.The glaciers of the Swiss Alps cover an area of 1230 km², representing 44% of the total glaciated area in the Alps.The Swiss Alps are situated south of the Swiss plateau and north of the national border. The limit between the Alps and the plateau runs from Vevey on the shores of Lake Geneva to Rorschach on the shores of Lake Constance, passing close to the cities of Thun and Lucerne.The Alps are usually divided into two main parts, the Western Alps and Eastern Alps, whose division is along the Rhine from Lake Constance to the Splügen Pass. The western ranges occupy the greatest part of Switzerland while the more numerous eastern ranges are much smaller and are all situated in the canton of Graubünden. The latter are part of the Central Eastern Alps, except the Ortler Alps which belong to the Southern Limestone Alps. The Pennine, Bernese and Bernina Range are the highest ranges of the country, they contain respectively 38, 9 and 1 summit over 4000 metres. The lowest range is the Appenzell Alps culminating at 2,500 metres.