Up Gruet

Sitemap
 
Contact

Snapshots

 
E

N

G

L

I

S

H
Home
Hiking
Walks
Infos
Transport
Imagemap
Links
GPS
UK_flag Summary
 
D

E

U

T

S

C

H
Home
Wandern
Spazieren
Infos
Transport
Imagemap
Links
GPS
D_flag Summary
 
reisen.ch - das Reiseportal der Schweiz
Schweizer Seiten

ISOS
Ortsbilder
Heritage sites

History

How did today's social, economic, political system develop? In the following some notes about it.

Early time: Development in roman times. The construction of the "Korporation", which up to this days is still playing an important role.
The "Saumweg": A inconspicuous creek crossing reminds on the past. Cuts in the forest are ancient wagon tracks.
Founding of the Swiss Federation: The founding of today's Switzerland was a slow process.
Time around 1800: Declaration of Independence of the English colonies in North America and foundation of the USA. French revolution. Suworow's march over the alps. Europe is in turmoil and in this martial times today's Switzerland is born.
Today: In the Zug area are lots of old Bunkers and other fortifications; some remarks.
A peek at statistics
Baar Church tower
Joel R. Poinsett

 

Early time

After the Romans had extended their empire, the Alemanns pushed south. In the 5th century by crossing the protecting walls (the Limes) in the north,  they began  settling in what was to become the German speaking part of Switzerland. The Romans and the Alemanns adjusted to the facts.

The Alemanns had a sophisticated system of administration. They had bodies of hundred (Hundertschaft, military unit). This was the basic unit of "government" with a leader. Inside this units land was given to the members for building house and stables. Each of the members had the right to drive a certain number of cattle to the common land (Allmend) for grazing. The forest was for  collective exploitation. The common fields too were divided among the members. There was a 3-field system in use for alternating use:

  field 1 field 2 field 3
year 1 winter fruit summer fruit regeneration
year 2 summer fruit regeneration winter fruit
year 3 regeneration winter fruit summer fruit

Up to this days  major parts of this organization are still in operation in many parts of Central Switzerland, so in Baar. Land and forests used collectively by the members of the unit is still in the possession of the "Korporation" and managed by them. In the 1500 years there were many changes in rulers and owners of land and regions (the Habsburg's, monastery's). The farmers though had always a certain freedom in there decisions, - and they were using it.
Church and Tower St. MartinA striking symbol for freedom and independence is up to these days illustrated in the "Patriarch"-, or "Lothringer", double-cross atop the church tower of the Catholic church. Also the term "alt fry Baar" (old free Baar) is used quite often, and not only in old letters.

As a member of the Korporation you had two rights: the membership (citizenship) and the exploitation right (Nutzen). You got this right by ancestry, by enfranchisement (restrictive), or by marital birth (marriage with women from "outside" was accepted). The membership could get revoked when leaving without caring for renewal.
Only after the 14th century was it common to use the family name.

Usterbank

The example of this wooden bank on lovely location on Baar Oberallmend may give a picture of the exploitation rules:

In 2001/2002 Hanspeter Uster, a citizen of the Korporation Baar, had become Landamman of the Kanton Zug (highest rank of the executive of the canton).

UsterbankSince he had some time ago moved from Baar to neighboring Inwil (belonging to Baar too) his exploitation rights were revoked.

With tongue in cheek, the Korporationsrat decided that her prominent Emigrant should nevertheless have some part of exploitation ("Nutzen"): he was given this bank to "exploit".
Of course the bank may be used by ordinary people as well.

Back to top of page
 

 

The "Korporation" was also careful to keep the size of their possessions. Generally (up to this days) land was not to be sold. If land was sold, usually replacement was purchased. Selling land inside the community was hindered by applying taxes. Outsiders were able to become members of the unit ("Buerger"), but they didn't get automatically exploitation rights. 
Nevertheless the Korporation is often generous by giving away land for public use (schools, hospital). Some years ago land was given in "Baurecht" (longtime lease for building private homes at reasonable costs) to about 80 family's living in Baar.

With the "Immigration" a second level of organization was necessary: the "Buergergemeinde". It represented the citizens of the members of the "Korporation" with exploitation rights (Nutzen) plus members without those rights. 
Soon an additional "immigrant" was appearing: persons with citizenship outside the community and no exploitation rights. Therefore an additional organization, the "Einwohnergemeinde" was developed as the political community. An additional body was and still is the (catholic) "Kirchgemeinde". 
The roads and rivers were important issues. There were precise agreements about the right for using roads and about maintaining them. Because Baar was on a major trade route (Zug to Horgen), the main road and their maintenance was important. The same with rivers: precautions against flooding were necessary. Later most of the public roads were taken over by the Kanton or the Einwohnergemeinde and maintenance is now in their care.

Already around 1500 Baar had a public fountain (with wooden pipes). 1872 the Korporation Baar-Dorf built the first modern water supply of iron pipes, with reservoir and fountains. Up to today the water supply in Baar is managed by the Korporation. 

 

Buergergemeinde Baar
Four of the five Allmends (photos from St.Anna-Kappelle)
(Gruet is missing)

The Kanton Zug consists of 11 "Gemeinden". Baar, as one of such a Gemeinde is structured as mentioned above with 5 "Allmendgemeinden". Switzerland consists of 26 Kantons (plus 6 "Halbkantone") and about 2900 "Gemeinden". Each of the Cantons has its own traditions and unique organization.

Lit.: Aloys Müller:Geschichte der Korporation Baar-Dorf, 1945

 

Back to top of page

Saumweg Zug-Baar-Horgen

At roman times there already were trade routes between Italy and Germany. One route led from the Vierwaldstaedtersee to Kuesnacht, then to Immensee and over Lake Zugersee to Zug and on to Baar. 
On the way from Baar to Sihlbrugg the obstacle Breitholz had to be dealt with, a steep and dangerous descent on the way from Sihlbrugg to Baar. 
There is proof that in 1267 at "Babenwag" (today Sihlbrugg) there was a river crossing, 1326 a bridge and toll; today it's a major crossroads. The old Babenwag wooden bridge has been moved somewhat upriver.
The railway station and village are some 2 km downriver, on the main road to Zuerich.
There still is a reminder of the old route in the form of the "Roemerbrueggli" at Deinikon. The deep cuts in the forest are leftovers from the wagons of ancient times. Also between Sihlbrugg and Horgenberg there must have been dangerous road conditions.

There is a marked track (brown sign "Saumweg"), using the old Saumweg as far as possible.The track runs from Zug "Sust" (near Zytturm) by Baar and Sihlbrugg to Horgen.  

old cart tracks on the right On the right there still can be seen old tracks from ancient times
old roman bridge An old bridge (Roemerbrueggli) from 17th century.

A leaflet is available by Zug Tourismus, Verkehrverein Baar, Verkehrsverein Zug.

Back to top of page

Founding of the Federation

The Swiss Federation developed slowly, but steady.

The founders of the, in the beginning,  loose bond were neither rebels nor revolutionary's.

Certainly the happening in the European regions was being  watched carefully and analyzed.
After improving the Gotthard Pass, a new trade route between South and North was now open. With that, new opportunities for earning money were created, surly communication and trade opportunities too.

After the death of the German Emperor Friedrich II in 1250, Europe faced a difficult time with political unrest. Some time ago already the old Swiss promised each other support in case of external threats or unfair interference.

1291, after the death of king Rudolf I of Habsburg, it became obvious that the new rulers wouldn't much care for the old rights that had been given to the Swiss.
Therefore the Swiss renewed their former treaty. The pact resembles the founding of today's Swiss Federation. A major point in it: interference of foreign judges in internal affairs is to be declined.

Unlike to other parts of the former "Roemisches Reich Deutscher Nation", farmers and  craftsmen in Switzerland were self confident and had far-reaching rights. - And they were not willing to abandon them.
- For the new rulers a difficult situation. There were properties belonging to monastery's, princes, privates and a something special: the "Korporation", possessions owned and exploited by the members of the community. 
Representative of the king was a "Vogt", a kind of  governor (supreme court, taxes, military personnel).

Aim of the new rulers was a centralistic organized administration, in contrast to the federalistic preference by the Swiss citizen. The two systems couldn't be brought together. Soon it came to war, as in other parts of Europe.

Things got out of control when the new rulers sided with the monastery of Einsiedeln, which had a long-lasting quarrel with the citizens of Schwyz. 
In 1314 Schwyz went on a punitive strike against Einsiedeln with burning, looting and taking prisoners.

The Dukes Friedrich and Leopold couldn't leave it by that and in 1315 declared war against the "Waldstaette" (the federation). 
On November 15th a well equipped army of knights were on the way against the Swiss.
They, with simple equipment but excellent knowledge of the battleground and obviously well informed, defeated the Austrian knights on Morgarten. Perhaps too sure of their superiority, the Austrians got into the trap at the end of Aegerisee. The area was muddy, narrow, with forested hills on both sides.

The battle is a Milestone in the history of Switzerland, because it's the first time, the "Federation" fought together against an enemy.

The victory helped gain acknowledgement by the neighbors. Luzern (1332), Zuerich (1351), Glarus (1352), Zug (1352) with some reluctance, and Bern (1353) joined the "Bund". 

Back to top of page
 

From Helvetic Republic to Switzerland

Notes to the time around 1800, when Switzerland struggled from a de facto French Satellite to a independent State.

1783:
In North America the Colonies are not willing anymore to pay taxes to England. England had to give in and accept the "United States of America". The remarkable thing in the American Constitution is, that it explicitly demands the protection of the rights of all the citizens by the state. Up to now it was the opposite: citizens had to serve the state!

The fresh wind from the USA made the Europeans conscious of the political and social paralysis. Especially France was a good breeding ground for general reforms, because of the unlimited rule of the king, the waste, the despotism, arrogance.

1789:
In Paris, the citizens took over power: rush to the Bastille, the revoke of the prerogatives of church and aristocracy. What was a faire matter in the beginning turned into bloody revenge. After this events Switzerland was thinking about its own way's to go on.

1792:
The European governments were afraid of the expansion of the French ideas. They join a new Coalition. The leaders of the Revolution try to forestall and declare war on Austria in April 1792.

Now Switzerland faced a problem:
In 1777 a alliance with France had been renewed for another 50 years. Now against their own will the Swiss were partner with revolutionary France!

The alliance of 1777 based on the fact that the East European powers Prussia, Austria and Russia divided the major part of the kingdom of Poland among themselves. The Swiss found this to be highly questionable and was seeking support with France.

Now, after the fall of the French monarchy the alliance system looked upside down. Switzerland was politically and militarily unable to get out of this difficult situation. It should get worse:

On the Aug 10th 1792 an armed angry mob assembled in front of the Tuilleries (Kings residence). After the mob attacked, the "Swiss" as palast guard was able to keep the mass in check. In the middle of the fight the king ordered the Swiss to hold the defense. As a result the whole guard was killed. (The Lion monument in Luzern reminds on this day). After the decline of the Swiss guard the French Convent dissolved all Swiss troupes in France, because they were not to be won for the revolution. -This against all contracts and without compensation.

The bloody events in France kindled anti French feelings in Switzerland. Soon Geneva was "protected" by French troops. In due course a similar fearful regime as in Paris was established.

England observed the situation with concern. England, the Netherlands, Spain and Naples joined the Coalition against France.

In Switzerland the governments were completely unsure. The unrest was enhanced by French agents.

France now ultimately demanded from the Swiss to implement reforms similar to the one's in France, otherwise Switzerland would be occupied. There were some considerate men like General Hotze (he was serving in the Austrian army), who tried to bring some form of order into the confusion. 
Finally French troops marched into Switzerland, resistance on the Swiss side almost non-existent.

1798:
The French government commissioner Lecarlier declares he has taken over power in the Helvetic Republic (Switzerland). Public assets not needed for the French troops were transferred to Paris. Prosperity changed into poverty. The old confederation (Eidgenossenschaft) came to an end. The new constitution was widely rejected, especially in Centralswitzerland.

Battles began, but the French won and the "rebels" were punished.

Switzerland is becoming battleground of the European powers and armies. In Graubuenden (South East), where the constitution was widely rejected, the French governor and supporter left the country.

The major party now asked Austria (Kaiser Franz) for military support. In fall 1798 Austrian troops arrived in Graubuenden.

England, Russia, Austria, Turkey, Naples, Portugal form a new Coalition against France.

1799:
The Coalition 1.3.1799 declares war on France.

In April 1799 French General Massena attacks Graubuenden. He wins and integrates the part into the "Helvetic Republic". This was just a minor success: France looses the Lombardy and has to draw back from the Westalps. General Massena also lost in Feldkirch. With that, the situation in Switzerland was getting menacing. Additionally the locals were constantly opposing the French.

In May the Austrians begin their offensive in eastern Switzerland. They win that part and Zuerich. The French now stand in a line from Basel along the Rhein river to the Aare river, along the Limmat river up to Uetliberg. Gotthard too is held by the French.

Now, suddenly the Coalition changes the strategy: Erzherzog Karl withdraws from eastern Switzerland and is ready for attacking France. General Korsakow in southern Germany was to replace the Austrians.

Suworow's task:
General Suworow, successful in Italy was to march from the south, cross Gotthard and unite with Korsakow's army in Switzerland. 
In the opinion of the coalition partners the change in strategy
should have taken place only after the merger of the two armies.

Suworow's disaster:
Before the merger can take place, General Massena attacks Korsakow's army in Zuerich. Korsakow has to withdraw to southern Germany.

For the advance Suworow needed 1400 mules. Five days late all he got was 650 and he now had to use less suited Cossack horses.

The whole march was accompanied by bad weather.
 
Back to top of page
  

Memorial in the Schoellenen
(on main road Goeschenen - Andermatt)
suworowd.JPG (127142 Byte) franzplatz.JPG (169858 Byte) franzdenkg2.JPG (107757 Byte)

teufelsbr.JPG (129878 Byte)

Suworow memorial Franzosenplatz Battle on Teufelsbruecke

Arriving in Altdorf, Suworow was confronted with the fact, that in Fluelen no ships were available, since General Massena had them secured in Bauen. Suworow decided now to lead his army by Kinzig pass to Muothatal and from there to Zuerich.

In Muothatal he was to acknowledge that Korsakow was beaten and was drawing back to Germany. 
Further bad news were coming from the east: one of his important Generals, Hotze, was killed in Schaenis. 
In order to getting his troops safely back home, he decided to cross Pragelpass to Glarus. Another pass, Panixer to Ilanz, had to be crossed.

In the end Suworow was able to get about half of his original troops to Austria into safety.

With the failure of the Coalition, French occupation in Switzerland was strengthened. Rebel towns and regions where punished with fines. French-loyal politician got more influential, but the opposition remained powerful too.

1801:
In the peace treaty between France and Austria, Switzerland was included too. As a result Napoleon (www.epoche-napoleon.net in German) proposed a new constitution. A second one, with more centralistic state control was rejected by the citizen. Nevertheless by some legalistic tricks it was invented anyway. A politically restless time was to follow (Helvetik), but some important base was laid out. In this time of unrest, young Joel R. Poinsett traveled Switzerland and he was amazed of what was going on.

Napoleonic wars:

In Europe Napoleon acts as unlimited potentate, who rules France as a dictator. Switzerland as a confederation of states is legally independent, but has to fulfill some obligations: 16'000 troops for France, officers to be appointed by the French. In the case that France was attacked: 8'000 additional troops. France profits of the Swiss economy.

For England, France is still enemy. Switzerland too is affected by Napoleon's Continental embargo against England. During the 9 year period of the war Switzerland was not directly involved, but the 10'000 to 16'000 troops had to pay with their blood. By law of nations, Switzerland was considered neutral. The army service for a foreign state was detested among the young Swiss, there was no heroism or adventure in it. 
The catastrophe happened in the Russian war, when the Swiss had to protect the withdrawal of the French troops. Of the 10'000 Swiss only about 700 survived.

After Napoleon's defeat Switzerland was forced to reenter the Coalition. Once again the Swiss were in disagreement, pro and contra Napoleon party's were confronting each other.

1815:
Especially Fuerst Metternich pressed for a united and pacified Switzerland. By the first and second Vienna congress the basic foundation of Switzerland was defined.

In the new Napoleonic wars Switzerland took a clear position on the side of the Coalition. The Swiss troops in France are called home. After 100 days Napoleon is imprisoned: time for peace has come.

In the treaty of 20.11.1815 the everlasting neutrality and independence of Switzerland was accepted by the representatives of France, Austria, Portugal, Prussia and Russia. Neutrality had to be secured by the Swiss themselves.

On the 7.8.1815 the first treaty of the confederation (Restaurationsverfassung) was put into effect, it would last until 1848. Internally there was some order now. Negative was, that the members of the confederation (Canton's) had extensive rights, so that the Confederations as a whole was hardly able to operate as a State. But Europe, after all the wars had problems of its own too.

With the new constitution defense was now a task of the confederation. Army and the maneuvers where building a common tie among the citizen.

With the development of trade and industry in Europe and with new wars and uprisings in the colonies political unrest is reappearing.

With the taking in of refugees Switzerland angers the European powers. Finally Switzerland gives in and also censors the Newspapers. Depending on the Cantons, the procedures are stricter or more tolerant. 
Now the Swiss feel the urge to acting independent. They are spared the new revolution of 1830 in Paris and can concentrate on a liberal renewal.

1848:
Today's Switzerland is founded on the new constitution of 1848. Although the road up to this point was covered by many unrest's, arguments and changes of regional (Canton's) constitutions. The attempts of foreign states to interfere into internal affairs showed flaws in the state leadership, but the base was laid out. 
In the new constitution included were particularly parts of the constitution of the young USA , e.g. the two chamber system.

Today:

It's very likely: while hiking, suddenly you're aware of an old, overgrown Bunker or some other concrete Boulders...

The Reduit

During WWII, Switzerland was surrounded by Germany and its Italian Ally. It was obvious, that Switzerland would not be able to hold the 2000km front against the frightfully successful, highly mechanized enemy. So General Guisan decided to concentrate a main force in the mountains, where defense and repeated minor counterattacks against the intruders would be much easier.

Camouflaged Bunker on Raten pass (Biberbrugg-Aegeri)There were three main fortresses: Sargans, Gotthard, St.Maurice. After an attack, the train routes would have been cut, by blowing up the Gotthard and Simplon Tunnel. On the fringe of the Reduit, prepared fortifications would have helped to delay the advance of the enemy as long as Getarnter Bunker auf Ratenpossible, and bridges were prepared to be blown up. Hardly a hill or a mountain was without some kind of fortification or watch post. The idea: push up the “entry price” as high as possible.

Little Kanton Zug, as part of that Reduit fringe, had some 170 fortifications; and some 80 are still visible today. The aim of the “Militaer Historische Stiftung Zug” is to keep those witnesses for the future.

For the hikers, some fortifications are placed on fantastic lookouts. Some are clearly visible, others are hidden in woods, partly overgrown with brushwood.

Examples:

The most obvious is probably the fortification on Zugerberg, between Vorder- and Hintergeissboden with the two Tank traps cutting the Bitumen road.
Another is the 650m long Tank trap at Sibrisboden.
On Gottschalkenberg, at Bellevue two positions for Machine guns are still apparent (at the edge of forest, 100m W of the lookout).
At Raten one of the huts on the North-Eastern side of the ski slope is a camouflaged Bunker (pictures above).

Links:
http://davekopel.org/2A/OthWr/Target_Switzerland.htm
http://mhsz.ch/

Book:
“Target Switzerland ”: Swiss Armed Neutrality in World War II.
Stephen P.Halbrook, Sarpedon Publishers,
Rockville Centre , NY

Back to top of page

Church tower and church St. Martin

Bells: (in German)

The tower is a unique thing. Probably built by nobles "of Barro" about 700 years ago, there exists a sales contract of 1308 where that tower changed hands. Probably because it seemed handy, it was used as church tower. According to the book listed below, the tower is not older then the current church. The positioning of the windows, their number, and the numbers and heights of the floors are full of symbolism. Lit: Heimatbuch Baar 1952: Der mystische Turm, Karl Müller

The clockwork was added in 1526 by clockmaker Liechti in Winterthur; 1604 a mechanism for quarter-hours tolling was added. During the renovation of the tower in 1961 a second hand was added for the three faces. Today the clock is operated by a electro-mechanic system; the old clock is still in the tower, resting.

Today's church is the last of about five that have been built on about the same location, the first probably before 876 (remnants of a roman dwelling was found too), although a settlement "Baar" is documented some 200 years later, in 1045 . 
The nave at the time of construction (15th cent.) was one of the biggest. At that time also the tower was added (or the church was added to the tower!). 
Remarkable: there are no pillars supporting the ceiling. In 1645 the roof was reconstructed by a masterpiece of carpentry, the former pillars were removed,  now with the ceiling hanging underneath.

On one side of the chapel of St. Anna (500 years old) nearby there used to be a window where bones of deceased were deposited.

The Lothringen cross was a symbol, that the church belonged to a patriarch and or an abbey. Baar was connected with Habsburg, abbey Kappel, abbey Fraumuenster Zuerich (Franconian King Karl III was the brother of abbess Berta), abbey's Schaenis, St.Gallen, Rheinau. 
In 1527, before the religious problems deteriorated and the religious wars started,  the parish of Baar bought land and titles back from abbey Kappel (hence one cause for the term "old free Baar").

Source: Kirche St. Martin, Heimatbuchkommission Baar, 1974
Kunstdenkmäler der Schweiz, Kanton Zug 1943, Band 1, Zug-Land, S 26 ff

Back to top of page

Joel R. Poinsett

Most Swiss buying a "Weihnachtsstern" ("Poinsettia"), that popular indoor plant in the wintertime with the remarkable red leafs, don't know the name came from this Joel R. Poinsett. 
During his time in Mexico he was fascinated by that plant and brought it into the USA and the Europeans welcomed the plant as well.

Poinsett was a open minded Politician, military specialist, Botanist, Counselor, a lover of literature, and much more. His parents were of French origin. From Charleston S.C. district he was 1836 elected into Senate. Under president Van Buren he was called for taking a place in the Department of War.

In his twenty's he was amazed by the political events in Europe: 
the French troops had just left the country and Switzerland in the "second Helvetic" were in a considerable unrest. To Poinsett, the way mountaineers took things into their own hands fascinated him. He got acquainted with some of the leaders ,so to Landamman Reding, and went on to Zurich and Bern. Here he was 1802  overtaken by the main body of the Swiss troops (favoring a federalist state), who were marching against the capital, Bern, and get rid of the hated Aristocratic government who was favoring a centralistic form of state. 
Napoleon had a very real understanding of the different cultures and political experiences of the Swiss. He favored the federalistic idea and was not unhappy, when the unionists got a beating. He knew, that in due time he would have to intervene again.

Poinsett was welcomed in that federalists march against Bern. After the successful end of the campaign (called the "Stecklikrieg", because the "war" was virtually carried out by sticks) he traveled on to Geneva, where he stayed for some months. In Coppet, on lake Geneva, he met with people like Mme de Staël born Necker, a opponent to Napoleon (her father, Necker, was as Finance minister driven from court).  Staël's place was top address for English novelists, like the Bloomsbury Group. Here Poinsett also met Mr. Livingston the American Minister to France. 

_____________
 

Poinsett traveled the whole world and frequently he served as special envoi for the USA. He got his base education in Charleston S.C.  
In Edinburgh he entered a medical school, but soon he traveled the warmer parts of Europe. After that he returned to England with the intention of getting military education. But this was impossible at that time, so he got instructions from Marquois, a former professor of the Royal Military Academy. 
In 1800, being 21, he returned home, with the desire of entering the army. His father was much opposed to that, so he spent 2 years for studying law in the office of Mr. Desaussure, afterwards chancellor of S.C. 
Obviously he found the study of law a bit boring, so he went on a new trip into the mountains and valleys of Switzerland, and on to the major cities of Italy and Sicily, then to Malta and back again into Switzerland. It seems he has seen most of the popular spots.

From Geneva he traveled on to Bavaria, crossed the Austrian empire, and returned home by Rotterdam. After the loss of father and beloved sister he resumed traveling to Europe. This time he visited the Northern parts. In St. Petersburg he met Emperor Alexander, who offered him a place in his service, although without success. 

After Petersburg he toured Russia, Europe, Persia, Armenia, across the Caspian sea to Baku, where he had an escort of three hundred Cossacks and was usually treated with great hospitality and respect. After some adventurous tours he returned to Toeplitz in Bavaria for recuperation and being presented to King Napoleon and his unhappy Queen, at that time occupiers of Prussia. He went on by Carlsbad to Paris. Here the power of Napoleon was at its peak. 

In this time war between England and America seemed imminent, so Poinsett returned home. Instead of a commission in the Army, he was sent to South America in order to report about the state of revolution there. After Rio de Janeiro he went to Buenos Ayres, where he was received by the Junta. After crossing the Andes to Chili, he met with Josè Carrera, the most influential Politician in the troubled country and he was confirmed, that Chili was on friendly terms with America. In Peru, under strict Spanish rule, things were different. In many way's actions against America and their interests were hostile. When ten American whale ships were captured in Talcahuano, he begged Chili for help. He received a small force and, leading the strike by himself, was able to liberate the ships.

When war broke out between England and America, he tried to get back home, but only after peace was reestablished was he able to get back to S.C. Soon after, he was elected as member of the State Legislature. Among others he superintended the construction of the road (#176 ?) over Saluda mountains, on Blue Ridge (between Spartanburg S.C. and Asheville N.C). In 1821 he was elected for the Congress and later twice reelected. His opinion was important when matters of independence for the former Spanish American Colonies were imminent. He certainly influenced the government in this matters. 

In 1822 president Monroe sent him on the delicate mission to Mexico. Under presidents Adams and Jackson, Poinsett was again in Mexico, as plenipotentiary, until 1829. His job was not easy, with local political unrest, French, Spanish and English interests and influences and opposition from American politicians as well.

Source: Political Portraits with Pen and Pencil, Vol.I, No.III, Joel R. Poinsett
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpcoop/moahtml/title/lists/usde_V1I3.htm

 

Up ] Gruet ]