Swiss Timeline

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Timeline of Historical Events

  • 1291 Foundation of the Swiss Confederation.
  • 1484-1531 Swiss Reformation began in Zurich.
  • Early 1500’s First church records begin.
  • 1535 Anabaptist and Mennonite movements after 1535 began in the rural areas.
  • 1536 Jean Calvin came to Geneva and reformation began there.
  • 1545-1563 Catholic Counter Reformation
  • 1618-1648 30 Years’ War, Swiss confederacy remains peaceful
  • 1656, 1712 Civil Wars caused by religious strife
  • 1803-1815 Civil War brings Helvetic Republic to an end and Napoleon confirms Switzerland’s borders and its perpetual neutrality.
  • 1815-1830 Loose confederacy reestablished with 22 cantons.
  • 1817 Emigration of 3000 Swiss people for North and South America.
  • 1838 Church records have standardized columnar entries.
  • 1874 Final point of 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.
  • 1882-83 13,500 Swiss emigrate to US, Argentina, Canada and Brasil.1914-1918 World War I, Swiss neutrality.1918-1933 Economic crisis and inner conflicts.
  • 1918 Women allowed to vote.
  • 1933-1939 Hitler seen as a danger to Swiss independence.
  • 1939-1945 World War II, Swiss neutrality.
  • 1979 Canton Jura separates from Canton Bern.