Annecy, Foto/Photo: TES.

Annecy, Geneva, Savoy and L’Escalade

The Counts of Geneva, like their neighbours, the Counts of Savoy, were dynasties in  the Kingdom of Burgundy (888-1032). The Counts controlled the areas of Faucigny, Genevois and the town of Annecy, a  small part of the Chablais along Lake Geneva and Gex in France around 1300.

Geneva was the administrative centre. Annecy was a residence of the counts. The town was well located along the roads and the lake. However, unlike Savoy, Geneva had a direct competitor within the city walls: the bishop. The diocese of Geneva belonged to the archbishopric of Vienne.

Until the Reformation around 1530, there was a power struggle between the bishop (with the support of Savoie) and the Counts and later the city’s burghers. The arrival of Calvin in 1536 put an end to the episcopal presence in Geneva. The town became the capital of Calvinism. The Museum of the Reformation (Musée de la Réformation) presents this history in a regional and European context.

The four reformers Calvin. Farel, de Bèze and Knox, Genève, le mur des Réformateurs

In 1401, Savoie acquired Annecy and Genevois. The castle became a regional administrative centre with a defensive function. The Duke (supported by the bishop) attacked Geneva on 11 and 12 December, 1602. It ended with a defeat for Savoy. Geneva commemorates this attack, L’Escalade, named after Savoy’s wooden ladders, to storm the city walls in vain.

From 1713 to 1860, Annecy was a city in the kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, except for the French period (1792-1813) when it belonged to the Departement Savoie).

The kingdom ceased to exist in 1860. The Kingdom of Italy was founded, including Piedmont and Sardinia. Savoy (and Annecy) chose in a referendum (1861) to be incorporated into the French empire of Napoleon III and has been part of France ever since (the departments Savoie and Haute-Savoie).

However, the canton of Geneva, a member of the Swiss Confederation since 1815, had not forgotten its medieval past and the possession of the Genevois (and Annecy), Faucigny and a part of Chablais. The canton considered an armed intervention in 1860. Due to the opposition from the other cantons, it did not happen.

The Annecy Castle houses a historical museum and an exhibition on the Lake of Annecy today.

(Source and further information: Musèe-Château d’Annecy).