Local History

Gampelen/Champion/ Photo/Bild: TES

Berner Seeland

Celts and their predecessors and successors (Romans, Burgunder, Alemanni, Franks) inhabited the Berner Seeland in the Three Lakes Region (Drei-Seenland/Pays des Trois Lacs).

The area experienced the two Burgundian kingdoms (443-534 and 888-1032), in between the Frankish and Carolingian domination and afterwards the rule of the local rulers of the Holy Roman Empire.

After the French-speaking Counts of Neuchâtel, the area came under the control of the French-speaking Duchy of Savoy and the Counts of Châlon from 1375. It also explains the Franco-German language border in this area.

The conquest of the seigneurie Erlach (Cerlies in French) by Berne in 1474 (the Burgundian wars 1474-1477) brought the area under the control of German-speaking Berne.

The region changed to the Evangelical Reformed Church during the Reformation (after 1525) and shared the fate of Bern of the French invasion and occupation (1798-1813).

The Helvetic Republic (1798-1803) was a unitary state with a new administrative division based on the French model. The Mediation Act (1803-1813) created the new Confederation of nineteen cantons.

The territory was assigned to canton Bern in 1815, which was confirmed in the Constitution of 1848.

The villages and towns profited from the Bern-Neuchâtel connection and the Biel-Morat railways and trade routes.

The major project of the Jura water system, the Juragewässerkorrektion (lakes of Neuchâtel, Bienne and Morat and rivers) and the construction of canals (1868-1891 and 1962-1973) made the region the fruit- and vegetable barn of Switzerland.

The marshy moorland (Der grosse Moos/Le grand Marais) no longer flooded the area and the fertile soil and meadows brought new prosperity in the twentieth century

The villages and towns and their churches, castles and buildings are the witnesses of a rich past and French- and German-speaking influences.