Battle of Sörenberg

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Coordinates: 46°48′23″N 8°2′44″E / 46.80639°N 8.04556°E / 46.80639; 8.04556

Battle of Sörenberg
Date 1380
Location Sörenberg
Belligerents
 Old Swiss Confederacy:
   Obwalden
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg House of Habsburg:[clarification needed]
  Pic Entlebuch.png Entlebuch[clarification needed]

The Battle of Sörenberg was fought in 1380, between the Entlebuch (at the time subject to the House of Habsburg) and Obwalden (a canton of the early Swiss Confederacy). It was the culmination of a conflict over the right to alpine pastures (alps). The immediate cause was a cattle raid at an alp now known as Schlachtalp, at the slope of the Brienzer Rothorn, above the village Sörenberg.

According to legend, the invading people of Obwalden threw the local tenant into his cauldron of boiling rennet, killing him. They then collected the cattle and drove it away. The alp's landlord Peter of Thorberg is reported to have convinced the invaders to turn back. The tenant of the neighboring Blattalp, a man named Ring-Rüeg and nicknamed Windtrüeb, caught up with the invaders at Mörhalp, back in Obwalden territory beyond the Glaubenbühl Pass, who were drunk celebrating their successful raid. Wintrüeb entered the stable unnoticed and managed to steal back the cattle. The legend goes on to report a deception carried out by Windtrüeb involving cow bells, which for the 14th century is an anachronism. The Obwalden party pursued their lost booty in vain and vowed revenge. Several weeks later, they re-appeared in Entlebuch in arms. In the ensuing battle, the Entlebuch gained the upper hand, Windtrüeb killing the Obwalden banner bearer. In 1384, Windtrüeb was assassinated by the Obwalden party at Steinibach, as he was on his way from Sörenberg to Schüpfheim. He has a monument dedicated to him at Flühli, and a memorial stone marks the site of his assassination. A plaque at the Schlachtalp commemorates the event in explanation of the alp's name Schlacht "battle".

In the aftermath of the battle, the Entlebuch sought an alliance with Lucerne, and became a subject territory of that city, and by extension part of the Swiss Confederacy, in 1385. At the Battle of Sempach in 1386, Obwalden and Entlebuch fought side by side.

The memorial stone to Windtrüeb at Steinibach remained standing into the 17th century. In the Swiss peasant war of 1653, as the peasants were uniting under Christian Schybi, the people of Flühli rallied at the stone for their battle prayer, vowing to build a chapel at the spot should they return victorious. They were defeated and killed without exception, and the stone has since been weathered away.

References[edit]

  • Brun, Dominik, 'Sagen vom Streit zwischen Entlebuch und Obwalden und von Windtrüeb (14. Jh.)' Entlebucher Brattig, Verlag Kunstverein Amt Entlebuch (1989), 61-67.

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