St. Gingolph, frontière. Photo/Bild: TES.

Swiss Chablais

The modern Chablais is an area that covers parts of Eastern France and Western Switzerland.

The Swiss area extends over the cantons of Valais and Vaud. In France, this region is located in the department of Haute-Savoie and is bordered to the north by Lake Geneva and the Swiss border town of St. Gingolph.

At the time of the conquest by Romans in the first century B.C., the area was inhabited by the Celtic tribe of the Nantuates. Chablais became part of the Roman province of Raetia-Vindelica and later of the province of Alpes Poeninae.

After the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD, the region became part of the (first) Burgundian kingdom (around 464-534), followed by the Frankish kingdoms of the Merovingians and the Empire of the Carolingians until 888.

After the division of the Carolingian Empire (843, the treaty of Verdun), the area became part of the (second) Burgundian kingdom (888-1032), after 1032 it belonged to the Holy Roman Empire.

The political and military struggle between the Dukes of Savoy, the bishop of Sion and the city of Bern began in the thirteenth century. The bishop of Sion conquered the Chablais to Massongex and Bern conquered the remaining part of the Chablais in 1476.

Bern also conquered the French part of Chablais in 1536, including Thonon and Evian. The treaties of Lausanne (1564) and Thonon (1569) established the frontiers as they still are today.

The river Morge near St. Gingolph is still the border between the French and Swiss Chablais.