How did today's social, economic, political system develop? In the following
some notes about it.
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:
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.
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.
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).
Since he had some time ago moved from Baar to neighboring
Inwil (belonging to Baar too) his exploitation rights were revoked.
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.
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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
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.
Four of the five Allmends (photos from
(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
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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
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
||On the right there still can be seen old tracks from ancient times
||An old bridge (Roemerbrueggli) from 17th century.
A leaflet is available by Zug Tourismus, Verkehrverein Baar,
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The Swiss Federation developed slowly, but steady.
The founders of the, in the beginning, loose bond were neither rebels
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.
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.
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
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.
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
- 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,
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.
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.
battle is a Milestone in the history of Switzerland, because it's the
first time, the "Federation" fought together against an enemy.
victory helped gain acknowledgement by the neighbors. Luzern
(1332), Zuerich (1351), Glarus (1352), Zug (1352) with some reluctance, and Bern
(1353) joined the
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Notes to the time around 1800, when Switzerland struggled from a de facto
French Satellite to a independent State.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
General Suworow, successful in Italy was to march
from the south, cross Gotthard and unite with Korsakow's army in
In the opinion of the coalition partners the change in
strategy should have taken place only after the merger of
the two armies.
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.
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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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
It's very likely: while hiking, suddenly you're aware of an old,
overgrown Bunker or some other concrete Boulders...
During WWII, Switzerland
was surrounded by Germany
and its Italian Ally. It was obvious, that
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.
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 possible,
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,
hidden in woods, partly overgrown with brushwood.
|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
|On Gottschalkenberg, at
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).|
”: Swiss Armed Neutrality in World War II.
Stephen P.Halbrook, Sarpedon Publishers,
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The tower is a unique thing. Probably built by nobles
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
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
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.
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
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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.
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
Poinsett traveled the whole world and frequently he served as
special envoi for the USA. He got his base education in Charleston
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.
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
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
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
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