Timeline of Swiss history

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This is a timeline of Swiss history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Switzerland and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Switzerland.

Centuries: 13th · 14th · 15th · 16th · 17th · 18th · 19th · 20th · 21st

13th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1291 August The three Waldstätte of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden signed the Federal Charter of 1291 establishing the Old Swiss Confederacy, a confederation for mutual defense and the adjudication of disputes.

14th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1307 8 November The leaders of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden swore the Rütlischwur, an oath of unity and common defense, on the Rütli above Lake Lucerne.[1]
1315 15 November Battle of Morgarten. Swiss infantry ambushed and destroyed much of a Habsburg heavy cavalry army near Lake Ägeri.[2]
1315 9 December Following the victory at Morgarten, Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden sign a second Federal Charter strengthening the Confederacy.
1332 Lucerne signs a mutual protection treaty with the three Confederates.[3]
1367 29 January Creation of the League of God's House in the Canton of Graubünden to resist the Bishopric of Chur and the Habsburgs.[4]
1386 9 July Battle of Sempach. Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden and Zürich decisively defeat a Habsburg army. The victory begins to change the Confederation from a loose pact into a unified entity and allows expansion into former Habsburg lands.[5]
1395 14 February Creation of the Grey League in Graubünden as the abbot of Disentis Abbey, the Baron of Rhäzüns and the Baron of Sax-Misox sign an eternal alliance.[6]

15th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1436 30 April Death of Friedrich VII of Toggenburg, without an heir. Competing land claims in eastern Switzerland and western Austria led to the Old Zurich War.[7]
1436 8 June Creation of the League of the Ten Jurisdictions in Graubünden after the extinction of the Counts of Toggenburg.[8]
1440-1450 Old Zurich War between Zurich and the Habsburgs against the remainder of the Confederation over the Toggenburg lands. At the end of the war, Zurich had to dissolve its alliance with the Habsburgs and rejoin the Confederation.[7]

16th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1524 23 September The Free State of the Three Leagues is formed from the League of God's House, the Grey League and the League of the Ten Jurisdictions

17th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1648 October The Treaty of Westphalia ends the Thirty Years War and contains a special provision on Switzerland, endorsing the process begun in 1499. With this treaty, European powers recognise the Swiss Confederation as an independent state.

18th century[edit]

19th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1843 June The first Schweizerisches Gesangsfest, a singing festival, was held in Zürich.
1847 3 November Sonderbund War: In the midst of a political crisis, troops from Uri, a member of the Sonderbund, a separate alliance of Catholic cantons of Switzerland, seized the Gotthard Pass between the northern and southern halves of the country.
1848 12 September A new constitution was issued establishing Switzerland as a federal state with a bicameral Federal Assembly.
1874 19 April The constitution was revised to establish free public education and the optional referendum, and to make it easier for Swiss citizens to move between cantons.[9]
1877 19 June The Aare flooded, causing significant damage.[9]

20th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1918 30 September Bankers in Zürich walked out in their first ever strike amidst growing unrest over the rising cost of living. A local general strike then broke out in support of their demand a pay rise and was successful.
1920 10 January The League of Nations, an intergovernmental organization established for the purposes of collective security and international arbitration, came into existence, with Switzerland among its founding members.[10]
1934 Creates numbered bank accounts, giving account holder anonymity.[11]
1958 12 July The Swiss government announced its intention to develop and build a nuclear arsenal.
1963 6 May Switzerland joined the Council of Europe, a body dedicated to the promotion of good governance and human rights in Europe.
1971 7 February A referendum granting women the right to vote in federal elections was approved with sixty-six percent of the vote.
1978 24 September A referendum approved the secession of the French-speaking canton of Jura from the mostly German-speaking canton of Bern.[12]

21st century[edit]

Year Date Event
2002 10 September Switzerland joined the United Nations, an intergovernmental organization devoted to the preservation of world peace and economic development.


  1. ^ Benjamin Vincent (1910), "Switzerland", Haydn's Dictionary of Dates (25th ed.), London: Ward, Lock & Co. – via HathiTrust
  2. ^ Morgarten War in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  3. ^ Canton of Lucerne in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  4. ^ League of God's House in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  5. ^ Sempach War in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  6. ^ Grey League in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  7. ^ a b Old Zurich War in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  8. ^ League of the Ten Jurisdictions in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  9. ^ a b George Henry Townsend (1877), "Switzerland", Manual of Dates (5th ed.), London: Frederick Warne & Co.
  10. ^ Leo Schelbert (2014). "Chronology". Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (2nd ed.). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN 978-1-4422-3352-2.
  11. ^ Mowbray, Sean (7 July 2017). "12 Moments That Shaped Switzerland's History". Culture Trip. 1934 – The Banking Secrecy Act of 1934
  12. ^ "Switzerland Profile: Timeline", BBC News, retrieved 15 September 2015