In Kesslerloch and Schweizerbild, finds have been made from the magdalene age (younger paleolithic): legs with engraved images of horse and reindeer. The finds from the Mesolithic period are less prominent, but during the Neolithic period occurred from about 4,000 BC. several agricultural cultures, whose settlements on the lakes had the character of pile buildings on sandy beaches. The oldest of these cultures is Cortaillod related to French territory. On the other hand, the michelsberg culture in the northern parts is linked to southern German territory, as is the late Neolithic lace ceramic culture. Copper objects came in as early as Neolithic times. The transition to the Bronze Age took place gradually, as evidenced by the studies of the pile building culture. The Bronze Age can also be found in the aunjetitz culture’s settlements and tombs from about 2,000 BC. and in the tombs of the urn field culture.
The Iron Age came with the Hallstatt culture, whose rich prince tombs with wagons, gold and bronze objects show contact over the alpine pass. The Celtic latene culture, after the La Tène site at Lake Neuchâtels, dates from about 450 BC.
When the Romans came into contact with the area, it was inhabited by a significantly heterogeneous population, mainly Celts and dishes. The Celtic Hellies made 58 BC an attempt to emigrate west but was stopped by Caesar in the district of Autun. The western parts of today’s Switzerland were incorporated with the Gallic provinces (later Germania Superior), while the rest was subjugated 15 BC. and was transformed into the province of Raetia. See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Switzerland. The Romans built cities and roads and managed to carry out a fairly far-reaching romanization before the Germanic invasions took off in the 400s AD.
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Before the Covenant of Oaths
In the 400s, Burgundians and Alemans immigrated to the area that now forms Switzerland. In the 500s, most of the area went up in the Frankish Empire, after whose dissolution it eventually fell to the German-Roman Empire (1030s) and came to be characterized by the same feudal structure as this. Various worldly and spiritual masters rivaled territory and influence. Among them, it was the House of Habsburg that purposefully sought to build a closed power zone that would make it possible to master the important trade route through the St. Gotthard Pass between Germany and Italy. The feudal lords, however, faced resistance from free cities and peasant municipalities.
The advent of the oath union
Switzerland’s history in the real sense dates back to 1291, when the three “ancient cantons” Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden founded an “eternal covenant”, later called the Edsförbundet (German Eidgenossenschaft). The unification of the cantons is to be seen in the context of the powerful Habsburg expansion policy pursued by the German king Rudolf I (1273–91) and which was the federation’s main task to destroy in the future. We know little about the details of the covenant’s existence. The traditions of Wilhelm Tell, the bailiff Gessler and the oath of the meadow Rütli have been of great importance as a national mythology but have been shown by the critical research to be late designs with strong elements of migratory blessings. The continued resistance to Habsburg required military strength and firm cohesion. The Swiss developed an original, effective martial art built on tightly enclosed squares of spear- and hillebard-armed peasant soldiers. This enabled them to conquer Habsburg knights’ armies in the battles at Morgarten (1315) and Sempach (1386). After the victory at Morgarten, the oath union was confirmed and then expanded rapidly by the increase of more cities and cantons, so that at the end of the Middle Ages it included 13 cantons (Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Lucerne, Zurich, Glarus, Zug, Bern, Friborg, Solothurn, Basel, Schaffhausen and Appenzell). In addition, there were a number of allies, so-calledzugewandte Orte, including Geneva, as well as subordinate areas managed by the cantons together or individually. Common affairs were dealt with on a Bundestag (Tagsatzung). Incidentally, the cantons’ own constitutions and legal practices applied, which usually anchored the power of an aristocratic leadership in the urban and rural areas. Since in practice the connection with the German-Roman Empire was dissolved by a peace with Emperor Maximilian I in Basel in 1499 – formally the liberation took place in the Westphalian Peace in 1648 – the oath union, now known as Switzerland, was a republican state formation in a feudal environment.
The greatness of the oath
During the Middle Ages, Switzerland was at the height of its military and political reputation and, in awareness of its strength, embarked on an active foreign policy. By unexpected victories over Karl the Bold of Burgundy at Grandson and Murten in 1476, the Swiss peasant army contributed to his fall. The Confederation’s attempt to intervene in the Great Powers’ struggle for Italy in the 1510s led to the conquest of the current Italian-speaking Switzerland, the canton of Ticino. However, after a defeat against the French at Marignano (south-east of Milan) in 1515, a peace was struck which, for a long time, transformed Switzerland from France’s opponents to its allies. The agreement included that France should have the right to make acquisitions among the Swiss, whose combat characteristics were high in the course of the international soldier market (compareSwiss Guard). Especially for the people in the forest cantons, these ” Dienste ” became a significant addition to the always insufficient basic industries of agriculture and livestock.
Reformation and counter-reformation
Switzerland early became a center for church-critical currents. Erasmus of Rotterdam appeared for a time in Basel, and in Zurich Zwingli in the 1520s carried out the Reformation in a more radical form than Luther, thus laying the foundation for the Reformation movement’s division into Lutherans and reformers. In the footsteps of Zurich, most of the market towns followed, while the more conservative forest cantons held to the Catholic faith. The religious conflict led to two civil wars in 1529 and 1531. The latter was settled in the Battle of Kappel, where Zwingli fell, and ended with a peace of peace which gave the cantons the right to organize the church questions at their discretion. Switzerland continued to be a religiously divided country. On the Protestant side, after a few years, the leadership was taken over by Frenchman Calvin, who, from 1536, sought to turn Geneva into a Christian pattern society and in any case succeeded in making the city a source of inspiration for the whole Reformed Christianity. The Counter-Reformation also gained entry in Switzerland and led in 1586 to the formation of the so-called Golden League (from the 1655 Borromeian League) between the Catholic cantons. The confessional disintegration persisted and led to armed conflicts repeatedly. Apart from the Graubünden in the south-east, which was strongly confessionally fragmented and also an attractive transit area for Spaniards and Austrians, however, the Federation managed to avoid being drawn into the thirty-year war. On the contrary, just during this war, the basis for the characteristic neutrality policy of Switzerland later on was laid. The Golden Covenant (from the 1655 Borromeian Covenant) between the Catholic cantons. The confessional disintegration persisted and led to armed conflicts repeatedly. Apart from the Graubünden in the south-east, which was highly confessionally fragmented and also an attractive penetration area for Spaniards and Austrians, however, the Federation managed to avoid being drawn into the thirty-year war. On the contrary, just during this war, the basis for the characteristic neutrality policy of Switzerland later on was laid. The Golden Covenant (from the 1655 Borromeian Covenant) between the Catholic cantons. The confessional disintegration persisted and led to armed conflicts repeatedly. Apart from the Graubünden in the south-east, which was strongly confessionally fragmented and also an attractive transit area for Spaniards and Austrians, however, the Federation managed to avoid being drawn into the thirty-year war. On the contrary, just during this war, the basis for the characteristic neutrality policy of Switzerland later on was laid. however, the Alliance managed to avoid being drawn into the Thirty Years War. On the contrary, just during this war, the basis for the characteristic neutrality policy of Switzerland later on was laid. however, the Alliance managed to avoid being drawn into the Thirty Years War. On the contrary, just during this war, the basis for the characteristic neutrality policy of Switzerland later on was laid.
18th century and the Napoleonic period
During the 18th century, the winds of change blew through Switzerland in the economic, social, cultural and finally also in the political field. An early industrialization in the form of the home industry (textiles in central and eastern Switzerland, jewelery and watches in western Switzerland) opened for the homeless rural population other means of existence other than emigration and the acquisition of soldiers. At the same time, social contradictions arose between the cities’ traditional merchant elites and new strata of business, which felt hampered by prevailing economic regulations. Demands for spiritual freedom also increased. The Enlightenment thought gained early, not least in the Reformed priesthood, which largely abandoned the Calvinist orthodoxy. Switzerland also made independent contributions to the information culture with names such as Albrecht von Haller, Pestalozzi and Rousseau.The Helvetian Republic with a constitution similar to the French directorial constitution of 1795. Struggles between liberal centralists and conservative federalists led Bonaparte to intervene again and by means of the so-called mediation act 1803 to reestablish the union in some changed form. Incidentally, Switzerland was organized into the Napoleonic sphere of power, had to submit to the continental system and contribute a considerable helping force to Napoleon’s Russian campaign.
Restoration and management reform
The Vienna Congress of 1814-15 recognized Switzerland’s independence and placed its neutrality under the guarantee of the great powers. A new constitution of 1815 emphasized the independence of the cantons, which in practice meant that the former power elites mastered the political scene. As progressive industrialization progressed, however, a liberal opposition emerged with democratization, anti-clericalism and centralization of the program, the latter a prerequisite for the economically fragmented country of tariff boundaries and various metric, weight and currency systems to become internationally competitive. The contradictions between conservative federalists and liberal centralists culminated in a brief civil war in 1847, after some conservative and Catholic cantons formed a special federation (Sonderbund). Without much bloodshed, the liberal side departed with the victory, thereby creating conditions for a constitutional reform in their minds. By the Constitution of 1848, which, after a revision in 1874, still applies in essence, Switzerland was transformed from a state federation to a federal state. However, no complete centralization was sought, and important decision areas remained under the cantons. See also State Condition and Politics above.
Neutral democracy in the era of imperialism
In the next century after 1848, the internal development of rapidly progressing industrialization was characterized by concentration in urban areas such as Zurich, Basel, St. Gallen and Geneva. New industrial sectors grew strongly: machine manufacturing, the food industry and the chemical industry. A key role in the growth process was the railway construction (Sankt Gotthards and Simplont tunnels 1882 and 1906 respectively).
Switzerland’s growing popularity as a tourist country provided new opportunities for living, especially for the people of the Alpine regions. Politics was dominated at the federal level until 1919 by the victories of 1848, the centrist and anti-clerical-minded liberal party. In some cantons, however, a Catholic Conservative Party could assert itself, and from the 1890s, when the old contradictions began to fade, it was also represented in the Federal Council (government). The rapprochement between the two parties took place against the background of the threat that the collective bourgeoisie experienced from a rapidly growing and sometimes combative labor movement.
In spite of great social democratic electoral success, the bourgeois hegemony could thus be preserved until 1943, when a Social Democrat took his place in the Federal Council for the first time. Foreign policy, despite significant difficulties, especially during World War II, has consistently guarded neutrality and has been very restrictive in dressing up international obligations that could jeopardize this.
Following the accession of Austria to Germany in March 1938, the Swiss government sought to limit the flow of refugees, especially the Jewish people, to Switzerland. When Germany defeated and occupied a number of countries in northern and western Europe, a German invasion was feared in Switzerland. To appease the German rulers, the refugees were put in camp, and French refugees were no longer accepted. In 1941, by contrast, the rules were less stringent for refugees from Belgium and the Netherlands, but the policy was tightened again after the German army entered southern France in 1942. Between 1943 and 1945 the rules became more liberal, and refugees from Italy, Jews from Bergen-Belsen and deserters from countries bordering on Switzerland fled to the country. A total of 300,000 refugees came to Switzerland in 1933–45; 30,000 of them were Jews.
During World War II, Swiss bankers worked closely with many Germans, who deposited stolen assets from, in particular, Jews who were murdered. After the war, most of these assets remained in Switzerland, as well as money such as thousands of Jews who had gone through the Holocaust deposited in Swiss banks. Following international pressure, a study was launched in Switzerland in the late 1990s to clarify these bank assets.
During both the Cold War and the subsequent period, Switzerland has continued to safeguard its exclusion in relation to the international community, both regionally and globally. Over the past decade, the country’s political stability has been under pressure. The revelation that Switzerland’s central bank during the Second World War bought stolen Jewish gold from Germany has led to self-examination, re-evaluation of the country’s historical writing and the establishment of funds for the Holocaust victims. At the same time, the country’s traditional isolationism faces the ongoing integration into Europe.
Distinction to the EU and foreign distrust were two of the issues that made the right-wing populist party Schweizerische Volkspartei (SVP) one of the largest parties in Switzerland in 1999. SVP’s success also meant that it had questioned the informal and stable so-called magic model for several decades. The model is based on the country’s established parties forming a permanent coalition government to secure the balance between the regions and the various language groups.