Constitution and Democracy

Fribourg/Freiburg, drapeau, flagge.

The canton of Fribourg

The city of Fribourg/Freiburg was founded by Duc Berthold IV of Zähringen (1125-1186) in 1157.


Fribourg joined the Swiss Confederation (Eidgenossenschaft)  in 1481. The Burgundian wars (1474-1477) were decisive. The relationship between Habsburg and the Holy Roman Empire was tense as well.

Emperor Maximilian (1459-1519) introduced new taxes in the 1490s. The cities, Orte or cantons of the Confederation still belonged to the Holy Roman Empire but were independent. They resisted the levy of new taxes.

Habsburg also conflicted with the three leagues in Graubünden (Zehngerichtebund, Gotteshausbund, Graue or Obere Bund). The Eidgenossen supported the three leagues.

Maximilian lost the Schwabenkrieg (or Schweizer-or Engadinerkrieg) in 1499. The Eidgenossen were defeated by France in 1515  (Marignano), however.

The peace-treaty with France was signed in the Hotel de Ville in Fribourg on 29 November 1516. The eternal Peace, la Paix éternelle, der ewige Friede, lasted until the French invasion in 1798.

The Reformation divided the Eidgenossenschaft after 1520. Freiburg remained Catholic. Bern became Protestant. Freiburg became a dogmatic Catholic bastion but remained an ally of Protestant Bern until 1798.


Freiburg followed the history of the Swiss Confederation in the crucial years 1798, 1803-1813, 1815 and 1848.

(Source: H. Walter, Histoire de Fribourg, Une Ville-État pour l’éternité (XVIe-XVIIIe siècle), Tome 2, Neuchâtel 2002).