Canton Jura


The area of the French-speaking canton of Jura fell under the principality of Basel from 999. In the following centuries, especially in the 14th and 15th centuries, Bern gained increasing influence in the southern part of Jura, including in la Neuveville (Neuenstadt), Moutier and Bienne (Biel).

During the Reformation, Bern’s influence was therefore noticeable here. Moutier, Belprahon, Perrefitte, Sorvilier, La Neuveville and other towns and villages became Protestant.

The northern Catholic part of the Jura became the Rauraak Republic after the French invasion and the dissolution of part of the principality of Basel in 1792.

In 1793, this area merged with the department of Mont-Terrible. After the occupation of the remaining southern part of the principality in late 1797, Napoleon created the department of Haut-Rhin in 1800.


After the defeat of Napoleon, the area was assigned to the canton of Bern in 1815 (Congress of Vienna 1814-1815), and the canton of Basel acquired the Birseck, which would later merge again into the canton of Basel-Landschaft in 1833. The Laufental chose Basel-Landschaft in 1994 and separated from Bern.

The Congress of Vienna aimed to restore the balance of power and the old regimes after the Napoleonic Wars and the (French) revolutionary movements in 1792-1813.

The canton of Jura (République et Canton du Jura) was created on 1 January 1979 as a split-off from the canton of Bern. It was the result of the referendum of 23 June 1974.

After 1815, many conflicts were already between Protestant German-speaking Bern and the predominantly Catholic French-speaking Jura.

After 1945, these conflicts became violent in the 1960s and 1970s, with several violent separatist attacks.

However, several Protestant districts and municipalities remained with canton Bern and voted against it, including Moutier, Belprahon, Perrefitte and Sorvilier. In a new referendum (21 March 2021), Moutier residents voted to join canton Jura.

The Flag

The canton’s heraldry dates from 1947 and shows the red bishop’s staff and the colours red and white of Jura. Porrentruy (Pruntrut) was the seat of the bishop of the principality of Basel from 1528 to 1792.

Source: J.-C. Rebetez, D. Bregnard, Le Jura en Berne, Porrentruy, 2014).