History of Switzerland
A Brief Timeline for Travelers

Inhabited by the Helvetii in the west and the Rhaetians, in the east.
Romans conquered the region and named Helvetia
4th century AD, the Bourguignons and the Alamanni conquered Helvetia.

The Middle Ages
5th century AD Franks conquered the Alamanni.
6th century AD Bourguignons conqured.
Franks introduced Christianity.
9th century, most of Switzerland became part of the duchy of Alemannia, or Swabia.
1033 the Bourguignon portion was acquired by Holy Roman Emperor Conrad II.

1276 Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf I of the Habsburg dynasty attempted to assert feudal rights in Switzerland
1291 Cantons Unite.
1474 the Habsburgs abandoned their attempts to acquire the region as a family appanage.
1499 Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I attempted to abrogate various Swiss governmental rights; in the ensuing war he was defeated.
September 22, 1499 Treaty of Basel on Maximilian recognizes the virtual independence of the Swiss.
1536 the Bernese Swiss took Lausanne and various territories from the duchy of Savoy.

Protestant Reformation
Started in 1518,by Huldreich Zwingli began to denounce the sale of indulgences
1541 to 1564 Geneva became the stronghold of the Calvinist Protestantism.
1790s the French Revolution spread to Switzerland.
1798 the revolutionaries occupied all Swiss territory.
1803, Napoleon withdrew the occupation troops.
Act of Mediation granted a new constitution.
1815 Congress of Vienna recognized the perpetual neutrality of Switzerland
1847 the Roman Catholic cantons formed a league, the Sonderbund.
Civil war resulted with the Sonderbund.
Federal government, defeated Sonderbund.
1848 increased the federal power.
1874, constitution is still in force.

1863 International Red Cross was established in Switzerland.
1914-1918 League of Nations
1939-1945 Maintaining neutrality and harboring political refugees during World War II
Refused to join the United Nations

Recent History
1995 Became member World Trade Organization (WTO). WTO headquarters are in Geneva.
1948 Switzerland joined the Organization for European Economic Cooperation.
1971 granted women the right to vote
1981 Equal rights amendment to the constitution was approved.
1985 guaranteed women legal equality with men in marriage.
1994 Racial discrimination, racist propaganda, and denial of the German Nazi Holocaust illegal.
1992 Switzerland joined the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Mid-1990s Switzerland relaxes banking secrecy and allow foreign investigators access to bank records.
1995 the Swiss Banking Association consented to search its vaults for unclaimed bank accounts for assets of victims of the Nazi Holocaust.

1996 and early 1997 Switzerland approved commissions to investigate Switzerland's dealings with Germany  in WW II.
January 1997 the Swiss government establish a memorial fund to compensate Holocaust survivors and their relatives. I
February Switzerland's contribute initial $70 million to the fund; the move followed threats by international Jewish groups and institutions in the United States to apply sanctions against Swiss banks.


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