From the beginnings to the Romans

The climate and topography attracted the earliest settlers to what is now present-day Switzerland.

Early and High Middle Ages

The period which followed on from the Roman Empire and lasted from around 500 to 1000 AD is generally referred to as the Early Middle Ages.

The Late Middle Ages and beyond

Since the end of the 19th century, the Federal Charter (Bundesbrief) of 1291 has been considered as the founding document of the present-day Swiss Confederation.

The Reformation

The Reformation, which began in the early 16th century, would divide western Christianity into two camps.

17th century

In the 17th century, the Confederation was beset by confessional tensions. Nevertheless, the cantons of the Confederation, unlike the Three Leagues, managed to stay out of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-48).

18th century

In terms of foreign relations, the 18th century was a peaceful time in which, after the Battle of Villmergen in 1712, religious tensions gradually began to ease.

Under French Rule (1798–1815)

The French Revolution and the subsequent Napoleonic Wars altered the face of Europe.

On the way to becoming a federal state (1815–1848)

In 1815, after their victory over Napoleon, the European powers wanted to partially restore pre-revolutionary conditions.

Switzerland in the 19th century

The founding of the Swiss federal state ushered in a period of greater stability as regards both domestic and foreign affairs.

Switzerland during the war years (1914–1945)

In the first half of the 20th century, Switzerland lived through not only two world wars but also an interwar period that saw a dramatic economic downturn and major political unrest.

Switzerland during the Cold War (1945–1989)

A consociational government, which was known as a “concordance government” and which included the Social Democrats, was formed during the post-war period.

Switzerland since 1989

The end of the Cold War and various globalisation processes rapidly and lastingly changed the economic and foreign policy landscape.