History of Geneva Switzerland
- The History of Geneva dates from before the Roman occupation in the second century BC. Now the principal French-speaking city of Switzerland, Geneva was an independent city state from the Middle Ages until the end of the 18th century.
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The History of Geneva dates from before the Roman occupation in the second century BC. Now the principal French-speaking city of Switzerland, Geneva was an independent city state from the Middle Ages until the end of the 18th century. John Calvin was the Protestant leader of the city in the 16th century.
History of Geneva First noted as a Roman settlement in 58 B.C., Geneva quickly grew into an important trading town in the heart Europe during the Middle Ages. Due to its strategic locale, the city was a major target of conquest and changed hands several times before eventually establishing itself as an independent republic in 1535.
The original name of Genava (or Geneva) undoubtedly dates back to the pre-Celtic Ligurian peoples. About 500 bce Geneva was a fortified settlement of the Allobrogian Celts, and as early as 58 bce it served as a departure point in the campaign of the Helvetians and the Romans for Gaul.
Geneva, French Genève, German Genf, Italian Ginevra, city, capital of Genève canton, in the far southwestern corner of Switzerland that juts into France. One of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities, Geneva has served as a model for republican government and owes its preeminence to the triumph of human, rather than geographic, factors.
The history of Geneva unfolds over a period of two thousand years. Mentioned for the first time in the Comments on the Gallic Wars of Julius Caesar, the city came under Roman rule and the Burgundians and Franks before becoming an independent bishopric during the Middle Ages.
- Lake Geneva and The Romans
- Lake Geneva and The Burgundians
- The Expansion of The Dukes of Savoy
- Geneva and The Dukes of Savoy
- Removal of The Dukes of Savoy from Vaud
- John Calvin, The Reformation and Calvinism
- Geneva Escalade
- Geneva and Vaud in The Age of Revolution
In 58 B.C. the later Roman emperor C. Julius Caesar defeated the celtic Helvetiansand forced them to return to their homes in Switzerland instead of settling in Southern France.Following this, the Romans occupied the territory today known as Switzerland up to riverRhine. Soon the Romans set up a military infrastructure with headquarters in Avenches(Aventicum). Today, Avenches is but a small village. Among others, the two majorcities of the Lake Geneva region, Geneva and Lausannewere founded bythe Romans. The following table gives some of the Roman towns in the Lake Geneva region. Towards the end of the Roman period, christianity spread among the Roman empire.Geneva became the seat of a bishop. The Romans also built about 80000 km (50000 miles)of roads all over Europe. Among these roads were several routes crossing the Alps,one of them used the Grand St. Bernard pass southeast of the Lake Geneva region.After the collapse of the Roman Empire around 400 A.D., these roads were neglected...
About 400 A.D. several germanic tribes overran the roman fortifications and set an end tothe western part of the Roman empire. While the Francs settled in what is knownorthern France, the Burgundianssettled in what is know western Switzerlandand Burgundy (southeastern France). Both of these tribes, originally speaking some sortof ancient German, were keen to assimilate the Roman culture, so they learnt Latin.In the course of centuries, the French language developed out of this.
About 800 A.D., French Emperor Charles the Great could unite France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland under his reign. He set up an administration based on dukes and counts. During the Middle Ages, traffic crossing the Alps was difficult (due to neglection of the roads) and therefore not particularly intense. In late middle ages, alpine traffic gained importance again, however. The counts of Kyburg (a castle near Winterhur, eastern Switzerland) had managed to gain control overa vast territory reaching from Lake of Constance (northeastern Switzerland) to Lake Geneva. When they last countof Kyburg died without children, Count Rudolf Habsburg (later to become German king) and Count Peter I.of Savoyquarreled about the heritage. Finally Savoy conquered the Vaud region north of Lake Geneva in 1266.Because of the rising importance of Savoy - not only by size of their territory, but as well by the strategic role of the alpineroutes - the German Emperor granted the title of Duke to the counts...
The city of Geneva was continuously a reason of quarrels between the bishop of Geneva, the counts of Geneva and the counts of Savoy. In 1124 and in 1219 once more, sovereignty rights over Geneva were granted to the bishop of Geneva, but the balance of strength continued to be very instable. In 1263 the citizens of Genevaarranged themselves with Count Peter II. of Savoy, because they thought that the counts of Savoy could better guarantee the liberty of commerce (and of its roads!). In 1285 Count Amadée V. of Savoy becameprotector of the city of Geneva. When the dukes of Savoy brought Faucigny and Gex under their control in 1355, the count of Geneva had lost the race for the domination of the region; in 1358 he became a vasall of the Dukeof Savoy. Now Savoy had become frighteningly strong and the supporters of the bishop of Geneva gained a majorityamong the citizens of Geneva. In 1387 bishop Adhemar Favre confirmed all traditional rights of the city. In 1519 a party of the citizens,...
But Duke Charles III. of Savoy did not want to renounce on his rights on Geneva. In 1534 he tried to isolate the city with a supplying blockage. In 1535 the death of Duke Francesco Sforza of Milanmade the situation in northern Italy unstable, even the French king got involved there. Therefore the Duke of Savoyhad to concentrate his forces there. Berne took the occasion to conquer the county of Vaud in 1536. But as in 1477, when they had defeated Duke Charles of Burgundy, the other Swiss confederates did not want thatBerne became too strong. So after the withdrawal of French troops from his territory in 1560 Duke Emmanuel of Savoymanaged to reach agreement with the catholic member states of the Swiss confederacy and isolate Berne from its confederates. The treaties of Lausanne (1564) and Thonon (1569) restored the sovereignty of theDukes of Savoy on Ternier, Thonon, the Country of Gex and Evian and the valley of Abondance. (cf. map above, regions south/west of Lake Geneva in light gr...
French jurist John Calvin (1509 - 1564) was banished from Paris because of its open partisanship forthe Reformation in 1533. When Calvin traveled through Geneva in 1536 he had no intention to stay,but Farel convinced him to do so. Farel had failed 1532 in a first attempt of reformation due to theresistance of the citizens of Geneva, he returned however in 1533 under the protection by Berne.Berne threatened to stop support against the dukes of Savoy if Geneva would reject the reformation.The bishop of Geneva sympathizing with the dukes of Savoy was banished in 1533. Calvin was not ableto move a majority of Geneva's cititzens to accept his severe church order. After a dispute about the formof celebrating the Lord's Supper, Calvin and Farel were banished from Geneva in 1538, but called back in 1541after re-elections to the city council. Reformation in Switzerland
In 1602 the Duke Charles Emmanuel of Savoy tried once more to conquer the city of Geneva. An ancient ballad, Cé qu'è lainô, narrates that his troops attempted to climb the wallsof the city of Geneva with black ladders during night, but two courageous women, Mère Royaume (Mother Kingdom) and Dame Piaget (Lady Piaget) discovered the attackers. Mère Royaume pushed backone attacker with a pan and Lady Piaget opened a strategic door to the Geneva soldiers and so gave themthe occasion to a counter-attack from behind. The Genevans celebrate their triumph over the Dukes of Savoyannually in December. Since 1926, the Company of 1602takes care of the organization of the historic party.
Jean Jacques Rousseau and his "Contrat Social"
Political philosophy, especially in France, reacted with new ideas on society and political organization. One of the famous philosophers of the time was Jean Jacques Rousseau, born 1712 in Geneva.. His novels Nouvelle Héloise (1761) andEmile (1762), his democratic programContrat Social(1762)exercised a considerable influence. Jean Jacques Rousseau spent most of his life in France anddied there in 1788.
Revolution in Switzerland and the Helvetic Republic
The history of revolts in Switzerland during the 17th and 18th centuries shows that the revolution of 1798 in Switzerland was not at all a simple copy of the French Revolution, but rather the logical consequence of the corrupt political system in Switzerland. Of course, the French Revolution was not without influence on Switzerland, it had two functions: 1) it proved that a revolution is possible (after all the failures in Switzerland) 2) revolutionies were able to threaten with a French inte...
History of Geneva Geneva has a rich history that dates back more than 4000 years and continues to influence the development of the city today. Evidence of Geneva’s past is preserved throughout the city in its many museums, monuments and architectural treasures.
President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will take place in a plush 18th-century lakeside villa steeped in the Swiss city's history. The Villa La Grange, set ...
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Search Europe Switzerland Geneva Geneva . Welcome to our Geneva family history research page. Here you'll find record collections, history, and genealogy resources to help you trace your Geneva ancestors.
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