First posted on February 15th 2006, last revised on October 7th 2006






External Links

For links on general historical dictionaries, go to Historical Dictionary main page

Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz (Historical Dictionary of Switzerland), available in German, French and Italian
Printed Reference : Historical Dictionaries, Switzerland



General Expressions

Aargau
... territory conquered and annexed by the Swiss Federation in 1415. Had status of a federal subject territory

Appenzell
... became associated member of the Swiss Federation in 1411, admitted as full member of the Swiss Federation in 1513. In 1597 split into Catholic Appenzell Ausserrhoden and Protestant Appenzell Innerrhoden

Basel, City
... admitted to the Swiss Federation in 1501

Basel,Princebishopric of
... territory of the Holy Roman Empire, predominantly French-speaking. Remained Catholic during the Reformation; the bishop resided in Porrentruy. In 1792 proclaimed Rauratian Republic, in 1803 annexed by France; in 1815 her territory annexed by Bern. Click here for more information

Bern
... in English sometimes spelled Berne; the largest of Switzerland's cantons. Bern joined the Swiss Federation in 1353. In the 14th to 16th century, in a series of military conquests and monetary acquisitions, Bern expanded her territory. The defeat of the Burgundians in 1476-1477 was much accredited to Bernese soldiers; Bern became center of the mercenary trade. Introduced the Protestant Reformation in 1528. Capital of Switzerland.

Canton
... From 1291 to 1798/1815, the term Canton described full members of the Swiss Federation, as opposed to associated members and subject territories. Since reforms implemented in the early 19th century, the associated members and subject territories were elevated to the status of Cantons.

Death Penalty
... abolished in Switzerland in 1942/1992.

Federal Council
... in German : Bundesrat, in French : Conseil Federal, in Italian : Consiglio Federale, since 1848 Swiss cabinet (executive). Since 1959 its composition is determined by the Magic Formula.

Free Democratic Party
... in German : Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei, in French : Parti Radical-Democratique Suisse, in Italian : Partito Liberale Radicale Svizzero). Founded in 1894; traditionally represented in the Swiss Federal Council. Liberal.

Fribourg
... in German : Freiburg. Canton (city controlling surrounding countryside) which joined the Swiss Federation in 1481. Catholic.

Geneva
... in French : Geneve, in Italian : Ginevra, in German : Genf. The city shook off Savoyard rule in the early 16th century; her independence from Savoy was secured by her ally Bern in 1536. Introduction of the Protestant Reformation, at Bernese request, from 1536; from 1541 center of the Calvinist Reformation. From 1536 to 1798, Geneva was an associated member of the Swiss Federation. 1798-1815 French, since then a Canton within the Swiss Federation (enlarged). Seat of the League of Nations 1920-1945, one of the seats of the UN since 1945.

Glarus
... mountain canton; joined Swiss Federation in 1353.

Jews in Switzerland
... Jewish communities in Switzerland are recorded for the 13th century, the largest in Basel. Expulsions of (and often pogroms against) Jews took place in Basel in 1349, in Schaffhausen in 1401, in Bern in 1427, in Fribourg in 1428, in Zürich in 1436, in Schaffhausen in 1472, in Thurgau in 1492, in Basel in 1543. A few Jews were readmitted soon after, hence repeated expulsions from the same places. In 1622, Switzerland expelled all Jews, except for physicians. In 1805 the Jews Basel had permitted to settle there temporarily founded a Jewish community. In 1874, Swiss residents of Jewish faith were granted full emancipation. Basel hosted the First Zionist Congress in 1897. During the Nazi Years, Switzerland accepted many (but not all) Jewish refugees fleeing Germany or German-held territory, heading for Switzerland ("Das Boot ist voll").

Landsgemeinde
... a German language expression; the direct English translation would be country community, community of the country. In Switzerland it refers to rural Cantons with the tradition of direct democracy - Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden (Nidwalden, Obwalden), Glarus, Appenzell. Political decisions were taken by the assembled community, usually on Sundays after church.

Luzern
... in English sometimes spelled Lucerne; Swiss Canton (city ruling surrounding territory); joined Swiss Federation in 1332. Remained Catholic during the Reformation. Sonderbund capital 1845-1847.

Neuchatel
... in German : Neuenburg. Principality ruled by the Prussian Hohenzollern Dynasty 1707-1805, 1815-1857, then annexed into Switzerland as a separate Canton. French-speaking, protestant. Click here for more information

Referendum
... a decision on a political matter, taken by the population. In Switzerland practiced on cantonal as well as on federal level; element of direct democracy.

Schaffhausen
... Canton (city ruling surrounding countryside) admitted to the Swiss Federation in 1501.

Schwyz
... Canton located on the northern approach to the St. Gotthard Pass; declared immediate territory of the Holy Roman Empire in 1240; forest canton, founding member of the Swiss Federation (1291). Economically dependent on the Transalpine trade, from the 15th century onward on the mercenary trade. Remained Catholic during the Reformation; got in conflict with Protestant Zürich.

Solothurn
... Canton (city controlling surrounding countryside) which joined the Swiss Federation in 1481. In French : Soleure.

Thurgau
... territory conquered and annexed by the Swiss Federation in 1460 (previously Habsburg); had status of a federal subject territory.

Unterwalden
... Canton located on the northern approach to the St. Gotthard Pass; forest canton, founding member of the Swiss Federation (1291). In the 14th century split in two half cantons, Nidwalden and Obwalden. Economically dependent on the Transalpine trade, from the 15th century onward on the mercenary trade. Remained Catholic during the Swiss Reformation; got into conflict with Protestant Zürich.

Uri
... Canton located just north of the St. Gotthard pass; declared immediate territory of the Holy Roman Empire in 1231; forest canton, founding member of the Swiss Federation (1291). Economically dependent on the Transalpine trade, from the 15th century onward on the mercenary trade. Remained Catholic during the Reformation; got in conflict with Protestant Zürich. In the 15th/16th century, Uri expanded into the Ticino.

Valais
... in German : Wallis, Alpine valley; the County of Wallis in 999 was acquired by the Bishop of Sion; in the 15th century the communities of (German-speaking) Upper Wallis conquered (French-speaking) Lower Wallis from the Duke of Savoy. Associated member of the Swiss Federation, Catholic. In 1802 separated from Switzerland, in 1810 annexed by France, in 1815 restored to Switzerland as Canton Valais. Click here for more information

Vaud
... in German : Waadt, territory conquered by Bern in 1476-1536. French-speaking; Bernese subject territory until 1798/1815. Protestant.

Witches, Persecution, Trial, Burning of
... in Switzerland, perceived witches were tried and executed before the reformation, and after the reformation in Protestant and Catholic cantons alike. During the 16th and early 17th century, occasionally proponents of the 'other' confession were labelled heretics and treated the same way as witches. In the 18th century, the spirit of the enlightenment spread, affecting urban areas stronger than rural areas. Thus the persecution of witches in urban areas declined, while it lasted on in rural areas; the last burning of a perceived witch in Switzerland happened in 1782.

Zug
... Canton (city ruling surrounding countryside); joined Swiss Federation in 1352.

Zürich
... in English sometimes spelled Zurich; Canton (city ruling surrounding countryside); most important market on the northern side of the trade route crossing the St. Gotthard to and from Italy. Joined Swiss Federation in 1351. Center of early Swiss Reformation (Huldrych Zwingli, Anabaptists). Commercial capital of Switzerland.


Prior to 1291
..... go to narrative history of Switzerland

Helvetians
... Celtic inhabitants of western, lowland Switzerland in Roman times.

Raetians
... Celtic inhabitants of eastern Switzerland in Roman times.

St. Gotthard
... The construction of the Devil's Bridge across Schöllenen Gorge in 1218-1226 opened a new Transalpine trade route, across the St. Gotthard Pass. As the Canton of Uri controlled the northern ascent, it was made an immediate territory of the Holy Roman Empire.


From the Foundation of the Swiss Federation to the Eve of the Swiss Reformation
..... go to narrative history of Switzerland

Battle of Morgarten 1315
... Swiss victory over Habsburg forces; secured continued Swiss independence

Battle of Sempach 1386
... Swiss victory over Habsburg forces; secured continued Swiss independence

Bormio
... Conquered by Graubünden in 1512, treated as subject territory. While Graubünden predominantly became Protestant, Bormio remained Catholic and Italian-speaking. Joined the Cisalpine Republic in 1797.

Burgundy Wars 1474-1477
... fought against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. Swiss military discipline and courage proved victorious over the most formidable army money could buy at the time; after, many potentates recruited Swiss mercenaries.

Chiavenna
... Conquered by Graubünden in 1512, treated as subject territory. While Graubünden predominantly became Protestant, Chiavenna remained Catholic and Italian-speaking. Joined the Cisalpine Republic in 1797.

Confederacy of 8 Cantons 1353
... or Confederacy of 8 Member States - as of 1353 : Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Luzern, Zürich, Zug, Bern, Glarus

Confederacy of 13 Cantons 1513
... or Confederacy of 13 Member States - as of 1513 : Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Luzern, Zürich, Zug, Bern, Glarus, Solothurn, Fribourg, Basel, Schaffhausen, Appenzell

Eidgenossenschaft
... German, literally : Fellowship of Oath-takers. An old name of the Swiss Federation, which had been estalished in 1291 by the Rütli Oath.

Federal Charter 1291
... in German : Bundesbrief, charter by which the original 3 forest cantons (Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden) established the Swiss Federation

Forest Cantons
... Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden (= Nidwalden, Obwalden)

Graubünden
... (It.: Grigione, Raetoroman : Grischun, French : Grisons). Created as federation of three smaller leagues (Grey League of 1367, Gotteshaus League of 1395, League of the Ten Jurisdictions of 1436) which by 1471 had established de facto independence and in 1526 threw off the remnants of sovereignty exercised by the Bishop of Chur. The largest of the Associated Members of the Swiss Federation, it was a state of its own; the Graubünden transalpine routes were of vital importance during the Thirty Years War. Graubünden long ruled the regions of Bormio, Valtellina and Chiavenna; these were lost in 1797. Graubünden was annexed into the Helvetic Republic in 1798 and granted the status of a separate canton in 1803. The canton is trilingual - German, Raetoroman (Romansch) and Italian. Click here for more information

Mercenary Trade
... Swiss soldiers, in the Burgundian Wars 1474-1477, had established a reputation for hardiness and discipline. From the 15th to the 18th century, the recruitment of mercenaries was important to the economy of many Swiss cantons. Zwingli had convinced the city council of Zürich to ban the recruitment of mercenaries in her territory (1522); fear of losing this vital source of income played a role in the decision of the Cantons Uri, Schwyz and Nidwalden to remain Catholic. The mercenary trade declined when in the period of absolutism foreign armies imposed their discipline and officers over Swiss mercenaries, and when pressed local soldiers were regarded a cheaper alternative. Elite regiments - the Swiss Guards - continued this old tradition.

Milan Wars 1494-1515
... while Uri was in conflict with Milan over territory in the Ticino since the early 15th century, the Milan wars were in essence a conflict between the Kings of France, the Popes, the Emperor and Venice over the control of Lombardy (and beyond). The Swiss, as an interested party (with expansionist ambitions) as well as a military ally and supplier of mercenaries, played a crucial role; Swiss infantry regiments (pikemen) won the battle of Novara in 1513, lost the battle of Marignano 1515.

Old Zürich War 1440-1446
... fought between Zürich on one and the other 7 Cantons on the other side, over the inheritance of the Counts of Toggenburg. Zürich, expelled from the Swiss Federation, allied herself with the Emperor. The war ended in a stalemate; both sides were exhausted. In 1450, Zürich was readmitted to the Swiss Federation.

Rütli Oath
... Taken by the representatives of Uri, Schwyz and Nidwalden on Rütli meadow on August 1st 1291, establishing the Swiss Federation.

Swabian War 1499
... Swiss victory over Imperial (Habsburg) forces. The conflict had arisen over an attempt by Emperor Maximilian to strengthen Imperial authority and raise taxes. The Swiss Federation succeeded in reaffirming her factual independence.

University of Basel 1432/1460
... emerged in connection with the Council of Basel 1431-1449; center of Humanism, book printing in Switzerland.

Valtellina
... in German : Veltlin. Conquered by Graubünden in 1512, treated as subject territory. While Graubünden predominantly became Protestant, the Valtellina remained Catholic and Italian-speaking. Revolted in 1797 and joined the Cisalpine Republic.


1522-1798
..... go to narrative history of Switzerland Reformation in Switzerland . 1740-1798

Anabaptists
... radical reformers who insisted on infant baptism being wrong, and who practised adult baptism. The movement emerged in Zürich in 1522, where they were banned in 1526. Anabaptists were regarded subversive and were blamed for rebellions such as the German Peasants' War, persecuted; surviving groups chose to live in seclusion. The Swiss Anabaptists later emigrated.

Borromaic Federation 1586
... also called Golden Federation, a federation formed by Switzerland's Catholic cantons.

Counterreformation in Switzerland
... in a number of Swiss cantons, Catholicism had maintained her position as official confession due to local conditions. Following the Council of Trent 1545-1563, Swiss Catholicism got organized. Jesuit colleges were established in Luzern in 1577, in Fribourg in 1580; in 1586 the Catholic cantons established the Borromaic or Golden Federation. For over a century, Switzerland would be divided in a Protestant and a Catholic camp. Click here for more information

Freemasons
... in German : Freimaurer, in French : Franc-maçons. The first lodge in Switzerland was founded in Geneva in 1736. Catholic cantons forbade freemasonry on their territories 1740-1798. The Swiss Freemasons promoted liberalism, the ideas of the Enlightenment.

Geneva, Scaling of 1602
... An attempt by Savoyard troops to take the city of Geneva by surprise, in a night attack. It failed. Click here for more information

Golden Federation 1586
... see under borromaicBorromaic Federation

Gregorian Calendar in Switzerland
... in the Catholic cantons introduced in 1582, in the Protestant cantons introduced in 1701.

Helvetic Confession, First 1536
... confession the Protestants of German-speaking Switzerland, except for the Anabaptists, agreed upon in 1536.

Helvetic Confession, Second 1562
... written bei Heinrich Bullinger in 1562; it was accepted by the reformed (Calvinist) churches in Switzerland and beyond.

Helvetic Society of 1761
... founded by scholars who discussed Swiss history (and politics, political options). Members were mainly enlightened German-speaking scholars from Zürich, Basel.

Jesuits in Switzerland
... The Jesuit Order was an organization charged with implementing the Counterreformation. Jesuit colleges were opened in Luzern in 1577, in Fribourg in 1580.

Kappel, First War of 1529
... a war between (Protestant) Zürich and the (Catholic) Forest Cantons. Zwingli/Zürich had banned grain trade with the Forest Cantons in order to coerce them to introduce the Protestant Reformation. The latter again had taken up arms; the parties met at Kappel, but did not fight. Both sides agreed on a temporary peace. Click here for more information

Second War of Kappel 1531
... another war between (Protestant) Zürich and the (Catholic) Forest Cantons. Zwingli/Zürich again had banned grain trade with the Forest Cantons in order to coerce them to introduce the Protestant Reformation. The latter again had taken up arms; this time, at Kappel a battle was fought. The Forest Canton forces prevailed; Zwingli himself had fallen on the battlefield. Click here for more information

Swiss Guard
... in France (1516)-1792; in 1792 the Swiss Guard, after the Tuileries had been stormed and they had surrendered, were executed, down to the last man.
... in Rome since 1505. The papal Swiss Guard was, and is, recruited from Switzerland's Catholic Cantons.

Swiss Reformation
... Begun in Zürich by Huldrych Zwingli (-1531), continued in Zürich by Heinrich Bullinger. From 1541 onward, Geneva emerged as a new center of the Swiss Reformation (Guillaume Farel, Jean Calvin). Click here for more information

Swiss Reformed Church
... in German : Schweizer Reformierte Kirchen, established by Huldrych Zwingli (from 1523); from 1541 on, Jean Calvin shaped the Swiss Reformed Church into her present form. Organized on cantonal basis. Administrated by synods.

Villmergen War, First 1656
... When the 5 Catholic Cantons (Luzern, Uri, Schwyz, Nidwalden, Zug) in 1656 expelled a number of protestants and handed others over to the inquisition, Protestant Zürich declared war. The Catholic forces prevailed; the belligerents agreed to stick to the practise of leaving confession within the authority of the cantons. Click here for more information

Villmergen War, Second 1712
... A dispute between Protestant residents of Toggenburg against their sovereign, the Catholic abbot of St. Gallen. The Protestant cantons sided with the rebels, the Catholic cantons with the abbot; Switzerland's internal peace, according to which confession was regarded within the authority of the canton, was temporarily shattered. The protestants prevailed; the Catholic cantons lost their dominating position in the administration of federal territories. Click here for more information


Era of the French Revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte
..... go to narrative history of Switzerland 1798-1803 . 1803-1815

Act of Mediation 1803
... document, by which Napoleon Bonaparte abolished the Helvetic Republic and restored the Swiss Federation.

Helvetic Republic 1798-1803
... French satellite republic, into which the Swiss Federation was transformed in 1798. It lacked internal stability; in 1803 Napoleon Bonaparte reestablished the Swiss Federation, with himself as Mediator. Also called Helvetian Republic.

Lemanic Republic 1798-1803
... French satellite republic, covering the territory of Vaud, previously a Bernese possession. Incorporated into the Helvetic Republic in 1798; in 1803 transformed into Republic and Canton of Vaud.

Rauratian Republic 1798-1803
... short-lived French satellite republic, on the territory of the former Princebishopric of Basel. Annexed into France in 1793, annexed into Switzerland in 1815.

Simplon
... Alpine pass connecting Valais, Ticino; a mountain path route until Napoleon Bonaparte in 1801-1805 had had a road constructed across it. West-easterly direction.

St. Gallen
... in English sometimes spelled St. Gall. Canton created in 1803 by merging a number of smaller territories.

Swiss Franc
... introduced by the Helvetic Republic in 1799, replacing the various cantonal currencies.

Valais, Republic of 1802-1810
... French satellite republic, separated from the Helvetic Republic in 1802, annexed into France in 1810. The Valais (Wallis) was restored as a canton to Switzerland in 1815.


19th Century, 1815-1914
..... go to narrative history of Switzerland 1815-1830 . 1830-1848 . 1848-1874 . 1874-1891 . 1891-1914

Basel Land since 1833
... in 1833, the countryside section of the Canton of Basel, until then denied the right of participation in the political process by Basel City Council, split from the latter to form a separate canton.

Christian Democratic People's Party
... in German : Christlich Demokratische Volkspartei, in French : Parti Democrate-Chretienne Suisse, in Italian : Partito Popolare Democratico Svizzero); founded in 1840 as Ruswiler Verein, later renamed Catholic-Conservative Party, in 1912 renamed Swiss Conservative People's Party, 1957 in Conservative Christian-Social People's Party, in 1970 in Christian Democratic People's Party. Since 1891 represented in the Federal Council. Christian Conservative.

Council of States
... in German : Ständerat, in French : Conseil des Etats, in Italian : Consiglio degli Stati), smaller chamber of the Swiss parliament. Members are delegates of the individual Swiss cantons. Since 1848.

Federal Constitution of 1848
... adopted after the Sonderbund War of 1847, it strengthened the authority of the Federation versus the individual Cantons, established federal institutions and principles upon which government and legislation were to be based. It underwent a revision in 1874.

Kulturkampf 1846-1874
... in the early 19th century the Catholic cantons of Switzerland saw a conflict between Catholic liberals who wanted to limit the Catholic church to a private organization, and the conservatives who wanted the Catholic church to maintain her state functions, for instance in education. The conservatives (Ultramontanes) in their actions were supported by Pope Pius IX. After the Sonderbund War, the liberal constitution of 1848 was introduced. The papal infallibility dogma of 1871 split the Swiss Catholic Church, and attempts by the Swiss episcopate to discipline dissenters were responded to by cantonal authorities by the means of expulsions.

Latin Monetary Union
... established in 1865 by France, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland, whose currencies were placed on the same footing and made interchangeable. It functioned until 1914, when World War I created disparities which could no longer be bridged; formally abolished in 1927.

National Council
... in German : Nationalrat, in French : Conseil Nationale, in Italian : Consiglio Nazionale), larger chamber of the Swiss parliament, with 200 seats. Representatives are elected in federal elections. Since 1848.

Neutrality, Strict
... at the Vienna Congress 1815 Switzerland declared everlasting neutrality, a policy to which it strictly stuck during the last two centuries. The country joined the United Nations (which has one of her seats in Geneva) only in 2002, as opponents of the entry regarded membership a violation of the country's traditional neutrality.

Railways
... construction began in 1844; boom of railway construction 1855-1890, in 1882 transalpine St. Gotthard Railroad opened; Switzerland's railroads were nationalized in 1872-1909. Electrification of the railroad lines was completed in 1960.

Red Cross 1863-
... an organization devoted to help persons wounded in battle, irrespective of their nationality, as well as to victims of natural disasters etc. Founded upon the initiative of Jean Henri Dunant; headquarters of the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross, 1864) is Geneva, Dunant's hometown.

Social Democratic Party
... in German : Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz, in French : Parti Socialiste Suisse, in Italian : Partito Sozialiste Svizzero). Founded in 1888; since 1943 represented in the Swiss Federal Council. Party of the moderate left.

Sonderbund 1845-1847
... a special coalition of 7 Catholic Cantons rejecting liberal reforms. Members were Luzern, Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden (Ober-, Nidwalden), Zug, Fribourg and Valais. It lost the Sonderbund War of 1847 and then was dissolved.

Sonderbund War 1847
... a Swiss civil war, fought between the Swiss Federation and the Sonderbund (special coalition) of 7 Catholic Cantons rejecting liberal reforms. It ended with the victory of federal forces; the Sonderbund was dissolved. The war made possible the constitution of 1848.

Swiss Federation of Labor Unions
... in German : Schweizerischer Gewerkschaftsbund (SGB), established in 1880. Presently 15 member labour unions, representing c. 390,000 employees.


20th Century, since 1914
..... go to narrative history of Switzerland 1914-1918 . 1918-1930 . 1930-1939 . 1939-1945 . 1945-1949 . 1949-1968

Armed Neutrality WW II
... policy of deterring a German invasion by Switzerland showing resolute will to defend herself, even in the face of vast numerical superiority of the enemy. The idea was to deter an invasion, because the losses inflicted would outweigh the gains an invader could hope for.

Banking Secrecy
... imposed on Swiss bank employees by law in 1934. The discrete manner by which Swiss banks have treated clients have resulted in attracting many foreign clients.

Communist Party
... founded in 1926 by a group of politicians who split off from the Social Democratic Party. Later declared illegal, in 1944 the Swiss Party of Labour was founded; at federal elections it gained between 1 and 6 % of the votes.

Cultivation Battle WW II
... (in German : Anbauschlacht). Surrounded by German and Italian-held territory 1940-1944, Switzerland had to face the situation that her food imports declined. To make up for the difference, domestic food production was increased - the Anbauschlacht, and food available in stores was rationed.

Dormant Accounts
... it is believed that Swiss banks hold many accounts of victims of Nazi violence, and other accounts of deceased persons unclaimed by their heirs.

EFTA
... European Free Trade Association, founded in 1960. Switzerland is a founding member.

Food Rationing WW II
... (in German : Rationierung von Lebensmitteln). As Switzerland, both in World War I and II, was surrounded by belligerent nations and continued to depend on food imports, it faced a situation of food shortage. In order to ensure that every resident of Switzerland got his share, food rationing was introduced.

Frontenbewegung 1919-1945
... Swiss Fascist movement; in the 1920es Mussolini enjoyed some sympathies in Switzerland; from 1934 onward the movement declined, as Swiss public opinion distanced herself more and more from Nazi policies.

Jura
... created as a separate canton in 1979 by splitting the Catholic, French-speaking area off predominantly German-speaking Protestant Bern. Bern had acquired the territory at the Vienna Congress in 1815; prior to 1792 it had formed the Princebishopric of Basel.

League of Nations 1920-1945
... in French : Societe des Nations, in German : Völkerbund. Established in 1920, seat : Geneva, succeeded by the United Nations (established 1945).

Looted Assets
... assets of Jews deposited at Swiss banks. The Jewish holders then were coerced by the Nazis to transfer these assets to German banks; Swiss banks complied with these transfers without doubting their validity.

Magic Formula 1959-
... political agreement among the political parties of Switzerland, concerning the composition of the federal cabinet, in which the Swiss presidency annually rotates. Established in 1959. In German : Zauberformel

Raubgold
... German for : stolen gold. During WW II, Switzerland purchased a large amount of gold from the German Reichsbank - in fact, more than the latter had held prior to the war. Much of the excess gold is assumed to have been gold the Nazis had confiscated from former owners, of whom Jews are assumed to form a significant group.

Reduit WW II
... concept of an Alpine fortress, proposed by Swiss General Henri Guisan in 1940, as part of the concept of Armed Neutrality

Romandie
... term to describe the French-speaking parts of Switzerland - the Cantons of Geneva, Vaud, Neuchatel, Jura, and the French-speaking sections of the Cantons of Valais, Fribourg, Bern.

Röstigraben
... German term, literally translating to Fried Potato Trench. It separates the areas with French-speaking majority from those with German-speaking majority in western Switzerland.

Swiss Nuclear Program
... in 1958 in a referendum, the Swiss voted for starting a nuclear program. Progress was slow; the country lacked a potential testing site. In 1988 Switzerland officially declared to have given up on the option of developing nuclear weapons.

Swiss People's Party
... in German : Schweizerische Volkspartei, in French : Union Democratique du Centre, in Italian : Unione Democratica del Centro), emerged as the Swiss Farmers' Party in 1917; after merging with the Democratic parties of Glarus and Graubünden renamed Swiss People's Party in 1971. Since 1929 represented in the Swiss Federal Council, holding 1 out of 7 seats. Nationalist Conservative; labelled as Populist.

Verdingkinder
... German, translates to children auctioned off. Until 1950, in Switzerland it was general practice to offer orphans in a public bidding to adopting parents who charged the lowest amount for room and board. Many of the children treated this way suffered hardship and even abuse.

Women's Voting Right 1886-1971
... First petitioned for by women in Zürich in 1886; Swiss Association for Woman's Right to Vote est. in 1909; attempts to introduce it on a federal level in 1919, 1929, 1951 failed; it was finally introduced (on federal level) in 1971. In the conservative Canton of Appenzell-Innerrhoden it was introduced only in 1990, imposed on the canton by Switzerland's federal court.








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