First War of Villmergen, 1656

In German referred to as Erster Villmerger Krieg.
The two wars of Kappel 1529 and 1531 had resulted in a Swiss agreement, which recognized the confession as a matter of the respective Canton. While Catholic minorities in protestant cantons were granted toleration, no such protection was foreseen for protestant minorities in Catholic cantons. Most of all, the Catholic cantons dominated in the territories under common rule.
The 5 Catholic cantons (Luzern, Schwyz, Nidwalden, Uri, Zug) in 1656 expelled 37 protestants; 3 were handed over to the Inquisition, 4 were executed. The protestant canton of Zürich declared war, intending to reverse the arrangement.
Zürich forces laid siege to Rapperswil (a Catholic territory commonly ruled by the regular members of the Swiss federation); Bernese forces marched into the Aargau. At Villmergen Bernese and Catholic forces met, the latter prevailing. At Villmergen an agreement was concluded which left the religious specifications of earlier agreements unchanged.
In 1657 there were fears for the war to resume. Tension would remain; in 1712 the Second War of Villmergen would be fought.

Villmerger Kriege, from Hintergrund und Aktuelles, in German

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on February 27th 2004, last revised on November 19th 2004

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