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Zurich Switzerland City Facts

 

 

 

SOURCE

History of Zurich Area

Although there’s evidence of settlement around Zürich from the Bronze Age and before, the Romans were the first to fortify the site, turning the Lindenhof into a customs post in the first century BC and naming it Turicum. The legend of the city’s foundation dates from the martyrdom of Felix and Regula, deserters from a Roman legion based in Valais. During the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Zürich’s traders built up fabulous wealth, mainly from textiles such as wool and silk. In 1336, however, a visionary burgomaster, Rudolf Brun, shuffled the merchant nobility out of power, handing control instead to workers’ guilds (which were to keep a hold on the city until the nineteenth century). Shortly after, still under Brun’s direction, Zürich joined the nascent Swiss Confederation.

The thriving city experienced its zenith of power and prestige in the sixteenth century, when it became the first Swiss city to embrace the Reformation. The city’s spiritual father, Huldrych Zwingli (see box p.385), preached in the Grossmünster from 1519 until his death in 1531. With the abolition of the Catholic Mass in 1525, Zürich became a centre for dissident intellectuals from all over Europe. After 1549, when Calvinist doctrine was adopted over Zwinglian, the city experienced a slow fading in its fortunes. The French Revolution of 1789 sparked pro-libertarian demonstrations at Stäfa, south of Zürich, but the city itself remained a backwater. A city councillor, Alfred Escher, is credited with reinventing Zürich as the economic capital of Switzerland, by his legislative innovations boosting tourism, banking and local manufacturing industry in the late nineteenth century. Strict neutrality during World War I again made Zürich a refuge for dissidents, and for some months in 1916 and 1917, the city was home to Lenin, mulling over the future Russian Revolution, James Joyce, holed up near the university writing Ulysses, and a band of emigré artists calling themselves “Dada”, who spent their evenings lampooning Western culture at the famous Cabaret Voltaire.

With the recent revelations about Switzerland’s economic and material complicity with the Nazis, Zürich’s exact role during and after World War II hasn’t yet been pinpointed, but the city emerged post-war to flourish, becoming one of the world’s leading financial centres; by the 1960s its foreign exchange speculators had become so powerful and secretive that they were dubbed “the gnomes of Zürich” by British Labour Ministers during the 1964 sterling crisis. Today, Zürich is the single most important market for gold and precious metals, and boasts the world’s fourth-largest stock market after New York, London and Tokyo. This exceptional affluence tends to define the city these days and yet, despite its wealth, Zürich is not a flashy place at all. The ghost of Zwingli still stands at the shoulder of the super-discreet bankers, industrialists and business people who live and breathe the city’s ingrained Protestant work ethic, but it’s in fact the individualism that Zwingli encouraged which continually bubbles to the surface.

Most recently, following a relaxation of licensing laws, Zürich is discovering a new will to party. Alongside all its sights and its breathtaking lakeside beauty, Zürich is reinventing itself again, and a gritty and engaging subculture has begun to flow beneath its slick, monied surface.


Swiss National Museum Zurich

Zürich
 
With its many different architectural elements of style, the large castellated building of the Swiss National Museum is a fascinating reflection on the country's cultural diversity.

It is home to the most extensive collection with reference to Swiss cultural history: Pre-history, the Celts and Romans, Middle Ages (Gothic art, religious statues) cultural history tours, national costume, historical rooms.
A prominent section is devoted to pre-history and the early historical period, in particular the New Stone Age, including finds of wheels actually found in Zurich which are among the earliest ever found, and Celtic finds and objects from the Early Middle Ages. Emphasis also falls on the medieval collection with important witnesses of knightly culture and a comprehensive collection of liturgical wooden sculptures, panel paintings and carved altars. Especially famous is Hodler"s monumental fresco "Retreat of the Confederates at Marignano" in the armory.

How to get there:
The museum is located directly behind the Main Train Station.
Public transportation: Tram (streetcar) 4,11,13,14 up to "Hauptbahnhof" (Main Train Station).
Tram 6,7 And Bus 31 up to "Bahnhofstrasse".

Zürich

A Timeline of
Switzerland's History

Prehistory

600000 - 30000 B.C.

Ice Age

Human Evolution in Africa. Central Europe more or less covered by glaciers, some warmer intermediate periods allow human activities, however.

30000 - 1800 B.C.

Stone Age

Hunters using weapons and tools made from stones in Europe.

1800 - 800 B.C.

Bronze Age

Weapons and tools made from bronze.


Early Swiss History

800 - 58 B.C.

Iron Age

Helvetians

Weapons and tools made from iron. Celtic tribes all over Western Europe. The Helvetians, a celtic tribe, give their name to the Swiss territory: hence HELVETIA on Swiss coins and stamps, ch = Confoederatio Helvetica on cars and internet domains.

58 B.C. - 400 A.D.

Roman Period

Helvetians stopped by roman commander C. Julius Cesar when trying to move towards Southern France. Switzerland occupied by roman troops, beginning of written history in this region.

400 - 1500

Middle Ages

Germanic tribes set an end to the Roman Empire and build new states and empires in Europe. Feudal system. Monasteries keep up roman and greek heritage (reading and writing) and develop new agricultural methods.


Old Swiss History

1291 - 1515

Old Swiss Confederacy

Three valleys in Central Switzerland unite against the counts of Habsburg and fight for autonomy. Cities join the confederacy. They conquer territories in northern and southern Switzerland.

1291

Federal Charter

Switzerland's document of birth

1315

Battle at Morgarten

Decisive Battle against the counts of Habsburg

1332

Lucerne member

First city joins the Swiss confederacy

1351

Zurich member

A first strategic alliance with a partner outside the narrow valleys around Lake Lucerne

1352

Glarus, Zug members

All major forces around the Lakes of Lucerne, Zurich and Zug "on board"

1353

Bern member

Confederacy of 8 members

1386

Battle of Sempach

Final defeat for Habsburg. The confederacy of 8 member states is de facto autonomous.

1388

Battle of Näfels

1403-1440

Ticino conquered

Central Switzerland expands southwards

1415

Aargau conquered

Habsburg banned, the Swiss Confederacy profits by the opportunity to conquer Habsburg's family estate

1440-1446
(1450)

Old Zurich war
(formal peace)

Zurich allies with Habsburg and fights against Schwyz and Glarus for the succession to the extinct counts of Toggenburg.

1460

Thurgau conquered

Pope bans duke Friedrich IV. of Habsburg: another opportunity to conquer a territory "legally"

1474-1477

Burgundian Wars

Duke Charles of Burgundy defeated by the Swiss Confederacy

1481

Fribourg, Solothurn members

Rural central Switzerland is not eager to admit two more cities to the confederacy. The hermit St. Nikolaus of Flüe (a former politician and military leader) mediates.

1499

Swabian War

against attempted tighter rule by the German Emperor, Switzerland becomes de facto independent.

1501

Basel, Schaffhausen members

Allies in the Swabian War consolidate Switzerland's position against the German Empire.

1513

Appenzell member

The confederacy of 13 members remains stable until 1798

1515

Battle of Marignano

Troops of Bern and central Switzerland take different sides in battle between the French king and Italian dukes and are defeated. The lesson learnt leads to Switzerland's neutrality


Reformation and Counter Reformation in Switzerland

1523 - 1536

Reformation

Swiss Reformers Zwingli and Calvin even more radical than Luther in Germany. Calvin's doctrine has influenced denominations in many other countries.

1523

Zwingli

Reformation in Zurich

1524-1528

 

Reformation spreads in northern Switzerland

1529, 1531

Civil Wars

motivated by religious antagonism; Zwingli dies in the battle of Kappel. Catholic hegemony within the confederacy.

1536

Calvin

Reformation in Geneva

1536

Vaud conquered

by Bernese troops

1545-1563

Tridentinum

catholic reform council, start of catholic counter reformation.

1577,1580

Jesuit colleges

founded in Lucerne and Fribourg as "bridge-heads" of the catholic counter reformation.

1597

Appenzell split

into two half-cantons due to religious antagonism.

1600 - 1798

Ancien Regime

Switzerland is a loose confederacy of 13 cities and small valley communities dominating the rest of the country. A few families control state affairs. Several rebellions put down by military force: repressed aspects of history in a country so proud of it's tradition of democracy.

1618-1648

30 Years' War

all over Europe, Swiss confederacy a "peaceful island"

1648

Peace Treaty of Westphalia

All European peace treaty formally accepts Switzerland as an independent nation

1653

Peasants' War

Revolt of the rural population between Lucerne and Bern against the undemocratic rule of the cities. The rebels are defeated and severely punished.

1656, 1712

Civil Wars

again motivated by religious antagonism. End of Catholic hegemony.


Swiss Revolution, Helvetic Republic, Federal Constitution

1653

Peasants' War

Revolt of the rural population between Lucerne and Bern against the undemocratic rule of the cities. The rebels are defeated and severely punished.

1717-1729

Wilchingen

peasant revolt

1719 - 1722

Werdenberg

peasant revolt

1723

Major Davel

patriotic revolt against domination of Vaud by Bern

1726 - 1739

Jura

revolt against the rule of the prince-bishop of Basel

1755

Leventina
(Ticino)

revolt against the rule of Uri

1761

Helvetic Society

founded by Swiss scholars. They call for political reforms.

1773

Jesuit order dissolved

by the Pope (due to conflicts within the catholic church)

1777

Johann Georg Stokar

pleads in a speech to the Helvetic Society for a centralistic republic with equal rights for all citizens.

1781

Chenaux

revolt against the rule of Fribourg

1789

French Revolution

was not - as some people put it - the reson for the Swiss revolution, it was just a sign that revolution may be successful after all these failed revolts.

1790-1797

Petitions, Revolts

all over Switzerland peasants demand for equal rights and revolt against taxes. Some are even partially successful.

1798

Swiss Revolution

Revolution in Switzerland. Farmers in occupied territories become free citizens. French troops support revolutionaries in western Switzerland.

1798 - 1802

Helvetic Republic

Centralistic parliamentary republic according to French model. Occupation by French troops and some battles of Napoleon vs. Austria and Russia in Switzerland.

1803 - 1815

Mediation

Civil war brings Helvetic Republic to an end. French emperor Napoleon enforces a moderately federalist constitution negociated under his "mediation"

1814

Jesuit order restored

by the Pope

1815 - 1830

Restauration

Loose onfederacy reestablished, however with 22 cantons [member states]. Liberals in minority position. The international Vienna congress on Europe's post-Napoleon order confirms Switzerland's borders and its perpetual neutrality.

1830 - 1848

Regeneration

Second French Revolution (1830) also boosts liberals in Switzerland. Some cantons with liberal governments and new constitutions. 18 years of embittered struggle between liberals and conservatives.

1832

Antimodernism

Pope Gregor XVI. condemns modern culture, the liberal way of thinking and the "impudent science". Catholic clergymen agitate against liberal reforms.

1833

Baden Articles

Liberal catholic politicians call for democracy within the church and for the limitation of church influence on politics.

1833

Basel split

in two half-cantons. The rural population demands for political rights and declares autonomy when the city does not grant them.

1839

David Friedrich Strauss

A liberal protestant theologian is appointed professor at Zurich university. Conservative protestants enforce his resignation and and the liberal government resigns!

1841

Dissolution of Monasteries

Liberal catholic Augustin Keller protests against church propaganda and proposes the dissolution of monasteries in canton Aargau.

1844

Jesuits in Lucerne

Lucerne has a now conservative parliament and appoints the Jesuit order to take care of the education of priests.

1845

Armed radical marches

Armed radicals [radicalized liberals] march for Lucerne, they are defeated by regular troops.

1845

"Sonderbund"

Conservative catholic politicians fall back into old schemes of religious antagonism catholic vs. protestant and set up a secret Special Alliance [Sonderbund] of catholic cantons that happen to have conservative governments at the time. When the alliance becomes public, conservative protestants are as much frustrated as liberals.

1847

"Sonderbundskrieg"
(civil war)

As the special alliance is unwilling to dissolve, a civil war settles the question. General Dufour leads the victorious federal troops. The leader of the conservative flees into Roman exile.

1848

Federal State

Now public opinion is ready for the new Federal Constitution combining elements of the U.S. constitution (Federal State with central and cantonal [state] governments and parliaments) and of French revolutionary tradition. The Principles of this constitution are still valid today.

1866

Emancipation of Jews

Equal rights for the Jewish minority in Switzerland.

1871

First Vatican Council

declares "infallibility" of the Pope. More than 400,000 Swiss catholics leave the church. When Bishop Lachat of Basel tries to exclude priests opposing the dogma, cantonal governments intervene and force him to resign, 84 priests supporting him are expelled.

1874

Total Revision of Constitution

marks the final point to "Kulturkampf" [struggle between church and state on basic rules of society]. Marriages, birth and death certificates are controlled by state authorities instead of the church. The Jesuit order is banned from Switzerland until 1973 (de facto, Jesuits returned to Switzerland before World War II and were tolerated).

1874

Optional Referendum

is introduced. 30,000 (today 50'000) citizens may demand for a referendum on any law passed by the parliament. This is the key element of Switzerland's unique system of Direct Democracy.

1891

Popular Initiative

The Popular Initiative is introduced: 50,000 (today: 100,000) citizens may demand for a partial change of the constitution and enforce a referendum on the proposal against the will of parliament and government.

1891

Joseph Zemp

elected as the first conservative member of the government: a first step towards a multi-party government.


Industrialisation, Traffic, Tourism, Communication

1750 - 1900

Industrialisation

Switzerland is one of the first industrialised countries in Europe.

1653

Postal service

a private service connects Lucerne and Milan (Italy) once a week.

1700 - 1800

Poets, Scientists as Tourist

the Alps are discovered by poets, scientists and painters

1764

Textile Machines

invented in the United Kingdom

1801

Textile Machines

Swiss engineers start constructing their own machines

1803

Chocolate

start of production

1804

Chemical Factory

start of production in Switzerland's first chemical factory at Aarau

1805

Simplon Road

first modern alpine crossing road usable for wagons in Europe

1807

Ramparts razed

in Bern to boost traffic; Zurich follows 1833, Geneva 1850

1814

Textile Industry

machines have replaced production by hand completely in Switzerland.

1815

Factory Law

Cantonal laws in Zurich and Thurgau prohibits work of children below 10 years.

1817

Emigration

3000 Swiss people leave for North and South America and Russia to flee from starvation and looming economical prospects. Until 1860 some 40,000 more emigrate.

1818

Steamboat

First steamboat in Switzerland on Lake Geneva

1831

Factory Burnt

Traditional textile home-workers in Uster (near) Zurich burn down a new factory.

1840 - 1860

Pauperism

Masses of people sink into poverty

1846

Factory Law

Glarus limits daily work to 15 hours for adults and 14 hours for children under 14 years

1847

Railways

First Swiss railway line Zurich - Baden (1855 Zurich - Winterthur, 1864 Zurich - Lucerne)

1849

Asphalt

first road coated with asphalt from Val de Travers, Switzerland

1850

Stock Exchange

first Swiss stock exchange opens in Geneva (Basel 1876, Zurich 1877)

1858

Hauenstein Tunnel

on railway line Basel - Olten

1863

Thomas Cook

organizes tours "all included" to Switzerland: start of mass tourism

1864

Synthetic Colors

produced in Basel

1866

Babyfood

based on milk, sweeteners and flour

1871

Cogwheel Railway

to Mount Rigi, central Switzerland, invented by Swiss engineer Niklaus Riggenbach

1877

Federal Factory Law

limits daily work to 11 hours for adults, restricts work at night and prohibits work of children under 14 years.

1877

Telephone

Thomas Alva Edison (USA) adds a powerful microphone to the telephone invented by Philipp Reis (Germany, 1863) and slightly improved by Alexander Graham Bell (USA, 1876).

1880

Public Telephone Networks

in Zurich, 1881 in Basel and Bern, 1883 in Geneva

1880/81

Heidi

Johanna Spyri writes a bestseller story for children reflecting times of change.

1882

Gotthard Tunnel

first alpine railway line (Basel -) Lucerne - Gotthard - Bellinzona - Milan

1882/83

Emigration

13,500 persons leave Switzerland. Destinations are USA (83%), Argentina (11%), Canada (4%), Brasil (2%).

1883, 1886

Swiss Fast Food

soup powder in bags and soup-cubes are invented

1875

Milk Chocolate

invented by Daniel Peter, Vevey

1879

Melting Chocolate

a process to let chocolate melt on the tongue is invented by Rodolphe Lindt, Bern

1896

Cars, Trucks

start of car production in Switzerland in 1896, trucks in 1903

1898

State Railways

After severe financial and security problems of private owned railway companies parliament and electorate decide to nationalize the major railway lines. Swiss Federal Railways start operating in 1902.

1906

Simplon Tunnel

19.803 km (12.300 miles) remains the longest railway tunnel until the end of the 20th century

1912

Jungfrau Railway

highest railway station of Europe (3457 m / 11,342 ft)

1926

Automated Public Telephone Exchange

in Bern. Switzerland's telephone network is the first in the world to be 100% automated (without operators) long before the time of digital telephony and Switzerland has the highest density of telephone lines.

1922

Lausanne Radio

is the first Swiss radio station to broadcast a public program and the third in Europe

1931

National Radio Transmitters

are built in Beromünster (German language), Sottens (French) and Monte Ceneri (Italian).


Recent Swiss History

1914 - 1918

World War I.

Armed neutrality works when surrounded by warfaring nations.

1914 - 1918

Regional Tensions

Though formally neutral, sympathy of Switzerland's population is split: German speaking Swiss are oriented towards Germany, French speaking Swiss towards France.

1918 - 1933

Economic Crisis

The twenties are not so "roaring" in Europe. Inner conflicts, general strike and world economic crisis hit this industrialised country severely.

1918

General Strike

Social Democrats and Trade Unions demand for a change from majority election to proportional representation women's right to vote, a limitation of the working time to 48-hours a week, and social security insurance. The government puts down the strike by military force, but the demands have to be complied with in the following decades one by one.

1919

Proportional Representation

is introduced for the election of the National Council (big chamber of federal parliament). The liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) looses its majority.

1920

League of Nations

founded, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland

1929

World Economic Crisis

hits Switzerland as a highly industrialised and export oriented country severely

1929

Rudolf Minger

representing the farmer's and craftsmen's party (today Swiss People's party SVP) is elected member of the government.

1933 - 1939

Spiritual Defense

Hitler in Germany is soon seen as a danger to Switzerland's independence. Thousands of German refugees (jews, intellectuals) are accepted. Socialists and trade unions seek cooperation with liberal employers against fascist threat.

1937

"Peace Agreement"

between trade unions and entrepreneurs in Switzerland's machine constructing and electrical industry. Trade unions are accepted as representatives of the workers and renounce on strikes. The agreement is a first fruit of Spiritual Defense and prepares the ground for Switzerland's exceptionally cooperative climate between unions and entrepreneurs.

1939 - 1945

World War II.

Neutral Switzerland surrounded by fascist troops (Germany, Austria, Italy) or collaborating regimes (Vichy-France). Some trade with Hitler was inevitable for sheer survival (and the survival of more than 150,000 refugees). Other, not inevitable aspects were: (Too) rigid refugee politics (25,000 sent back), uncritical collaboration in case of looted assets and accepting stolen gold.

1943

Ernst Nobs

former leader in the 1918 general strike is elected first social democrat member of Swiss government.

Since 1945

Prosperity

Recent history is characterized by political stability, economic progress, increased social security and a new openness and tolerance.

1948

Social Security Insurance

This third major fruit of Spiritual Defense is the most noble present the country could make itself to celebrate 100 years of modern democracy.

1959

"Magic Formula"

concerning the election of Switzerland's government: all major parties (Free Democrats (FDP), Christian Democrats (CVP), Social Democrats (SP) and Swiss People's Party (SVP)) are represented with 2+2+2+1 members.

1963

Council of Europe

Switzerland becomes a member of this international organisation dedicated to the peaceful cooperation of European nations and the promotion of human rights

1971

Women's Suffrage

accepted in a national referendum

1979

Canton Jura

The youngest federal state of Switzerland separates from Canton Bern after a series of referendums on communal, cantonal and federal level

1984

Elisabeth Kopp

elected first female member of federal government

1992

European Economic Area

In a referendum the Swiss electorate decides not to join group of associates to the European Union.

2000

Bilateral Accords

with the European Union approved in a referendum. The bilateral accords comprise the key features of the European Economic Area with specific modifications.

1999

Total Revision of Constitution

does not change any rights or competences, but replaces a thicket of original paragraphs and amendments by a modern structure.

2002

Switzerland joins the UN

finally the electorate can be convinced that Switzerland simply cannot stay outside an organisation all other nations are members of.

2003

"Magic Formula"

slighty modified: one government member for the Christian Democratic Party and two for Swiss People's Party.



 

 

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