According to Countryaah data, Celtic tribes – of which the most important of them, the Helles, settled between the Alps and the Jurassic Mountains – inhabited Switzerland’s present territory before Roman colonization. Due to the strategic location of the area for Rome, with access to its domain by road, the alpine valleys north of the Italian peninsula were conquered by Emperor Julius Caesar in the year 58 BCE
The Germanic tribes from the north of the Rhine invaded Helvetia from the year 260 onwards. Between the 5th and 6th centuries, the Germans were permanent occupiers of the region east of the river Aare, along with groups of Burgundians and Franks. About the year 639 the latter had formed the kingdoms which later became France.
The last Christians of the Roman occupation had completely disappeared when the missionaries from San Columban and San Gall arrived there in the 6th century, and created dioceses and Benedictine monasteries in Chur, Zion, Basel, Constance and Lausanne. They were later followed by several others – i.e. in Saint-Gall, Zurich, Disentis and Romainmotier.
Until the division in Verdun, which took place in the year 843, these territories belonged to the empire of Charlemagne. Since then, the area west of the River Aare was assigned to Lotario, while the area east of the river remained in Luis’s hands. The French and German influences were here blended in a very special way with the Roman Catholic Church’s Latin tradition.
Around the year 1033, for dynastic and political reasons, Helvetia became part of the German-Roman Empire and remained so until the late Middle Ages. The area was divided in the 11th century because of the reintroduction of imperial authority and conflict with the papacy. Nevertheless, dukes, graves and bishops practically independently exercised their local power.
The fortified cities served as administrative, commercial and defense centers for the dominant families, seeking to expand their possessions through wars against other lords and kingdoms. In the 13th century, Rudolf IV of Habsburg conquered most of the territory of Kyborg and became the area’s most powerful gentleman.
In the cities, a sense of freedom developed in relation to the nobility. Especially among the agricultural communities of the most inaccessible valleys, who held very close together through economic cooperation, to sustain life in difficult conditions, and refused forced labor and payment to the feudal lords in the form of money or in kind.
In 1231, Uri came under the rule of the German-Roman Empire and in 1240 Schwytz and Nidwald became subordinate to Emperor Frederick II, but retained the right to elect his own judges. The Habsburg gentlemen were skeptical of this freedom, and the uncertainty remained until Rudolf of Habsburg was appointed king of Germany in 1273. Until his death in 1291, he left his superpower in Uri, Schwytz and Unterwald. Then these areas formed the Eternal Covenant.
The Eternal Covenant consisted of an agreement to decide mutual disputes, to allow the law to prevail instead of the violence, and to self-defense. The judges were to be descended from these cantons and to perform the duties in an honorable manner.
The Union of the cantons of Uri, Schwytz and Unterwald, to which the city of Zurich joined, became the first historical precursor of the Swiss Federation, strengthened by the victory of the Battle of Morgarten, in 1315, against the cavalry army sent by the Habsburg House to force the area the imperial law.
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According to thesciencetutor, the road to the Federation was paved through the new alliances. In 1332, the federation signed a pact with the city of Lucerne, which until then had been dependent on Vienna. In 1351, Zurich confirmed its accession and in 1353 Bern joined, then the cantons of Glaris and Zug, thereby forming the core capable of forming an independent state in the middle of the Germanic Empire.