History of Switzerland: Primary Documents

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EuroDocs > History of Switzerland: Primary Documents

Medieval Switzerland

Virtual library of Swiss manuscripts, comprising hundreds of holdings from 13 Swiss institutions.
Most numerous by far are the St. Gallen holdings, also found below.
(Medieval through Early Modern; facsimiles and descriptions)
Manuscripts of St. Gall
(9th century; facsimiles, English interface)
Grammars and other collected documents from the Abbey of St. Gall.
(878; Latin facsimiles)
Digital Abbey Library of medieval codices at St. Gallen.
Part of the e-codices Virtual Manuscript Library.
(8th to 15th centuries; facsimiles)
Texts and Archives
Georeferencing and imaging of monuments of the Franks
(Includes parts of France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland)
(Antiquity to Middle Ages; interactive maps, images)
Facsimiles of German-language medieval manuscripts.
Organized by location of manuscripts.
(Transcriptions and translations)

Federal Charter: Pact Between Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden; August 1291
Provided by Lexilogos, a database of documents, maps, and images from various countries.

Further translations of the Foedus Pactum are also available as:

Complete facsimile of the Codex Palatinus Germanicus 848 in the Heidelberg university library, a famous and well-preserved collection of medieval German literature.
(1305-1340; German facsimiles)
From an original German copy in the Schwyz cantonal archives.
(9 December 1315; transcription in print)
Documentary excerpts of the 1315 pact of Brunnen in French.
The term "Eidgenossen" (French: "Confédérés") first appears in this pact.
(1315; French transcriptions, maps, and translations)
Old titles of property. Available in facsimile, transcription or modern German.
(1339 and 1342; German)
The Zurich roll of arms depicting coats of arms from around Lake Constance.
You can also view the individual coats of arms and their meanings.
(ca. 1340; facsimiles)
Documentary excerpts of the pacts with Lucerne, Zurich, and Glarus.
(1332-1353; French translation and maps)
Documentary excerpts of the so-called "Priests' Charter" ("Charte des prêtres," "Pfaffenbrief").
This charter in Sempach solidified the idea of a true confederation of cantons.
(1332-1353; French translation and maps)
Chronicle by Conrad Justinger.
(1420; German)
Printed collection of source documents on the siege and battle of Murten (Morat) June 22, 1476.
As compiled by Gottlieb Friedrich Ochsenbein (Freiburg: Bielmann, 1876).
Google digitization of Stanford University copy.
(1476; transcriptions in book format)

Switzerland 1500-1800

Theodore Beza's essay on the limits of political authority.
(1574; English translation)
History of the a Swiss chapel.
(1635; German)
Manuscript recording the siege of Rapperswil during the First battle of Villmergen.
(January 6, 1656 - March 1, 1656; German)
Diary of a soldier in the Toggenburg War. Transcription here.
(April 12, 1712 - August 16, 1712; German)
18th-century French map of the Austrian Circle, which included parts of present-day Germany, Italy, Slovenia, and Switzerland.
(1792; zoomable map)
Source materials about the war between Swabia and Switzerland in 1499.
From the University of Freiburg.
(1499-1550: German and Latin transcriptions)
Documentary French excerpts of the Covenant of Stans and Treaty of Compatriotism between Berne, Fribourg, and Lausanne.
This followed Confederation victories over the Duke of Bourgogne (France).
(1420-1513; French translations and maps)
Documentary excerpts of reform movements in Geneva.
(1515-1685; French transcriptions, translations, and maps)
Documentary French excerpts of Zwingli and the Swiss Reformation.
(1519-1531; French transcriptions, translations, and maps)
Anabaptist document.
(February 24, 1527; English transcription)
Confession of the reformed Churches of Switzerland.
(February 26, 1536, Latin and German)
Confession of the reformed Churches of Switzerland. Available in English.
(1562; Latin)
"Byshoppe of Ziiryk the chefe town of Helvitia, sent to Charles. v. that nowe is emproure of Rome: holdynge a parlement or counsayll at Ausbrough with the chefe Lordes and lerned men of Germanye, the yere of our Lorde M.D.xxx. jn the moneth of July"
(1543; English-language facsimile)
Regulations for church meetings in territory of Geneva.
Edited by George L. Burns.
From Hanover Historical Texts Collection.
(1547; English transcription)
Authored by John Calvin.
Edited by Merrick Whitcomb.
From Hanover Historical Texts Collection.
(14 August 1553; English transcription)
Order of the city of Geneva, concerning its reformation, state and police horse.
(25 January 1600; French-language facsimile)
Gateway to the institute's digital collection of artifacts documenting German-speaking Jewry in the modern era.
Basic and advanced search capabilities, along with browse options.
Includes archival materials, memoirs and manuscripts, arts and objects, books and periodicals, photographs, and audio.
(16th to 21st centuries)
Manuscripts, books and images on the Swiss Peasant Revolt of 1653.
(1653; facsimiles)
Treatise by Swiss political theorist Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui. Once widely used as a textbook.
(1747; English translation)
Important essay by Rousseau.
(1754; English)
Another of Rousseau's essays.
(1755; English)
Rousseau's most notable work.
(1762; English)
Johann Caspar Ulrich's collection of Jewish history in Switzerland.
(1768; German)
Digitized newspapers.
(1738-2005; French facsimiles)
Documentary excerpts of Geneva's relations and annexation with France during the time of the Revolution.
(1758-1798; French transcriptions)
Constitution of the French puppet government set up in Switzerland. Also here in German.
(12 Apri1 1798; French transcriptions and maps)

Switzerland 1800 to present

Documentary excerpt of the mediation pact with Napoleonic France.
(19 February 1803; French transcription)
Johann Jakob Meyer's description of a huge landslide that destroyed several Swiss villages.
(1806; German)
Documenting the nineteen cantons during the Napoleonic years.
(1803-1815; French transcription)
Documentary excerpts on twenty-two cantons rejoining after Napoleon.
(1815; French transcriptions and maps)
Documentary excerpt from the Congress of Vienna, guaranteeing Swiss neutrality.
(20 November 1815; French transcription)
Description of Switzerland by German-French historian Georg Bernhard Depping.
(1823; German)
Swiss national anthem. Adopted in 1981.
(German with English, French and Italian translation; 1841)
Manifesto from the Sonderbund War
(1847; English translation)
Manifesto from the Sonderbund War.
(1847; English translation)
Manifesto from the Sonderbund War.
(1847; English translation)
Proclamation from the Sonderbund War.
(November 5, 1847; English translation)
First version of the federal constitution of Switzerland. Facsimile of original here.
(September 12, 1848; French)
Documentary excerpts from the first half of the 19th century.
Includes sources on the Sonderbund alliance and war.
(1815-1848; French transcription)
Geography by Johann Jakob Ulrich.
(1856; German)
Documentary excerpts regarding the Industrial Revolution in Switzerland.
Including sources on social conditions.
(1783-1877; French transcription)
FIrst international copyright treaty in Europe, has subsequently spread over most of the world. Also called the Berne Convention.
(September 9, 1886; English)
A major book digitization project of the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History.
For an overview of subjects, select "Systematik."
(19th century; facsimiles)
Search newspaper archive online for the history of Geneva.
Half a million pages and over two million articles.
(1826-1998; facsimile pages)
Documentary excerpts from the 1848 Revolution to the First World War.
(1848-1914; French transcriptions)
Digitized newspapers.
(1826-1998; French facsimiles)
Digitized newspapers.
(1834-1922; German facsimiles)
Digitized newspapers.
(1864-1920; German facsimiles)
Digitized newspapers.
(1871-1920; French facsimiles)
Document asserting Swiss neutrality in WWI.
(English translation, August 4, 1914)
Documentary excerpts from Switzerland during the First World War, including sources on the General Strike of 1918.
(1914-1918; French transcriptions)
Documentary excerpts from Switzerland between the two world wars.
(1918-1939; French transcriptions)
Digitized manuscripts includes scientific, non-scientific, and travel writings.
See especially Digitized Documents.
(ca. 1901-1955; mostly German & English facsimiles)

Independent Commission of Experts Switzerland - Second World War

Also available in German, French and Italian.
(2002; English translation)
Including documents and links.
From the U.S. State Department.
(1939 to present; transcriptions)
Forward and Executive Summary to the Preliminary Study, from the U.S. State Department.
(1939 to present; transcriptions)
  • Foreign relations between Switzerland and the US
Documents from US State Department and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
(1945-1951; English transcriptions)
From the Europeana collection.
(7 November 1947; French-language facsimile)
Searchable database with links to facsimile documents from post-war years.
Website also available in German, French, and Italian.
(1945-1969; searchable database with PDF facsimiles).
Digitized from the Swiss National Library, the Bibliothèque de Genève, the Bibliothèque publique et universitaire de Neuchâtel, the Médiathèque Valais and the Verkehrshaus der Schweiz.
Source materials for documenting modern Swiss political, commercial, and cultural thought.
From Carnegie Mellon University.
(1971 to present; facsimiles)
Downloadable files from each Swiss census.
(1850-1990; German)

Swiss Legal and Governmental Documents

Collection of Switzerland Laws.
Statutes, criminal and civil codes, and other legal materials.
A portal of the BYU Law School.
Library of Congress guide to constitutional, legal, and government documents.

Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation
(29 May 1874, newly amended 18 April 1999)

English translation prepared by Professor Clive Church, University of Kent (UK), with updates through February 2003.

Systematic Collection of Swiss Federal Laws

(German and French transcriptions)
A collection of documents from various epochs of history.
Especially strong in French and Swiss history sources.
(French transcriptions and translations)
Includes text archive of Swiss authors in addition to historic documents.
(Latin, Romansh, French, Italian and German transcriptions)

Other Swiss Documents

Interactive map of Switzerland with historical sources and images linked to locations.
Also see thematic collections to see various categories of images.
Includes documents, additional maps, and images from:
La Chaux-de-Fonds
St. Gallen
(images, German facsimiles, English and German interfaces available)
Swiss page of the World Documents Library.
(photos; facsimiles)
Mostly history of German-speaking countries.
P = Primary, S = Secondary, M = Instructional Materials
Click on "P" within a given chronology for primary source documents.
(transcriptions and translations in German and English)
Digitized publications held by the Swiss National Library. Includes:
Digital publications on the history and culture of Berne such as newspapers, documents, art, and maps.
(Facsimiles, transcriptions, searchable databases)
Collection of historical maps of Switzerland.
Collection of historical maps of Europe.
(facsimiles; Hungarian)
Historical documents and commentary on the region (former duchy) of Savoy.
(11th century to present; French and Latin transcriptions, facsimiles, and commentaries)
Also contains a collection of coats of arms for other European countries and principalities.

World Wonders Project
Swiss heritage sites viewed with Google street view technology.
(Interactive facsimile images)

EuroDocs > History of Switzerland: Primary Documents

EuroDocs Creator: Richard Hacken, European Studies Bibliographer,
Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA.
Feel free to get in touch: Hacken @ byu.edu