"The first swiss" Switzerland Local Custom Tip by bianchis

Switzerland Local Customs: 171 reviews and 207 photos


First Swiss
The earliest Swiss, at least one to leave traces for archaeologists to find, was a woman who lived in the Jura .

Archaeologists have found traces of farming villages from the Neolithic Age (until 3000 BC.

Other communities, perhaps of Celtic tribal origin, lived in houses on stilts built above water in the Bronze Age .

From about 1500 BC onwards when the first signs of trade and coins appeared.

Other Celts, the most powerful of whom were the Helvetii, and the Rhaeti, a branch of the Etruscans, replaced the lake dwellers before Germanic tribes in turn started to attack these communities.
The Helvetii decided to leave their towns and villages and head for Gaul only to find Julius Caesar in their way as they tried to cross the Rhone near Geneva in 58BC.

Caesar's concern was that if the Helvetii left then the Germans would take over their lands and threaten his ambitions in Gaul.

The Helvetii came to an agreement with the Romans and stayed in what became known as Helvetia under the protection of Rome and they enjoyed a degree of self government.

The Romans built a walled city with a population of 20,000 complete with palaces, temples and arches at Aventicum on the site of today's small village of Avenches near Lake Murten.

Some years later the Rhaeti people also came to terms with Rome.
The Roman's Latin once mixed with the Tuscan accents of the Rhaeti resulted in the Romansch language still spoken in Graubünden today.

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  • Updated Sep 12, 2005
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