History of Switzerland
Modern Swiss history begins in about 400 when the invading
Germanic tribes took over the lands from Roman control.
In the 500s the Franks took over the region, and in 1032 the Holy Roman Empire took
over, but left most of the country alone until the Hapsburgs gained control and
forced high taxes on the people of the region.
In 1291 the local leaders in modern-day Switzerland
united, signed a pact to never submit to foreign rule or law, and created the Swiss
Confederation. As the Hapsburgs fought to gain the land, the Swiss Confederation
won battles due to their knowledge of the land and a growing sentiment from neighbors,
many of whom joined the confederation over the next couple hundred years until they
gained full independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. Once they grew and
claimed the lands of those wishing to be a part of their confederation, they lost
a battle and claimed neutrality in 1515.
Neutrality in Switzerland, along with their fairly diverse
population (primarily German, French,
and Italian) has saved the country, prevented invasions, and
prevented internal discourse. The people have worked with their fellow Germans,
French, and Italians outside of Switzerland to prevent these foreign nations from
invading. Even with the Reformation, the Counter Reformation, and Napoleon's
French invasion failed to break up the unity. In 1798 Napoleon invaded, but in 1803
he granted them a great deal of autonomy, although not full independence.