Rottweil and the Swiss Cantons
10 January 2020
The ancient Roman town of Arae Flaviae, present-day Rottweil in Germany (Baden-Wurttemberg), had an alliance with the Eidgenossenschaft of thirteen Orte (or cantons) since 1519 and, from 1463 onwards, gained the status of zugewandter Ort.
Besides Mulhouse, Rottweil is the only city with this status that is not part of modern Switzerland.
In 1519 twelve of the thirteen Orte ratified the eternal alliance (Ewiger Bund) with Rottweil: Zurich, Bern, Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Zug, Glarus, Freiburg, Solothurn, Schaffhausen and Appenzell. Only Basel did not sign, although the city was mentioned in the treaty.
The reason for that is still topical: because of the imperial court in Rottweil. The commercial city of Basel was cautious about the jurisdiction of foreign judges (fremde Richter).
It also played an important role in the Schwabenkrieg or Schweizerkrieg of 1499 and in the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648.
Sovereignty and jurisdiction are closely intertwined, as Brexit shows once again.
The allies swore eternal trüw, liebe und fründtschafft.
Indeed, the eternal treaty was never denounced and Rottweil assisted the Eidgenossen in 1476 (successful in the battle of Murten against the Duke of Burgundy, and less successful in the battle of Marignano against the French King and his allies in 1515).
The Eidgenossenschaft helped Rottweil after the two world wars of the last century.
That relationship was not entirely wrinkle-free either: here, too, the Reformation and the sphere of influence of the Catholic Habsburg monarchy were the main causes.
When Rottweil was (involuntarily) annexed to the Duchy of Württemberg in 1802-1815, it lost the status of an ally of the Swiss Confederation. Legally, however, the eternal alliance was never terminated.
The ‘Swabian Confederates (Schwäbische Eidgenossen) still commemorate and cherish the ties with the old Orte, just as the Orte maintain good ties with Rottweil.