Old Swiss Confederacy
|The History of Switzerland|
|Early history||up to 1291|
|Old Confederacy||1291 - 1513|
|Ancien R├ęgime||1648 - 1798|
|Napoleonic era||1798 - 1847|
|Federal state||1848 - 1914|
|World Wars||1914 - 1945|
|Modern history||since 1945|
The Old Swiss Confederacy was the precursor of modern-day Switzerland. The Eidgenossenschaft of the Swiss, as the confederacy was called, began as an alliance between the communities of the valleys in the central Alps to facilitate the management of common interests such as free trade and to ensure the peace along the important trade routes through the mountains. In the late Middle Ages, this region belonged to the Holy Roman Empire, and because of its strategic importance the Hohenstaufen emperors had granted it reichsfrei status in the early 13th century. As reichsfrei regions, the cantons (or regions) of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden were under the direct authority of the emperor without any intermediate liege lords and thus were relatively autonomous.
With the rise of the Habsburg dynasty, the kings and dukes of Habsburg sought to extend their influence over this region and to bring it under their rule; as a consequence, a conflict ensued between the Habsburgs and these mountain communities who tried to defend their privileged status as reichsfrei regions. The three founding cantons were joined in the early 14th century by the city states of Lucerne, Z├╝rich, and Berne, and they managed to defeat Habsburg armies on several occasions. They also profited from the fact that the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, for most of the 14th century, came from the House of Luxembourg and regarded them as potential useful allies against the rival Habsburgs. By 1460, the confederates controlled most of the territory south and west of the Rhine to the Alps and the Jura mountains. At the end of the 15th century, two wars resulted in an expansion to thirteen cantons (Dreizehn Orte): in the Burgundy Wars of the 1470s, the confederates asserted their hegemony on the western border, and their victory in the Swabian War in 1499 against the forces of the Habsburg emperor Maximilian I ensured a de facto independence from the empire.
Two similar federations sprung up in neighboring areas in the Alps in the 14th century: in the Grisons, the federation of the Three Leagues (Drei B├╝nde) was founded, and in the Valais, the Seven Tenths (Sieben Zenden) were formed as a result of the conflicts with the Dukes of Savoy. Both these federations were not part of the medieval Eidgenossenschaft but maintained very close connections with it.
Under the Hohenstaufen dynasty of the Holy Roman Empire, the three regions of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden (the Waldst├Ątten or "forest communities") had gained the Reichsfreiheit, the first two because the emperors wanted to place the strategically important pass of the St. Gotthard under their direct control, the latter because most of its territory belonged to reichsfrei monasteries. The cities of Berne and Z├╝rich had also become reichsfrei when the dynasty of their patrons, the Z├Ąhringer, had died out.
When the territories came under the rule of the house of Habsburg in the late 13th century, Rudolph I tried to revoke these privileges and sent reeves to oversee his rule. This act created some tensions and prompted the Waldst├Ątten to cooperate more closely, trying to preserve or regain their Reichsfreiheit. Following Rudolph'1291" title ="1291">1291, his son Albert I got involved in a power struggle with Adolf of Nassau for the German throne, and the Habsburg rule over the alpine territories weakened.
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width:24 fontsize:S textcolor:black anchor:from align:left color:Timeperiod barset:Timeperiod2 at:1291 text: "1291 Federal Charter" at:1315 text: "1315 Battle of Morgarten" from:1332 till:1353 text: "1332-1353 Expansion to the Acht Orte" at:1386 text: "1386 Battle of Sempach" at:1415 text: "1415 Annexation of the Aargau" from:1440 till:1450 text: "1440-50 Old Z├╝rich War" at:1460 text: "1460 Annexation of the Thurgau" from:1474 till:1477 text: "1474-78 Burgundy Wars" from:1481 till:1513 text: "1481-1513 Expansion to the Dreizehn Orte" at:1499 text: "1499 Swabian War" at:1512 text: "1512 Annexation of the Ticino~ and the Veltlin" shift:(-5,0) at:1515 text: "1515 Battle of Marignano" at:1536 text: "1536 Occupation of the Vaud"
The Federal Charter of 1291 is regarded the oldest surviving written document of an alliance between Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden. Its authenticity is disputed, and it is generally considered to have been written a few decades later. It is likely that a similar arrangement between the three "forest communities" existed well before, maybe even since the time of the interregnum. After the death of emperor Albert I in 1308, the German emperors came from the House of Luxembourg (with the exception of Louis IV from Bavaria) until 1438, and they reconfirmed the Freibriefe of the three communities and generally honored their status as reichsfrei regions. This did not prevent the dukes of Habsburg, who originally had had their homelands in the Aargau, from trying to reassert their sovereignty over the territories south of the Rhine.
In the struggle for the crown of the Holy Roman Empire in 1314 between duke Frederick I of Austria and the Bavarian king Louis IV, the Waldst├Ątten sided with the Wittelsbacher for fear of the Habsburgs trying to annex their counties again, like Rudolph I had done. The Habsburgs responded by sending a strong army of knights against them to subdue their insurrection and to gain control over the St. Gotthard pass, but the Austrian army of Frederick'Leopold_I_of_Austria_%28Habsburg%29" title ="Leopold I of Austria (Habsburg)">Leopold I was utterly defeated in the Battle of Morgarten in 1315. The three cantons renewed their alliance, and Louis IV reconfirmed their Reichsfreiheit.
Expansion to the Acht Orte
Subsequently, the three communities (their territories did not yet correspond to the areas of the modern-day cantons) followed a slow policy of expansion. Uri entered a pact with the previously Habsburg valley of Urseren in 1317. In 1332, the city of Lucerne, trying to achieve Reichsfreiheit from the Habsburgs, joined the alliance. In 1351, these four forest communities (Vier Waldst├Ątten, a name that lives on in the German name of Lake Lucerne) were joined by the city of Z├╝rich, where a strong citizenship had gained power following the installation of the Zunftordnung (guild laws) and the banning of the noble authorities in 1336. The city also sought support against the Habsburg city of Rapperswil, which had tried to overthrow mayor Rudolf Brun in Z├╝rich in 1350. With the help of its new allies, Z├╝rich was able to withstand the siege of duke Albert II of Austria, and the confederates even conquered the city of Zug and the valley of Glarus in 1352. They had to return both Glarus and Zug to the Habsburgs in the peace treaty of Regensburg in 1356; emperor Charles IV in return recognized the Zunftordnung of Z├╝rich and confirmed its reichsfrei status in spite of his having forbidden any confederations within the empire in his Golden Bull issued in January of that same year.
The Eidgenossenschaft had signed "perpetual" alliances with both Glarus and Zug in 1352, and thus, even if these pacts apparently were disregarded only a few years later, this date is often considered the entry of these two cantons into the confederation despite their remaining under Habsburg rule for a few more years.
In the west, the Vier Waldst├Ątten had already formed an alliance with the city of Berne in 1323, and even sent a detachment to help the Bernese forces in their territorial expansion against the dukes of Savoy and the Habsburgs in the Battle of Laupen in 1339. In 1353, Berne entered an "eternal" alliance with the confederation, completing the "alliance of the eight places" (Bund der Acht Orte).
This alliance of the Acht Orte was a not a homogeneous state but rather a conglomerate of eight independent cities and lands, held together not by one single pact but by a net of six different "eternal" pacts, none of which included all eight parties as signatories. Only the three Waldst├Ątten Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden were part of all these treaties. All eight parties would still pursue their own particular interests, most notably in the cases of the strong cities of Z├╝rich and Berne. Z├╝rich was also part of an alliance of cities around Lake Constance which also included Constance, Lindau and Schaffhausen and for some time included cities as far away as Rottweil or Ulm, and Berne followed its own hegemonial politics, participating successively in various alliances with other cities including Fribourg, Murten, Biel or Solothurn. This Bernese "Burgundian Confederation" was a more volatile construct of varying alliances, and in the Battle of Laupen, Fribourg even sided against Berne. Berne'Burgdorf" title ="Burgdorf">Burgdorf or Payerne.
In 1364, Schwyz re-conquered the city and land of Zug and renewed the alliance the following year. In the 1380s, Lucerne expanded its territory aggressively, conquering Wolhusen, claiming sovereignity over the valley of the Entlebuch and the formerly Habsburg city of Sempach. As a consequence, Leopold III of Austria assembled an army and met the Eidgenossen near Sempach in 1386, where his troops were defeated decisively in the Battle of Sempach and he himself was killed. In the wake of these events Glarus declared itself free and constituted its first Landsgemeinde (regional diet) in 1387. In the Battle of N├Ąfels in 1388, an Austrian army of Albert III, the successor of Leopold, was defeated, and in the peace treaty concluded the next year, Glarus maintained its independence from the Habsburgs.
The loose federation of states was reinforced by additional agreements amongst the partners. In the Pfaffenbrief of 1370, the signatory six states (without Berne and Glarus) for the first time expressed themselves as a territorial unity, referring to themselves as unser Eydgnosschaft. They assumed in this document authority over clericals, subjecting them to their worldly legislation. Furthermore, the Pfaffenbrief forbade feuds and the parties pledged to guarantee the peace on the road from Z├╝rich to the St. Gotthard pass. Another important treaty was the Sempacherbrief in 1393. Not only was this the first document signed by all eight of the Acht Orte (plus the associated Solothurn), but it also defined that none of them was to unilaterally start a war without the consent of all the others.
Beginning in 1401, the confederates supported the insurrection of Appenzell against the abbey of St. Gallen and Frederick IV of Austria, duke in Tyrol and Vorder├Âsterreich. Appenzell became a protectorate of the Acht Orte in 1411, who concluded a 50-year peace with Frederick IV in 1412.
Emperor Sigismund banned Frederick IV in 1415, who had sided with Antipope John XXIII at the Council of Constance, and encouraged others to take over the duke'Aargau" title ="Aargau">Aargau. After being granted far-reaching privileges by the emperor (all eight cantons became reichsfrei) and a decree that placed the ban over the peace treaty of 1412, the Eidgenossen conquered the Aargau. A large part became Bernese, while the County of Baden was subsequently administered by the confederation as a common property until 1798. Only the Fricktal remained Habsburgian.
In the Valais, the conflict between the bishop of Sion and the Duchy of Savoy, which had led to a separation in 1301 (the bishop controlling the upper Valais and the Savoyards the lower part), broke out again. Twice the Savoyards temporarily occupied the whole Valais, but both times they were ultimately defeated. Both peace treaties from 1361 and 1391 restored the status quo of 1301. As a result of these struggles, the villages in the upper Valais organized themselves in the Sieben Zenden ("seven tenths") around 1355, emerging after these wars as largely independent small states, much like the cantons of the Eidgenossenschaft.
In the Grisons, called Churwalchen then, the bishop of Chur and numerous local noble families competed for the control of the region with its many alpine passes. Throughout the 14th century, three leagues of free communities appeared. The Gotteshausbund ("League of the House of God"), covering the area around Chur and the Engadin, was founded when the bishop in 1367 planned to hand over the administration of his diocese to the Austrian Habsburgs. It bought its freedom by paying the bishop's debt and in the following decades increased its control over the secular administration of the princebishopric, until the bishop'1452" title ="1452">1452. In the upper valley of the Rhine, the Grauer Bund ("Gray League") was founded in 1395 under the direction of the abbot of Disentis and including not only the peasant communities but also the local nobles to end the permanent feuds of the latter. By 1424 the Gray League was dominated by the free communities and gave itself a more democratic charter.
The relationships between the individual cantons of the confederation was not without tensions, though. A first clash between Berne and the Vier Waldst├Ątten over the Raron conflict (Berne supported the barons of Raron, while the forest cantons sided with the Sieben Zenden) in the upper Valais was barely avoided. The local noble barons of Raron established themselves as the leading family in the upper valais in the late 14th century and competed with the bishop of Sion for the control of the valley. When emperor Sigismund designated them counts in 1413 and ordered the bishop to hand over his territories to the von Raron, a revolt broke out in 1414. The following year, both rulers had lost: the von Raron had not succeeded in ousting the bishop, who in turn had to concede far-reaching rights to the sieben Zenden in the treaty of Seta in 1415.
The Old Z├╝rich War, which began as a dispute over the succession to the count of Toggenburg, was more serious test of the unity of the Acht Orte. Z├╝rich did not accept the claims of Schwyz and Glarus, which were supported by the rest of the cantons, and in 1438 declared an embargo. The other members of the confederation expelled Z├╝rich from the confederation in 1440 and declared war. In retaliation Z├╝rich made a pact with the Habsburgs in 1442. The other cantons invaded the canton of Z├╝rich and besieged the city, but were unable to capture it. By 1446, both sides were exhausted, and a preliminary peace was concluded. In 1450, the parties made a definitive peace and Z├╝rich was admitted into the confederation again, but had to dissolve its alliance with the Habsburgs. The confederation had grown into a political alliance so close that it no longer tolerated infighting or external alliances.
In the following years, the confederation expanded its territory further. It concluded bilateral treaties and accepted as associates, but not yet as full members of the confederation (Zugewandte Orte) Schaffhausen, Fribourg, St. Gallen in 1454, Rottweil in 1463 and Mulhouse in 1466. The confederation conquered the Habsburg Thurgau in the 1460s, which became a commonly administered property.
The end of the dynasty of the counts of Toggenburg in 1436 also had effects on the Grisons. In their former territories in the Pr├Ąttigau and Davos, the (initially eleven, after a merger only ten) villages founded the Zehngerichtebund ("League of the Ten Jurisdictions"). By 1471, the three leagues, together with the city of Chur, had formed a close federation, based on military assistance and free trade pacts between the partners and including a common federal diet: the Drei B├╝nde was born, even though the alliance would be officially concluded in a written contract only in 1524.
The Burgundy Wars
The Burgundy Wars were an involvement of confederate forces in the conflict between the Valois Dynasty and the Habsburgs. The aggressive expansionism of the Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, brought him in conflict with both the French king Louis XI and emperor Frederick III of the House of Habsburg. His embargo politics against the cities of Basel, Strassburg and Mulhouse prompted these to turn to Berne for help.
The conflicts culminated in 1474, after duke Sigismund of Austria had concluded a peace agreement with the confederates in Constance (later called the Ewige Richtung). The confederates, united with the Alsacian cities and Sigismund in an "anti-burgundian league", conquered part of the Burgundian Jura (Franche-Comt├ę), and the next year, Bernese forces conquered and ravaged the Vaud, which belonged to the Duchy of Savoy, which in turn was allied with Charles the Bold. The Sieben Zenden, with the help of Bernese and other confederate forces, drove the Savoyards out of the lower Valais after a victory in the Battle on the Planta in November 1475. In 1476, Charles retaliated and marched to Grandson with his army, but suffered three devastating defeats in a row, first in the Battle of Grandson, then in the Battle of Murten, until he was killed in the Battle of Nancy in 1477, where the confederates fought alongside an army of Ren├ę II, Duke of Lorraine. There is a proverbial saying in Switzerland summarizing these events as "Bi Grandson s'Guet, bi Murte de Muet, bi Nancy s'Bluet" (h├Ąt de Karl de K├╝eni verloore) ("[Charles the Bold lost] his goods at Grandson, his boldness at Murten and his blood at Nancy").
As a result of the Burgundy Wars, the dynasty of the dukes of Burgundy had died out. Berne returned the Vaud to the duchy of Savoy against a ransom of 50'Guilder" title ="Guilder">guilders already in 1476, and sold its claims on the Franche-Comt├ę to Louis XI for 150'1479" title ="1479">1479. The confederates only kept small territories east of the Jura mountains, especially Grandson and Murten, as common dependencies of Berne and Fribourg. The whole Valais, however, would henceforth be independent, and Berne would reconquer the Vaud in 1536. While the territorial effects of the Burgundy Wars on the confederation were minor, they marked the beginning of the rise of Swiss mercenaries on the battlefields of Europe.
In the Burgundy Wars, the Swiss soldiers had gained a reputation of near invincibility, and their mercenary services became increasingly sought after by the great European political powers of the time.
Shortly after the Burgundy Wars, individual cantons concluded mercenary contracts with many parties, including the Pope — the papal Swiss Guard was founded in 1505 and became operational the next year. More contracts were made with France (a Swiss Guard of mercenaries would be destroyed in the storm of the Tuileries in Paris in 1792), the Duchy of Savoy, Austria, and still others. Swiss mercenaries would play an initially important, but later minor role on European battlefields until well into the 18th century.
Swiss forces soon got involved in the open conflict between the Valois and the Habsburgs over the control of northern Italy. From 1512 on, the confederates fought on the side of Pope Julius II and his Holy League against the French in territories south of the Alps. After initial successes and having conquered large parts of the territory of Milan, they were utterly defeated by a French army in the Battle of Marignano in 1515, which put an end to military territorial interventions of the confederation, mercenary services under the flags of foreign armies excepted. The result of this short intermezzo were the gain of the Ticino as a common administrative region of the confederacy and the occupation of the valley of the Adda river (Veltlin, Bormio, and Chiavenna) by the Drei B├╝nde, which would remain a dependency of the Grisons until 1797 with a brief interruption during the Thirty Years War.
The Dreizehn Orte
Both Fribourg and Solothurn, which had participated in the Burgundy Wars, wanted to join the confederation following the war, which would have tipped the balance in favour of the city cantons. The rural cantons were thus strongly opposed and threatened civil war, and the Tagsatzung at Stans in 1481 was close to failure. Through the mediation of Niklaus von der Fl├╝e, a compromise was found, and in the Stanser Verkommnis, the two city cantons were admitted into the confederation.
After isolated bilateral pacts between the leagues in the Grisons and some cantons of the confederation had already existed since the early 15th century, the federation of the Drei B├╝nde as a whole became an associate state of the confederation in 1498 by concluding alliance agreements with the seven easternmost cantons.
When the confederates refused to accept the resolutions of the Reichstag of 1495 in Worms, the Swabian War (Schwabenkrieg, also called the Schweizerkrieg in Germany) broke out in 1499, opposing the confederation against the Swabian League and emperor Maximilian I. After some battles around Schaffhausen, in the Austrian Vorarlberg and in the Grisons, where the confederates were victorious more often than not, the Battle of Dornach, where the emperor's commander was killed, put an end to the war. In September 1499, a peace agreement was concluded at Basel that effectively established a de facto independence of the Eidgenossenschaft from the empire, although it continued legally to be part of the Holy Roman Empire until after the Thirty Years War.
As a direct consequence of the Swabian War the previously associated city states of Basel and Schaffhausen joined the confederation in 1501. In 1513, the Appenzell followed suit as the thirteenth member. The cities of St. Gallen, Biel, Mulhouse and Rottweil as well as the Drei B├╝nde in the Grisons were all associates of the confederation (Zugewandte Orte); the Valais would become an associate state in 1529.
Myths and legends
The events told in the saga of William Tell, which are purported to have occurred around 1307, are not substantiated by historical evidence. This story, like the related story of the R├╝tlischwur (the oath on the R├╝tli, a meadow above Lake Lucerne), seems to have its origins in the late 15th century Weisse Buch von Sarnen, a collection of folk tales from 1470, and is generally considered a fictitious glorification of the independence struggles of the Waldst├Ątten.
The legend of Arnold von Winkelried likewise is first recorded in the middle of the 16th century; earlier accounts of the Battle of Sempach do not mention him. Winkelried is said to have opened a breach in the lines of the Austrian footsoldiers by throwing himself into their lances, taking them down with his body such that the confederates could attack through the opening.
The developments beginning in about the 13th century had profound effects on the society. Gradually the population of serfs changed into one of free peasants and citizens. In the cities—which were small by modern standards; Basel had about 10,000 inhabitants, Z├╝rich, Berne, Lausanne, and Fribourg about 5,000 each—the development was a natural one, for the liege lords very soon gave the cities a certain autonomy, in particular over their internal administration. At the beginning of the 14th century, the artisans in the cities began forming guilds and increasingly took over political control, especially in the cities along the Rhine, e.g. in the Alsace, in Basel, Schaffhausen, Z├╝rich, or Chur. (But not, for instance, in Bern or Lucerne—or, in Germany, Frankfurt—where a stronger aristocracy seems to have inhibited such a development.) The guild cities had a relatively democratic structure, with a city council elected by the citizens.
In the rural areas, people generally had less freedom, but some lords furthered the colonization of remote areas by granting some privileges to the colonists. One well-known colonization movement was that of the Walser from the Valais to the Grisons, colonizing some valleys there in the 14th century. In the mountainous areas, a community management of common fields, alps, and forests (the latter being important as a protection against avalanches) soon developed, and the communes in a valley cooperated closely and began buying out the noble landowners or simply to dispossess them of their lands. Regional diets, the Landsgemeinde, were formed to deal with the administration of the commons; it also served as the high court and to elect representatives, the Landamman.
Although both poor and rich citizens or peasants had the same rights (though not the same status), not all people were equal. Immigrants into a village or city had no political rights and were called the Hintersassen. In rural areas, they had to pay for their use of the common lands. They were granted equal rights only when they acquired the citizenship, which not only was a question of wealth (for they had to buy their citizenship), but they also had to have lived there for some time; especially in the rural areas.
The cities followed an expansionist territorial politics to gain control over the surrounding rural areas, on which they were dependent, using military powers or more often more subtle means such as buying out, or accepting as citizens the subjects (and thereby freeing them: "Stadtluft macht frei"—"city air liberates") of a liege lord. It was the cities, now, that instituted reeves to manage the administration, but this only sometimes and slowly led to a restriction of the communal autonomy of the villages. The peasants owned their land, the villages kept administering their commons; and the villagers participated in the jury of the city reeve's court. They had, however, to provide military service for the city, which on the other hand included the right to own and carry weapons.
Basel became the center of higher education and science in the second half of the 15th century. The city had hosted the Council of Basel from 1431 to 1447, and in 1460, an University was founded, which eventually would attract many notable thinkers, such as Erasmus or Paracelsus.
The population of the cantons numbered about 600,000 in the 1400s and grew to about 800,000 by the 1500s. The grain production sufficed only in some of the lower regions; most areas were dependent on imports of oats, barley, or wheat. In the Alps, where the yield of grains had always been particularly low due to the climatic conditions, a transition from farming to the production of cheese and butter from cow milk occurred. As the roads got better and safer, a lively trade with the cities developed.
The cities were the marketplaces and important trading centers, being located on the major roads through the Alps. Textile manufacture, where St. Gallen was the leading center, developed. Cheese (esp. Emmentaler and Gruy├Ęre) also was a major export item. The exports of the Swiss cities went far, until the Levant or to Poland.
In the late 15th century, the mercenary services became also an important economic factor. The Reisl├Ąuferei, as the mercenary service was called, attracted many young adventurous Swiss who saw in it a way to escape the relative poverty of their homes. Not only the mercenaries themselves were paid, but also their home cantons, and the Reisl├Ąuferei, while being heavily criticized already at that time as a heavy drain on the human resources of the confederation, became popular in particular among the young peasants from the rural cantons.
Initially, the Eidgenossenschaft was not united by one single pact, but rather by a whole set of overlapping pacts and separate bilateral treaties between various members, with only minimum liabilities. The parties generally agreed to preserve the peace in their territories, help each other in military endeavours, and defined some arbitration in case of disputes. The Sempacherbrief from 1393 was the first treaty uniting all eight cantons, and subsequently, a kind of federal diet, the Tagsatzung developed in the 15th century. The second unifying treaty later became the Stanser Verkommnis in 1481.
The Tagsatzung typically met several times a year. Each canton delegated two representatives; typically this also included the associate states. Initially, the canton where the delegates met chaired the gathering, but in the 16th century, Z├╝rich permanently assumed the chair (Vorort), and Baden became the sessional seat.
The Tagsatzung dealt with all inter-cantonal affairs and also served as the final arbitral court to settle disputes between member states, or to decide on sanctions against dissenting members, as happened in the Old Z├╝rich War. It also organized and oversaw the administration of the commons such as the County of Baden, the Thurgau, in the Rhine valley between Lake Constance and Chur, or those in the Ticino. The reeves for these commons were delegated for two years, each time by a different canton.
Despite its informal character (there was no formal legal base describing its competencies), the Tagsatzung was an important instrument of the eight, later thirteen cantons to decide inter-cantonal matters. It also proved instrumental in the development of a sense of unity among these sometimes highly individual cantons. Slowly, they defined themselves as the Eidgenossenschaft and considered themselves less as thirteen separate states with only loose bonds between.
- Swiss Historical Encyclopedia (in German, French, Italian and Rumanch).
- Zug and the Eidgenossenschaft (PDF, 359 KB; in German).
- The Burgundy Wars (in German).
- The Tagsatzung (in German).
- The Hintersassen (in German).
- The Old Swiss Confederation by Markus Jud (in English and German).
- Switzerland in the Middle Ages by "Presence Switzerland", an official body of the Swiss Confederation. (In English, available also in many other languages.)
- Im Hof, U: Geschichte der Schweiz, Kohlhammer, 1974/2001. ISBN 3-170-14051-1
- Schwabe & Co.: Geschichte der Schweiz und der Schweizer, Schwabe & Co 1986/2004. ISBN 3-796-52067-7
- Luck, James M.: A History of Switzerland / The First 100,000 Years: Before the Beginnings to the Days of the Present, Society for the Promotion of Science & Scholarship, Palo Alto 1986. ISBN 0-930-66406-X
- Schneider, B. (ed.): Alltag in der Schweiz seit 1300, Chronos 1991. ISBN 3-905-27870-7
- Stettler, B: Die Eidgenossenschaft im 15. Jahrhundert, Widmer-Dean 2004. ISBN 3-952-29270-2