The Aargau and the County of Baden
27 January 2022
After the conquest of Aargau by the Confederation Orte (the Eidgenossenschaft) of the Eight Sovereign Orte (the name cantons appeared in the sixteenth century) in 1415, the centuries-old county of Baden (Grafschaft Baden) in Aargau was governed by the eight Orte.
In the 11th and 12th centuries, the county was a possession of the counts of Lenzburg. From 1173 it belonged to the counts of Kyburg and from 1264 to the counts of Habsburg. However, the name Grafschaft Baden kept its name.
The three other regions in Aargau were: the Berner Aargau, the Freie Amt and the Fricktal. The Freie Amt and the County of Baden were a joint administration (Gemeine Herrschaft) of the eight Orte. Fricktal remained a possession of Habsburg and the Berner Aargau was ruled by Bern.
The county consisted of eight inner (innere) villages, Birmenstorf, Dietikon, Ehrendingen, Leuggern, Gebenstorf, Rohrdorf, Siggenamt and Wettingen, and the three outer (äussere) villages (Kaiserstuhl, Klingnau and Zurzach. The cities of Baden, Bremgarten and Mellingen kept their courts and self-government and ruled over neighbouring villages.
The eight Orte delivered the bailiff every two years. His seat was in the town of Baden (in today’s historical museum). From 1712 onwards, after the defeat of the Catholic cantons of Lucerne, Zug, Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden in the Second Villmerger War, the three protestant cities of Zürich, Bern and Glarus ruled the county until 1798.
The County of Baden became the canton of Baden of the Helvetic Republic (1798-1803). In 1803 this canton became part of the new canton of Aargau in the new Confederation of nineteen cantons (1803-1813). The canton merged into the Confederation of twenty-two cantons in 1815 and twenty-five (half) cantons in 1848.
The border stone (Grenzsteine) in the Dominiloch, opposite the Hermetschwil monastery, separated the city-state and canton of Zurich from the County of Baden until 1798 (the proclamation of the Helvetic Republic).
Today, the stone no longer stands on a border but is an important witness to the Gemeine Herrschaft of the Eidgenossenschaft of the County of Baden and the existence of this county at all.