The Genesis of the Swiss Confederation

The genesis of the Swiss Confederation (Eidgenossenschaft) is often directly linked to the agreement between the three cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden (today’s cantons of Obwalden and Nidwalden) in 1291.

However, the decisive events for the Confederation took place in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The first joint administration (Gemeine Herrschaften) of occupied territories (Untertanengebiete), the resolution of the conflict between cantons in the Alte Zürichkrieg (1440-1446), the victories in the Burgunderkriege (1476-1477), the compromise in the Stanser Verkommnis (1481) and the victory in the Swabenkrieg (1499) led to a new sovereign political entity. 

The great powers also recognised the Swiss Confederation (Eidgenossenschaft).

The book in the German language gives a detailed overview of this period, documents it richly with sources and places this story of history in the cultural landscape of Switzerland in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Kurt Messmer, Die Kunst des Möglichen. Zur Entstehung der Eidgenossenschaft im 15. Jahrhundert, Baden, 2018.