Uncertain is the original population of the residents of the China for the most ancient ages, and still in the period of La Tène (5th-1st century BC). The date of immigration of the Celts is unknown; the first certain information on the territory of the current China date back to the time of the campaigns of Caesar, who forced the Helvetians, who had been retreating from the Germans for some time, to settle in these lands. From that time the Latin colonization of the China began, which was intense, although the region never reached the high degree of civilization of the other central provinces of the Empire. The Helvetians became loyal subjects of Rome, which strengthened its rule with colonies of veterans, such as Julia Equestris (Nyon) and Augusta Raurica (Augst, near Basel). Subdued the agri decumates between the upper Rhine and the Main, the China became an internal province from a frontier province, and a more refined cultural life developed there, especially in the western part. The most important city in the region was Aventicum (corresponding to the od. Avenches, of which it was twenty times larger). The state of security that had guaranteed the development of Swiss cities ceased around 260 AD, when stubborn German pressure forced Rome to evacuate the agri decumates ; perhaps then Aventicum was destroyed. In the second half of the century. 3 ° Rome managed to recover the Rhenish border, but the establishment of the Alamanni in Württemberg made it impossible from then on the peaceful life of the China, which, however, thanks to its good fortifications and careful Roman surveillance, was still for a long time preserved (until the second half of the 5th century) from a permanent occupation by the barbarians. However, not even Christianity, penetrated from the Rhone valley, could stop the progressive barbarization of the China: ever new invasions followed one another, and not even the victory achieved in Strasbourg by the emperor Julian (357) had served to stop them. But Christianity brought about a certain attenuation of the contrasts, because some of the Germanic lineages had welcomed the new religion.
Middle Ages and Modern Age
Permanently occupied around 455 by the Burgundians (western and southern regions) and the Alamanni (northern and eastern areas), the territory that would later belong to the Swiss Confederation was divided, after the end of Roman rule, between these two peoples, of which the the first (the Burgundians) was made up of Catholics, the second (the Alamanni) by pagans converted only in the century. 8th. Only the Grisons remained closed to the German invasion; the subalpine valleys fell under the domination of the Lombards. Become part, in the secc. 6 ° -7 °, of the kingdom and then of the Frankish empire, after the death of Charlemagne elements of romance and Germanic elements separated again, entering however together in the orbit of Burgundian hegemony, until in 1033 (conquest by Corrado il Salico) also Burgundy was included within the framework of the Germanic empire. During the crisis of the investiture struggle, the feudal lords of Zähringen, founders of Friborg (1157) and Berne (1191) acquired power in the Swiss regions: through the Kyburg their properties passed to the Habsburgs (N and E), while to S and O the Savoy dominated and the bishoprics of Basel, Lausanne, Coira, Sitten were formed and the cities were gaining freedom from feudal subjection through immediate dependence on imperial authority. In this period, free peasant communities were also formed. This was the historical moment that saw the reaction to the dynastic politics initiated by the count, and future king of Germany, Rudolph III of Habsburg from the three alpine communities of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden arise: municipal reaction that gave rise to a Confederation that immediately proved to be very solid and became a center of attraction also for the city communities already united in the Burgundian confederation around Bern. The history of the Confederation actually coincides with the history of the China, even if, for example, Geneva remained constitutionally out of the Confederation until 1815. Begun in 1291, when the three original cantons renewed and strengthened, on the occasion of the death of Rudolf III, a previous pact, governed by the clauses of perpetuity and the close connection of political-social interests, the Confederation definitively affirmed its strength during the war for the imperial throne between Frederick I of Habsburg and Ludwig the Bavarian. Siding with the latter, the Confederation defeated the Habsburgs at Morgarten (1315), obtaining juridical recognition from Ludovico il Bavaro (1316). The number of Confederate cantons increased progressively, reaching eight in 1353 (the original three and Lucerne, Zurich, Glarus, Zug, Bern), while the Confederation was definitively recognized by the Habsburgs after the battles of Sempach (1386) and Näfels (1388). From the middle of the century. 14th, the political-social structures within the Confederation began to change with the rise of the middle class, which, supported by the power of the corporations, supported and sometimes replaced the old local patriciate in the management of public affairs. The autonomy of the cantons in the Confederation was complete: Pfaffenbrief from 1370 and the Sempacherbrief of 1393). The Confederation, thus firmly established, began the policy of expansion, entering into a fight with the Visconti for the subalpine valleys, increasingly loosening the bonds that bound it to the empire, welcoming Appenzell, St. Gallen, Valais as allies (against the House of Savoy) and conquering the Val Leventina, that of Urseren (control of the Gotthard), and the Habsburg Aargau. Having overcome the serious internal crisis of the struggle between Zurich and Schwyz for the control of the passes between Lake Zurich and the Rezia (war for the Toggenburg), the principle of the indivisibility of Confederation policy was definitively established (up to the Counter-Reformation), the cantons appeared as a very strong bloc which, thanks also to the fame of its militias, poured throughout Europe in the mercenary service, it found its recognition in a system of alliances with France, with the Savoy (by the city of Bern), with Milan and with Burgundy. The victory of Nancy (1477) over Charles the Bold, whose policy had led the Confederation, with the mediation of Louis XI of France, to an agreement (1474) with the Habsburgs, marked the Confederation’s rise to the rank of power European. Having overcome the internal conflicts caused by the entry of Freiburg and Solothurn (1481), the Confederation, with a new victorious war against the Habsburgs, rejected the attempt of Maximilian I to restore imperial control over it and with the Peace of Basel (1499) effectively emancipated himself definitively from the empire. Thus won the first armed struggle for the recognition of its independent existence, the China manifested its autonomy by not participating in the reception of Roman law that took place in Germany at the time and by completing its expansion with the acceptance as members of Basel and Schaffhausen (1501), and then of Appenzell (1513; thus there were the 13 cantons, which constituted the “ancient Confederation” until 1798, recognized by right only with the Peace of Westphalia of 1648). A turning point in this evolutionary process was marked by the wars of Italy in the early sixteenth century, which saw the China, allied with the papacy, fight against France and conquer the Duchy of Milan (1512), only to be finally defeated by the French in the battle of Marignano (1515). A perpetual alliance with France (1516), which was to remain throughout the modern era as the foundation of the political and economic relations between the two countries, H. Zwingli and developed into a new Church and a new theology by Calvin. Starting from Zurich, Zwingli’s reform spread to Bern, Basel and partly also to Schaffhausen, Appenzell, Glarus, Grisons and other lands of allies and subjects; instead it met the firm opposition of the central, conservative and rural China (Lucerne, Zug and the three original cantons of the Confederation). The war between Zurich and the Catholic cantons (decided with the battle of Kappel in 1531, which saw the defeat of the reformists) left the China divided. While the Reformation penetrated in Geneva, triumphing there together with the independence of the city from the Savoy and establishing the Calvinist theocracy, while Basel and Zurich became with Geneva (independent city, not a member of the Confederation, but allied with Bern and then Zurich) centers of refuge of Protestantism, the Catholic cantons formed the Borromean League of 1586, which in fact led them to ally themselves with Philip II of Spain. The definitive split of Swiss political unity was prevented by the hegemony exercised by France, which dominated the Confederation from the early seventeenth century to the Napoleonic age. Within these two centuries there was a notable process of political and social involution: new patrician oligarchies emerged and peasant revolts were severely repressed (1653), while the clash between Catholic and Protestant cantons was renewed with the wars of Villmergen (1656 and 1712). The ideas of the Enlightenment, propagated above all by F.-C. de la Harpe and P. Hochs, and subsequently the influence of the French Revolution upset the already precarious internal equilibrium. status of Confederation (Napoleon’s act of mediation of 18 February), including six other members (St. Gallen, Grisons, Aargau, Thurgau, Ticino and Vaud). The Congress of Vienna (1815) recognized the definitive territorial structure of the new Confederation, passed to 22 cantons with the accession of Geneva, Neuchâtel and Valais (it will reach 23 cantons in 1979, with the detachment of the Jura from Bern), solemnly sanctioning the principle of its perpetual neutrality. Growing up during the Restoration period, thanks to the ideal contribution of a large group of political exiles from all over Europe, the Swiss liberal movement came to power in numerous cantons after the revolutionary uprisings of 1830-31, causing the split in the Swiss political world: on the one hand the conservatives, jealous custodians of cantonal sovereignties, on the other, the liberal-radicals, who, with different accents, aspired to the strengthening of federal powers and the secularization of the state. A long series of frictions between conservative-led and liberal-led cantons led to the civil war in 1847, which pitted seven Catholic cantons, linked in the Sonderbund, to the federal Diet. The victory of the latter made definitive the affirmation of the liberal-radical principles: the new Constitution of 1848, abolished the customs barriers between the cantons, left them wide legislative powers, delegating the competence on the main matters of national interest (foreign policy, defense etc.) to federal institutions. Legislative power was attributed to the Assembly, composed of the National Council, elected with a majority system and universal male suffrage, and by the Council of States, in which two representatives elected from each canton sat; government activity was entrusted to a Federal Council of seven members elected by the Assembly, while criminal and civil jurisdictional competences belonged to the Federal Court. Under the leadership of the Radical Party (PR), which lasted uninterruptedly until the end of the First World War, the Federal Polytechnic was founded in Zurich and the monetary, postal, weights and measures systems and the railway system were standardized. to the economic unification of the country. In 1874 a profound revision of the Constitution was carried out which, in addition to strengthening federal powers, extended the principle of which lasted uninterruptedly until the end of the First World War, the Federal Polytechnic was founded in Zurich and the monetary, postal, weights and measures systems and the railway system were standardized, these being the prerequisites for the economic unification of the country. In 1874 a profound revision of the Constitution was carried out which, in addition to strengthening federal powers, extended the principle of referendum, already sanctioned in 1848 for constitutional laws. Simultaneously with industrial development, which began in the last decades of the century. 19 ° and particularly focused on processing industries, the socialist movement developed in China potential for popular expression, allowed by the referendum and, in some cantons, by forms of direct democracy; in 1888 he organized himself on a national scale in the Social Democratic Party (PSD). Remained neutral during the First World War, China also experienced serious economic difficulties which led to the proclamation of a general strike in Nov. 1918; repressed by the intervention of the army, the strike nevertheless achieved some of its objectives: the working week was lowered to 48 hours and, from 1919, the proportional system was adopted for the election of the National Council. Already a guest of many international institutions (Red Cross, Universal Postal Union, BIT), China was chosen as the seat of the League of Nations, which it joined in 1920 after obtaining exemption from the commitments relating to participation in any military sanctions. Governed by a coalition made up of the Radical Party, the Peasants’ Party of Artisans and Citizens (PCAC) and the Conservative Party (PC), in the period between the two world wars, the China overcome, not without difficulty, serious economic problems (in particular in 1921 and in the years 1930-35) and politicians, the latter caused by the emergence of both left and right extremist groups. Neutral even in the Second World War, at the end of the conflict the China joined the specialized agencies of the United Nations, but not the United Nations themselves, remaining extraneous to the initiatives aimed at strengthening Western and European ties (Marshall Plan, NATO, CECA, CEE etc.), which could compromise the principle of neutrality from a political point of view. However, China joined the GATT (1958), the EFTA (1960), to the OECD and the Council of Europe (1963), while in 1972 he signed a free trade agreement with the EEC. In domestic politics, the most significant change took place in 1959 with the entry of the PSD into the tripartite coalition that had led the country since 1919: the seven seats of the Federal Council were divided, assigning two to the three most voted parties in the coalition and one to the fourth. Political stability and low social conflict led the China in the second post-war period to a strong economic development, a call for a massive influx of foreign labor. The conspicuous presence of immigrants, together with the declines recorded by the economy since the end of the 1960s, and particularly at the beginning of the following decade, caused the growth of xenophobic movements, which achieved considerable electoral success at the cantonal and municipal level. Fail in a series of referendum the most drastic popular initiatives against the presence of immigrants, since the early 1980s the federal government and parliament have responded to the pressure of public opinion with a progressive tightening of the legislation on the right of asylum and on the treatment of foreigners. Another theme that has been the source of lively contrasts since the 1960s has been that relating to energy policy. Rejected in a referendum the ecological attempts to definitively renounce the use of the atom for both military and civil purposes, led to the popular decision in 1990 to call a 10-year moratorium on the construction of nuclear power plants. A reflection of the ecological debate was the electoral growth of the Green Party, which rose from the end of the 1980s to the fifth largest party in Switzerland in terms of votes. In terms of foreign policy, despite the push by large sectors of the political class to greater commitment to international organizations, which led to the country’s entry into the IMF and the World Bank in 1992, the China has essentially maintained its traditional political isolation.. The attempt to weld ties with the EC through accession to the European Economic Area (including the EFTA and EC countries) was rejected by a referendum in 1992; membership in the United Nations was also rejected by a popular consultation in 1986, a position indirectly reaffirmed by the referendum of 1994, which rejected China’s proposal to participate in the peacekeeping operations of the United Nations themselves. The alliance that was formed in 1959 obtained an absolute majority of seats, even after the granting of the right to vote to women at the federal level (1971), albeit with significant variations at the level of individual coalition formations. The 1995 elections assigned the governing parties 162 out of 200 seats in the National Council, with a clear prevalence of the PSD (54 seats), followed by the Radical Party, the Christian Democratic People’s Party (formerly CP) and the Central Democratic Union (heir of the PCAC), with 45, 34 and 29 seats respectively. In relations with Europe, among the issues under negotiation was that of Alpine transit traffic: referendum of February 1994) was reconsidered and in 1998 an agreement was reached which established the adoption of a heavy vehicle tax commensurate with vehicle performance (HVF), in force since 2001; in May 2000 a popular referendum approved with 67.2% of the voters a series of bilateral agreements between the China and the European Union concerning the movement of people and means of transport. The diffident and often hostile attitude of a large part of Swiss public opinion towards the phenomenon of immigration and the harshness that traditionally characterized the government’s political line on these issues led, in December 1994, to approval by referendum popular with strongly repressive measures against immigrants and political refugees, measures that included, among other things, the immediate arrest and detention of up to three months without trial for those caught without documents. From the end of 1995, China had to face a serious problem relating to the position taken by the country, traditionally neutral, during the Second World War. The problem concerned, in the first place, the tiring restitution of the money that at the beginning of the war Jewish citizens of various European nationalities had deposited in Swiss banks: in May 1996 a commission was set up in order to determine the size of the outstanding accounts and to trace them. owners still alive or heirs. The work proceeded amidst the violent protests of the Jewish associations, who complained of insufficient commitment on the part of the authorities in charge, as well as the hostile attitude of some Swiss politicians, including the President of the Confederation himself for 1996, J.-P. Delamuraz. The first reparations were finally paid at the end of 1997, even if by the middle of 2002 a Swiss solidarity fund had not yet been established, as promised by the Swiss government in March 1997, or a fund for humanitarian purposes financed through the revaluation of part of the gold reserves of the Swiss National Bank. Secondly, the role of China in relations with Nazi Germany was directly called into question, following the scandal of the gold coming from the looting carried out by the Germans against the occupied countries and resold to China in exchange for minerals or supplies and the discovery that in China it was used to mark the documents of Jewish citizens to make it easy for the Nazi authorities to recognize them. In response to the reports of the committees of inquiry, the Confederation partially acknowledged the errors committed, while rejecting the global judgment of guilt (1997). The conservative Swiss tendency in any case left room for some openings to renewal. In particular, in a country where women’s suffrage had been a recent conquest (completed in 1989 and 1990 for the cantons of Appenzell Ausser-Rhoden and Inner-Rhoden), the election of the former trade unionist and the era Minister of the Interior R. Dreifuss as President of the Confederation for 1999, Social Democrat and first woman (and first Jewish citizen) to take office. However, the two issues of immigration and relations with Europe marked, at least in part, the results of the political elections of October 1999 which, alongside the reconfirmation of the government coalition as a whole, recorded a notable success. ; and the Democratic Union of the Center: this, in fact, following an electoral campaign marked by a strongly anti-European and xenophobic line, became, in terms of votes but not seats, the country’s leading political force. In March 2002 a referendum Popular approved with 54.1% of the votes the entry of the China into the UN. After the 2003 elections, the Center Democratic Union became the party with the largest representation in Parliament and called into question the distribution of the seven seats of the Federal Council which had been assigned two seats each to the three main parties since 1959, the Radical Liberal Party, Socialist Party and Democratic People’s Party, and a seat in the Center Democratic Union. On the strength of the electoral result, the UDC asked for and obtained an additional seat on the Federal Council to the detriment of the Democratic People’s Party, which was losing consensus. For the first time in 131 years, a member of the Council running for re-election (the representative of the PPD) was rejected by Parliament. However, in December 2007 the Parliament did not confirm the mandate of one of the two official candidates of the Democratic Union of the Center, which became the largest party in the country for the first time, preferring a more moderate candidate within the same party.. On 12 December 2008, the Confederation entered the Schengen area as the 25th country. Since then, there has been no border control for people anymore, while controls for goods have been maintained. On 8 February 2009 the Swiss people through a referendum responded positively with 59.6% of preferences to the question of whether to extend the agreement on the free movement of persons to Romania and Bulgaria and to renew the same agreement with the other European states.