This map plots the settings and references in Frankenstein

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The Old Swiss Confederacy

   Modern-day 'Switzerland' was preceded by a loose federation of more or less independent canton states – of which Geneva was one – formed in the late 13th-century by a mixture of German, French, and Italian alpine communities.  The Swiss Alps themselves form the central section of the mountain range, providing the iconic glacial scenery Mary Shelley recorded, both in an account of her European travels and in Frankenstein (See bookmark to page 76).

Despite maintaining international neutrality throughout its history, the Confederacy was temporarily 'liberated' from independence in 1798 by the advancing French Revolutionary armies, which attempted to unite and control its numerous cantons as one nation.  The newly-minted 'Helvetic Republic' was fraught with discord; a battleground for the ensuing wars between France (for whom the Swiss declined to fight) and her enemies, and beset by occasional rebellions against the new regime, it collapsed in 1803.  Napoleon himself intervened to reinstate the federal system, and after his defeat in 1815 Switzerland became something like its old feudal self again, albeit with a new sense of the national unity it might, and ultimately would, possess.

Online edition of 'The Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau', (first published 1782)