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The Alps

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The Alps

The Alps is the name for one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east, through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west. The word "Alps" was taken via French from Latin Alpes (meaning "the Alps"), which may be influenced by the Latin words albus (white) or altus (high) or more likely a Latin rendering of a Celtic or Ligurian original.

The highest mountain in the Alps is Mont Blanc, at 4,808 metres (15,774 ft), on the Italian-French border. All the main peaks of the Alps can be found in the list of mountains of the Alps and list of Alpine peaks by prominence.

The Alps are generally divided into the Western Alps and the Eastern Alps. The division is along the line between Lake Constance and Lake Como, following the Rhine. The Western Alps are higher, but their central chain is shorter and curved; they are located in Italy, France and Switzerland. The Eastern Alps (main ridge system elongated and broad) belong to Austria, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Switzerland. The highest peaks of the Western Alps are Mont Blanc, 4,808 metres (15,774 ft), Mont Blanc de Courmayeur 4,748 metres (15,577 ft), the Dufourspitze 4,634 metres (15,203 ft) and the other summits of the Monte Rosa group, and the Dom, 4,545 metres (14,911 ft). The highest peak in the Eastern Alps is Piz Bernina, 4,049 metres (13,284 ft).

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