Switzerland History

Switzerland history is about as interesting as history gets. Like all of the countries in Europe, Switzerland has been home to human activity for more than 100,000 years. Many of the people who inhabited modern-day Switzerland in the early years didn't establish permanent settlements. As far as the first farming settlements are concerned, the earliest known examples date back to around 5300 BC. The first group to identifiably inhabit what is now Switzerland, however, were the Celts, who were moving east at the time. This occurred around 15 BC, which is also when the Roman ruler, Tiberius I, conquered the Alps. The Celts occupied the western part of Switzerland, while the eastern half became part of a Roman province that was named Raetia.

In terms of interesting facts about Switzerland, it is worth noting that the Romans conquered the various tribes that had taken up residence in the country in and around 15 BC. The Roman colonization of Swiss lands would last up until 455 AD, which is when the Barbarians decided to invade. Not long after the Barbarians conquered the Romans, the Christians would move in. During the sixth, seventh, and eighth centuries, the Swiss territory became part of the Frankish Empire. It was none other than Charlemagne who eventually conquered the various cantons in Switzerland, and he did so in 843. The Swiss lands would be divided until 1,000 AD, which is the year that they joined the Holy Roman Empire and became unified.

There aren't a lot of historical attractions that date back to the Roman days in Switzerland, though visitors can visit some interesting ruins that offer insight into early Swiss history. Near the city of Basel, some of the most interesting Roman ruins can be found. This site, which is known as Augusta Raurica, is only about seven miles from the city, and among its highlights are some fascinating ruins and an excellent museum. Two other attractions that offer insight into the storied history of Switzerland are the Grossmunster Cathedral and the Fraumunster Church, both of which can be found in Zurich. These cathedrals have been renovated and partially rebuilt since their creation, though they originally date back to the days when Switzerland was little more than a chess piece in the strategic game of European domination.

Looking at the historical facts about Switzerland, how often this country changed hands starts to stand out. The lands that we know as Switzerland today fell into the hands of the Houses of Savoy and the Hapsburgs, among other ruling factions. By the end of the thirteenth century, however, the seed of independence was sewn. In the year 1291, some of the cantons in Switzerland formed an alliance, which was the impetus for the push towards sovereignty. After breaking from the Holy Roman Empire in 1439, the Perpetual Alliance, as this alliance of cantons was known, signed a treaty with France that proved to cause some significant turmoil within the Swiss borders. In the early sixteenth century, what amounts to a civil war of sorts broke out in Switzerland due to some of the agreements between the alliance and France. One of the more interesting dates in Swiss history is 1516. This was the year that the alliance decided to declare their neutrality. To this day, Switzerland maintains a neutral stance in terms of world affairs. The country has not gone to war since 1815, and interestingly enough, it was one of the last countries to join the United Nations.

Before Switzerland joined the United Nations, it became a center for the Protestant Reformation, which led to numerous wars, such as the Battles of Villmergen, which took place in 1656 and 1712. In 1798, Switzerland was conquered by the French Revolution. The Swiss refused to fight alongside the French troops of Napolean once the Russian and Austrian forces arrived, however, and Swiss autonomy was reestablished shortly thereafter. The Congress of Vienna set the borders of Switzerland as they are known today in the year of 1814. This is one of the more interesting facts about Switzerland. One of the other more interesting years in Swiss history is 1848. This was the year that the country adopted its federal constitution, naming Bern as the capital in the process. The development of the country would begin not long afterward. In the late 1800s, tourism really started to take off in Switzerland, and the rest of the world started taking notice of how beautiful the country is. The Swiss Alps cover most of the country, and they are among the most picturesque mountains in the world.

Switzerland history is full of interesting facts, and one could study it for years if they were so inclined. For travelers, visiting some of the country's historical attractions is one of the best ways to embrace Swiss history. In Bern, two of the more interesting historical attractions include the Zytglogge and the Munster. The former is a medieval clock tower that features moving puppets and a fifteenth-century astronomical clock. As for the Munster, it is a fifteenth-century Gothic cathedral that is noted for its complete main portal, its soaring tower, and its valuable stained-glass windows. Another good way to gain insight into the history of Switzerland is to visit some museums while in the country. The Bern Historical Museum is a good place to learn about the capital, and most of the other cities and towns in the country offers their own history museums. Learning as much as possible about Swiss history before visiting the country is a good idea. It helps travelers better appreciate the attractions, the culture, and the people.

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