Lucerne is a city in central Switzerland, in the German-speaking portion of the country. Lucerne is the capital of the canton of Lucerne and part of the district of the same name. With a population of about 81,057 people, Lucerne is the most populous town in Central Switzerland, and a nexus of economics, transportation and media of this region. The citys urban area consists of 17 municipalities and towns located in three different cantons with a population of about 250,000 people. Owing to its location on the shores of Lake Lucerne and its outflow, one of the citys famous landmarks is the Chapel Bridge, a wooden bridge first erected in the 14th century. The official language of Lucerne is German, but the spoken language is the local variant of the Alemannic Swiss German dialect. After the fall of the Roman Empire beginning in the 6th century, in 1178 Lucerne acquired its independence from the jurisdiction of Murbach Abbey, and the founding of the city proper probably occurred that same year.
The city gained importance as a strategically located gateway for the commerce from the Gotthard trade route. By 1290 Lucerne had become a self-sufficient city of size with about 3000 inhabitants. About this time King Rudolph I von Habsburg gained authority over the Monastery of St. Leodegar and its lands, the populace was not content with the increasing Habsburg influence, and Lucerne allied with neighboring towns to seek independence from their rule. Along with Lucerne, the three other forest cantons of Uri and Unterwalden formed the eternal Swiss Confederacy, known as the Eidgenossenschaft, the cities of Zürich and Bern joined the alliance. With the help of these additions, the rule of Austria over the area came to an end, the issue was settled by Lucerne’s victory over the Habsburgs in the Battle of Sempach in 1386. For Lucerne this victory ignited an era of expansion, the city shortly granted many rights to itself, rights which had been withheld by the Habsburgs until then. By this time the borders of Lucerne were approximately those of today, in 1415 Lucerne gained Reichsfreiheit from Emperor Sigismund and became a strong member of the Swiss confederacy.
The city developed its infrastructure, raised taxes, and appointed its own local officials, the city’s population of 3000 dropped about 40% due to the Black Plague and several wars around 1350. In 1419 town records show the first witch trial against a male person, among the growing towns of the confederacy, Lucerne was especially popular in attracting new residents. As the confederacy broke up during Reformation after 1520, most cities became Protestant, after the victory of the Catholics over the Protestants in the Battle at Kappel in 1531, the Catholic towns dominated the confederacy. The future, belonged to the Protestant cities like Zürich and Basel, the former prominent position of Lucerne in the confederacy was lost forever
Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a federal republic in Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in western-Central Europe, and is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning an area of 41,285 km2. The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation, it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815, nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to international organisations.
On the European level, it is a member of the European Free Trade Association. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties, spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions, French and Romansh. Due to its diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names, Suisse, Svizzera. On coins and stamps, Latin is used instead of the four living languages, Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product according to the IMF. Zürich and Geneva have each been ranked among the top cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with the former ranked second globally, according to Mercer. The English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, a term for the Swiss. The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse, in use since the 16th century.
The name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, the Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for Confederates, used since the 14th century. The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from Latin Confoederatio Helvetica. The toponym Schwyz itself was first attested in 972, as Old High German Suittes, ultimately related to swedan ‘to burn’
Old Swiss Confederacy
The Old Swiss Confederacy was a precursor of the modern state of Switzerland. It was a confederation of independent small states which formed during the 14th century. From a nucleus in what is now Central Switzerland, the confederacy expanded to include the cities of Zurich and this formed a rare union of rural and urban communes, all of which enjoyed imperial immediacy in the Holy Roman Empire. Its success resulted in the addition of more confederates, increasing the number of cantons to thirteen by 1513, the confederacy pledged neutrality in 1515 and 1647, although many Swiss served privately as mercenaries in the Italian Wars and during the Early Modern period. After the Swabian War of 1499 the confederacy was a de facto independent state throughout the modern period. The Swiss Confederacy fell to invasion by the French Revolutionary Army in 1798, the adjective “old” was introduced after the Napoleonic era with Ancien Régime, retronyms distinguishing the pre-Napoleonic from the restored confederation.
During its existence the confederacy was known as Eidgenossenschaft or Eydtgnoschafft, in reference to treaties among cantons, territories of the confederacy came to be known collectively as Schweiz or Schweizerland, with the English Switzerland beginning during the mid-16th century. From that time the Confederacy was seen as a single state, the foundation of the Confederacy is marked by the Rütlischwur or the 1315 Pact of Brunnen. Since 1889, the Federal Charter of 1291 among the communes of Uri, Schwyz. The initial pact was augmented by pacts with the cities of Lucerne, Zürich, in several battles with Habsburg armies, the Swiss were victorious, they conquered the rural areas of Glarus and Zug, which became members of the confederacy. From 1353 to 1481, the federation of eight cantons—known in German as the Acht Orte —consolidated its position, the members enlarged their territory at the expense of local counts—primarily by buying judicial rights, but sometimes by force. The Eidgenossenschaft, as a whole, expanded through military conquest, the Aargau was conquered in 1415, in both cases, the Swiss profited from weakness in the Habsburg dukes.
In the south, Uri led a military territorial expansion that would by 1515 lead to the conquest of the Ticino, none of these territories became members of the confederacy, they had the status of condominiums. At this time, the eight cantons gradually increased their influence on neighbouring cities, individual cantons concluded pacts with Fribourg, Schaffhausen, the abbot and the city of St. Gallen, Rottweil and others. These allies became closely associated with the confederacy, but were not accepted as full members, the Burgundy Wars prompted a further enlargement of the confederacy and Solothurn were accepted in 1481. In the Swabian War against Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, the Swiss were victorious, the associated cities of Basel and Schaffhausen joined the confederacy as a result of that conflict, and Appenzell followed suit in 1513 as the thirteenth member. The federation of thirteen cantons constituted the Old Swiss Confederacy until its demise in 1798, the expansion of the confederacy was stopped by the Swiss defeat in the 1515 Battle of Marignano.
Only Berne and Fribourg were still able to conquer the Vaud in 1536, the Reformation in Switzerland led to doctrinal division amongst the cantons
Reformation in Switzerland
The Protestant Reformation in Switzerland was promoted initially by Huldrych Zwingli, who gained the support of the magistrate and population of Zürich in the 1520s. It led to significant changes in life and state matters in Zürich. Seven cantons remained Roman Catholic, which led to inter-cantonal wars known as the Wars of Kappel, after the victory of the Catholic cantons in 1531, they proceeded to institute counter-reformatory policies in some regions. The schism and distrust between Catholic and Protestant cantons would define their interior politics and paralyse any common foreign policy well into the 18th century. Despite their religious differences, and despite an exclusively Catholic defence alliance of the seven Catholic cantons, soldiers from both sides fought in the French Wars of Religion. The Three Leagues of the Grisons, at that time not yet a member of the confederacy, were involved in the war from 1620 on, after the violent conflicts of the late 15th century the Swiss cantons had had a generation of relative political stability.
As part of their struggle for independence, they had already in the 15th century sought to limit the influence of the Church on their political sovereignty. Many monasteries had already come under secular supervision, and the administration of schools was in the hands of the cantons, many of the problems of the Church existed in the Swiss Confederacy. Many priests were educated, and spiritual Church doctrines were often disregarded. Many priests did not live in celibacy but in concubinage, the new reformatory ideas thus fell on fertile ground. The main proponent of the Reformation in Switzerland was Ulrich Zwingli and his own studies, in the renaissance humanist tradition, had led him to preach against injustices and hierarchies in the Church already in 1516 while he was still a priest in Einsiedeln. When he was called to Zürich, he expanded his criticism onto political topics and his ideas were received favourably, especially by entrepreneurs and the guilds. The first disputation of Zürich of 1523 was the breakthrough, the city decided to implement his reformatory plans.
In the following two years, profound changes took place in Zürich, priests were relieved from celibacy, the opulent decorations in the churches were thrown out. The state assumed the administration of Church properties, financing the social works, the last abbess of the Fraumünster, Katharina von Zimmern, turned over the convent including all of its rights and possessions to the city authorities on 30 November 1524. She even married the next year, over the next few years, the cities of St. Gallen, Basel, Bienne and finally Bern all followed the example set by Zürich. Their subject territories were converted to Protestantism by decree, in Basel, reformer Johannes Oecolampadius was active, in St. Gallen, the Reformation was adopted by mayor Joachim Vadian. In Glarus, and in the Grisons, which all three had a more structure, individual communes decided for or against the Reformation
Second Battle of Zurich
The Second Battle of Zurich was a key victory by the Republican French army in Switzerland led by André Masséna over an Austrian and Russian force commanded by Alexander Korsakov near Zurich. It broke the stalemate that had resulted from the First Battle of Zurich three months earlier and led to the withdrawal of Russia from the Second Coalition. Most of the fighting took place on both banks of the river Limmat up to the gates of Zurich, and within the city itself, after the First Battle of Zurich Masséna had consolidated to a defensive line behind the lower reaches of the Aare River. At this time his army in Switzerland consisted of around 77,000 combatants, positioned as, 1st Division in the Upper Valais. 2nd Division in the St Gotthard and the valley of the Reuss, 3rd Division Right wing near Glarus, centre on the left bank of the Linth, the left near Adliswil on the Sihl. 5th Division on the bank of the Limmat between Altstetten and Baden. 6th Division from Baden to the confluence of the Aare with the Rhine, 7th Division formed the Reserve in the Frick-thal.
Masséna meanwhile was preparing an offensive on his right flank against the Austrian positions in the Alps. On 15 and 16 August General Claude Lecourbe with 12,000 men drove the forces of Strauch and Simbschen from the St. Gotthard, Furka, as a distraction, on 14 August French forces under Soult made demonstrations across the Sihl below Zurich. Reluctantly following these instructions, he left behind a column of 29,000 men under Friedrich von Hotze, and Korsakovs command with the Swiss in the Austrian service. The plan for these two commands was to wait for the arrival of the Russian column of Suvorov penetrating north from Italy over the Alpine passes, on 28 August the bulk of the troops of Archduke Charles departed Switzerland. - A company, you mean, said Korsakoff - No, replied the Archduke, - I understand you, rejoined the other, an Austrian battalion, or a Russian company At the end of August the Allied army stood as follows. Korsakov with 33,000 men around Zurich and the Lower Limmat, distributed as, Division Lieutenant-General Gorchakov, Brigades of General-Major Tuchkov, along the right banks of the Limmat from Baden to the Rhine.
The cavalry and cossacks under Major-General Gudovich were distributed on the Rhine along the line of the road from Zurich to Baden, Reserve Division Lieutenant-General Sacken,5,700 men initially in a camp at Regensdorf, along the north bank of Lake Zurich connecting to Hotze. Nauendorf, with 5,400 Austrians, on the bank of the Rhine between Waldshut and Basel. Hotze with 25,000 Austrians, including 3,000 Swiss, Suvorov with 28,000 Russians on the march from Italy through the Alps. The departure of Archduke Charles gave the French a momentary superiority in numbers, Masséna was determined to exploit this and his aim was to beat Korsakov and Hotze before any intervention by Suvorov. On 30 August he attempted to cross the Aare and push back the enemy before Zurich and this river crossing was unsuccessful, and Masséna now planned a crossing near Dietikon with a subsequent attack on Korsakov in Zurich
History of Switzerland
The early history of the region is tied to that of Alpine culture. Switzerland was inhabited by Gauls and Raetians, and it came under Roman rule in the 1st century BC, gallo-Roman culture was amalgamated with Germanic influence during Late Antiquity, with the eastern part of Switzerland becoming Alemannic territory. The area of Switzerland was incorporated into the Frankish Empire in the 6th century, in the high medieval period, the eastern part became part of the Duchy of Swabia within the Holy Roman Empire while the western part was part of Burgundy. The Swiss Reformation divided the Confederacy and resulted in a history of internal strife between the Thirteen Cantons in the Early Modern period. In the wake of the French Revolution, Switzerland fell to a French invasion in 1798 and was reformed into the Helvetic Republic, the history of Switzerland since 1848 has been largely one of success and prosperity. Archeological evidence suggests that hunter-gatherers were already settled in the north of the Alps in the Middle Paleolithic period 150,000 years ago.
By the Neolithic period, the area was densely populated. Remains of Bronze Age pile dwellings from as early as 3800 BC have been found in the areas of many lakes. Around 1500 BC, Celtic tribes settled in the area, the Raetians lived in the eastern regions, while the west was occupied by the Helvetii. In 58 BC, the Helvetii tried to evade migratory pressure from Germanic tribes by moving into Gaul, the alpine region became integrated into the Roman Empire and was extensively romanized in the course of the following centuries. The center of Roman administration was at Aventicum, in 259, Alamanni tribes overran the Limes, putting the settlements on Swiss territory on the frontier of the Roman Empire. The first Christian bishoprics were founded in the fourth century, with the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Germanic tribes entered the area. Burgundians settled in the west, while in the north, Alamanni settlers slowly forced the earlier Celto-Roman population to retreat into the mountains, Burgundy became a part of the kingdom of the Franks in 534, two years later, the dukedom of the Alamans followed suit.
In the Alaman-controlled region, only isolated Christian communities continued to exist, under the Carolingian kings, the feudal system proliferated, and monasteries and bishoprics were important bases for maintaining the rule. The Treaty of Verdun of 843 assigned Upper Burgundy to Lotharingia, in the 10th century, as the rule of the Carolingians waned, Magyars destroyed Basel in 917 and St. Gallen in 926. Only after the victory of King Otto I over the Magyars in 955 in the Battle of Lechfeld, were the Swiss territories reintegrated into the empire. In the 12th century, the dukes of Zähringen were given authority over part of the Burgundy territories which covered the part of modern Switzerland. They founded many cities, including Fribourg in 1157, and Bern in 1191, under the Hohenstaufen rule, the alpine passes in Raetia and the St Gotthard Pass gained importance
Politics of Switzerland
Switzerland is a democratic federal republic. The federal legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the Federal Assembly, the National Council and the Council of States, the Federal Council holds the executive power and is composed by seven power-sharing Federal Councillors elected by the Federal Assembly. The judiciary branch is represented by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, Switzerland has a tradition of direct democracy. For any change in the constitution, a referendum is mandatory, for any change in a law, in addition, the people may present a constitutional popular initiative to introduce amendments to the federal constitution. The people assumes a similar to the constitutional court, which does not exist. Cantonal and municipal politics vary in the different cantons, which may have different systems, Switzerland features a system of government not seen in any other nation direct representation, sometimes called half-direct democracy. Referenda on the most important laws have used since the 1848 constitution.
Any citizen may challenge a law that has passed by parliament. Also, any citizen may seek a decision on an amendment they want to make to the constitution, for such a federal popular initiative to be organised, the signatures of 100,000 voters must be collected within 18 months. Such a federal popular initiative is formulated as a new text whose wording can no longer be changed by parliament. After a successful signature gathering, the council may create a counterproposal to the proposed amendment. Such counter-proposals are usually a compromise between the status quo and the wording of the initiative, voters will decide in a national vote whether to accept the initiative amendment, the counter proposal put forward by the government if any, or both. If both are accepted, one has to additionally signal a preference, the Swiss Federal Council is a seven-member executive council that heads the federal administration, operating as a combination cabinet and collective presidency. Any Swiss citizen eligible to be a member of the National Council can be elected, candidates do not have to register for the election, the Federal Council is elected by the Federal Assembly for a four-year term.
Present members are, Doris Leuthard, Guy Parmelin, Ueli Maurer, Didier Burkhalter, Simonetta Sommaruga, Johann Schneider-Ammann and Alain Berset. The largely ceremonial President and Vice President of the Confederation are elected by the Federal Assembly from among the members of the Federal Council for one-year terms that run concurrently. The President has almost no powers over and above his or her six colleagues, the current President and Vice President are Doris Leuthard and Alain Berset, respectively. The Swiss executive is one of the most stable governments worldwide, since 1848, it has never been renewed entirely at the same time, providing a long-term continuity
Growth of the Old Swiss Confederacy
In the late Middle Ages, this region belonged to the Holy Roman Empire, and because of its strategic importance, the Hohenstaufen emperors had granted it reichsfrei status in the early 13th century. As reichsfrei regions, the cantons of Uri and Unterwalden were under the authority of the emperor without any intermediate liege lords. By 1460, the confederates controlled most of the south and west of the Rhine to the Alps. During their involvement in the Italian Wars, the Swiss brought the Ticino under their control, neither federation was part of the medieval Eidgenossenschaft but both maintained very close connections with it. Gotthard under their control, the latter because most of its territory belonged to reichsfrei monasteries. The cities of Bern and Zürich had become reichsfrei when the dynasty of their patrons, when Rudolph I of Habsburg was elected King of the Germans in 1273, he became the direct liege lord of these reichsfrei regions. He instituted a rule and raised the taxes to finance wars.
When he died in 1291, his son Albert I got involved in a struggle with Adolf of Nassau for the German throne. Anti-Habsburg insurgences sprung up in Swabia and Austria, but were quashed quickly by Albert in 1292, Zürich had participated in this uprising. Albert besieged the city, which had to him as its patron. This time of turmoil prompted the Waldstätten to cooperate more closely, the first alliance started in 1291 when Rudolph bought all the rights over the town of Lucerne and the abbey estates in Unterwalden from Murbach Abbey in Alsace. The Waldstätten saw their trade route over Lake Lucerne cut off, when Rudolph died on July 15,1291 the Communities prepared to defend themselves. On August 1,1291 an Everlasting League was made between the Forest Communities for mutual defense against a common enemy. The Federal Charter of 1291 is one of the oldest surviving document of an alliance between Uri and Unterwalden, the founding cantons of the Old Swiss Confederacy. It is possible that it was written a few decades than the date of 1291.
The traditional date given for the foundation of the Swiss Confederacy in Swiss historiography of the 16th century is 1307, even Unterwalden was finally properly granted this status by Alberts successor Henry VII in 1309. This did not prevent the dukes of Habsburg, who originally had had their homelands in the Aargau, the three cantons renewed their alliance in the pact of Brunnen, and Louis IV reconfirmed their Reichsfreiheit. Subsequently, the three followed a slow policy of expansion
First Battle of Zurich
The Helvetic Republic in 1798 became a battlefield of the French Revolutionary Wars. During the summer, Russian troops under general Korsakov replaced the Austrian troops, and in the Second Battle of Zurich, the French regained control of the city, along with the rest of Switzerland. Initially, the rulers of Europe viewed the revolution in France as an event between the French king and his subjects, and not something in which they should interfere, the French position became increasingly difficult. Compounding problems in relations, French émigrés continued to agitate for support of a counter-revolution. On 20 April 1792, the French National Convention declared war on Austria, in this War of the First Coalition, France ranged itself against most of the European states sharing land or water borders with her, plus Portugal and the Ottoman Empire. The treaty called for meetings between the parties to work out the exact territorial and remunerative details. Convened at a town in the mid-Rhineland, the Congress quickly derailed in a mire of intrigue.
The Austrians were reluctant to cede the designated territories, compounding the Congresss problems, tensions grew between France and most of the First Coalition allies. Ferdinand of Naples refused to pay tribute to France. The French invaded Naples and established the Parthenopaean Republic, encouraged by the French Republic, a republican uprising in the Swiss cantons led to the overthrow of the Swiss Confederation and the establishment of the Helvetic Republic. The French Directory was convinced that the Austrians were planning to start another war, the weaker France seemed, the more seriously the Austrians, the Neapolitans, the Russians, and the English discussed this possibility. In mid-spring, the Austrians reached an agreement with Tsar Paul of Russia by which the legendary Alexander Suvorov would come out of retirement to assist Austria in Italy with another 60,000 troops. The French Directorys military strategy in 1799 called for offensive campaigns on all fronts, central Italy, northern Italy, the Swiss cantons, the upper Rhineland, and Holland.
Theoretically, the French had a force of 250,000 troops. As winter broke in 1799, General Jean Baptiste Jourdan and the Army of the Danube, at a strength of 50,000. This crossing officially violated the Treaty of Campo Formio, the Army of the Danube advanced through the Black Forest and, by mid-March, established an offensive position at the western and northern edge of the Swiss Plateau by the village of Ostrach. André Masséna had already pushed into Switzerland with his force of 30,000, and successfully passed into the Grison Alps and Finstermünz on the Inn river. Theoretically, his flank was to link with Jourdans right flank, commanded by Pierre Marie Barthélemy Ferino
The Helvetii were a Gallic tribe or tribal confederation occupying most of the Swiss plateau at the time of their contact with the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC. According to Julius Caesar, the Helvetians were divided into four subgroups or pagi, of these Caesar only names the Verbigeni and the Tigurini, while Posidonius mentions the Tigurini and the Tougeni. They feature prominently in the Commentaries on the Gallic War, with their failed attempt to southwestern Gaul serving as a catalyst for Caesars conquest of Gaul. The endonym Helvetii is mostly derived from a Gaulish elu-, meaning gain, prosperity or mulititude, cognate with Welsh elw and Old Irish prefix il-, meaning many or multiple. The second part of the name has sometimes been interpreted as *etu-, grassland, the earliest attestation of the name is found in a graffito on a vessel from Mantua, dated to c.300 BC. The inscription in Etruscan letters reads eluveitie, which has interpreted as the Etruscan form of the Celtic elu̯eti̯os.
The name of the personification of Switzerland, Helvetia. The star 51 Pegasi was named Helvetios after them and this was the first main-sequence star found to have an exoplanet orbiting it. Of the four Helvetian pagi or sub-tribes, Caesar names only the Verbigeni and the Tigurini, Posidonius the Tigurini, there has been substantial debate in Swiss historiography on whether the Tougeni may or may not be identified with the Teutones mentioned by Titus Livius. According to Caesar, the territory abandoned by the Helvetii had comprised 400 villages and 12 oppida and his tally of the total population taken from captured Helvetian records written in Greek is 263,000 people, including fighting men, old men and children. However, the figures are generally dismissed as too high by modern scholars, like many other tribes, the Helvetii did not have kings at the time of their clash with Rome but instead seem to have been governed by a class of noblemen. When Orgetorix, one of their most prominent and ambitious noblemen, was making plans to himself as their king.
Caesar does not explicitly name the tribal authorities prosecuting the case and gathering men to apprehend Orgetorix, in his Natural History, Pliny provides a foundation myth for the Celtic settlement of Cisalpine Gaul in which a Helvetian named Helico plays the role of culture hero. The Greek historian Posidonius, whose work is preserved only in fragments by other writers, offers the earliest historical record of the Helvetii. Posidonius described the Helvetians of the late 2nd century BC as rich in gold but peaceful and that the Helvetians originally lived in southern Germany is confirmed by the Alexandrian geographer Claudius Ptolemaios, who tells us of an Ἐλουητίων ἔρημος north of the Rhine. Tacitus knows that the Helvetians once settled in the swath between Rhine and the Hercynian forest, at the Vicus Turicum, probably in the first 1st century BC or even much earlier, the Celts settled at the Lindenhof Oppidium. In 1890, so-called Potin lumps were found, whose largest weights 59.2 kilograms at the Prehistoric pile dwelling settlement Alpenquai in Zürich, the pieces consist of a large number of fused Celtic coins, which are mixed with charcoal remnants.
Some of the 18,000 coins originate from the Eastern Gaul, others are of the Zürich type, that were assigned to the local Helvetii, which date to around 100 BC
Aarau is a town, a municipality, and the capital of the northern Swiss canton of Aargau. The town is the capital of the district of Aarau and it is German-speaking and predominantly Protestant. The municipality borders directly on the canton of Solothurn to the west and it is the second-largest town in Aargau after Wettingen. At the beginning of 2010 Rohr became a suburb of Aarau, the official language of Aarau is Swiss Standard German, but the main spoken language is the local variant of the Alemannic Swiss German dialect. The old city of Aarau is situated on an outcrop at a narrowing of the Aare river valley. Newer districts of the city lie to the south and east of the outcrop, as well as higher up the mountain, and in the valley on both sides of the Aare. The neighboring municipalities are Küttigen to the north and Buchs to the east, Suhr to the south-east, Unterentfelden to the south and the nearby neighboring municipalities have grown together and now form an interconnected agglomeration.
The only exception is Unterentfelden whose settlements are divided from Aarau by the forests of Gönhard. Approximately nine-tenths of the city is south of the Aar, and it has an area, as of 2006, of 8.9 km2. Of this area,6. 3% is used for agricultural purposes, of the rest of the land,55. 2% is settled and the remainder is non-productive. The lowest elevation,365 meters, is found at the banks of the Aar, a few artifacts from the Neolithic period were found in Aarau. Near the location of the present train station, the ruins of a settlement from the Bronze Age have been excavated, the Roman road between Salodurum and Vindonissa passed through the area, along the route now covered by the Bahnhofstrasse. In 1976 divers in the Aare found part of a wide wooden bridge from the late Roman times. Aarau was founded around AD1240 by the counts of Kyburg, Aarau is first mentioned in 1248 as Arowe. Around 1250 it was mentioned as Arowa, however the first mention of a city sized settlement was in 1256. The town was ruled from the Rore tower, which has incorporated into the modern city hall.
In 1273 the counts of Kyburg died out, agnes of Kyburg, who had no male relations, sold the familys lands to King Rudolf I von Habsburg. He granted Aarau its city rights in 1283, in the 14th century the city was expanded in two stages, and a second defensive wall was constructed
Switzerland in the Roman era
Roman control weakened after 401 AD, but did not entirely disappear until the mid-5th century after which the area began to be occupied by Germanic peoples. South of the Swiss plateau were the Nantuates and Veragri in the Valais, the first part of what is now Switzerland to fall to Rome was the southern Ticino, annexed after the Roman victory over the Insubres in 222 BC. The territory of the Allobroges around Geneva came under Roman sway by 121 BC and was incorporated into the province of Gallia Narbonensis prior to the Gallic Wars. In around 110 BC, two Helvetic tribes under Divico – the Tigurini and the Tougeni, sometimes identified with the Teutons – joined the wandering Germanic Cimbri on a march to the West. In 61 BC, the Helvetii, led by Orgetorix, decided to leave their lands and move to the West, burning their settlements behind them – twelve oppida, according to Caesar and they were decisively beaten by Caesar in the Battle of Bibracte in 58 BC. After their surrender, Caesar sent the Helvetii home, according them the status of foederati or Roman allies, caesars policy aimed at controlling the territory west of the Jura and Rhine, as well as at blocking the potential incursion routes from the East along the Jura.
The Raetians, described as warriors by Strabo, continued to launch incursions into the Swiss Plateau. Caesars attempt to open the Great St Bernard Pass for Roman traffic failed in 57 BC due to opposition by the local Veragri. In 25 BC, an army under Aulus Terentius Varro Murena wiped out the Salassi in the Aosta Valley and that conquest was a consequence of the Augustan imperative of securing the Imperial borders. To effectively control the Alps as the shield of northern Italy, thus it had to extend its power to the Rhine and Danube, thereby opening a direct route to Germania and all of Central Europe. The last obstacle in this path were the Raetians, the tropaeum alpium, built by Augustus in 7 BC to celebrate his conquest of the Alps, lists among the defeated peoples the tribes of Raetia and of the Valais, but not the Helvetii. It appears that they were absorbed peacefully into the Empire during the first century AD, except for their part in the conflicts of the Year of the Four Emperors, AD69.
The history of Switzerland under Roman rule was, from the Augustan period up until 260 AD, the Pax Romana was made possible by the protection of well-defended and distant Imperial borders and a peaceful and smooth Romanization of the local population. The Romans urbanized the territory with numerous settlements and built a network of high-quality Roman roads connecting them, allowing for the integration of Helvetia into the imperial economy. While the Roman presence was strong in the Alps, where the crucial North-South connection had to be kept open. The principal Roman settlements in Switzerland were the cities of Iulia Equestris, Augusta Raurica, the colonies of Nyon and Augusta Raurica at first had little cultural influence beyond their immediate surroundings. Aventicum was likely the capital of the Helvetii since its founding at the beginning of the 1st century. In the 40s, it benefited from the traffic brought over the St Bernard pass over a street expanded by Claudius, the Alps were first administered by a legatus pro praetore in Augusta Vindelicorum, by the procurator of the new province of Raetia