Place:Uri, Switzerland


Coordinates46.833°N 8.667°E
Located inSwitzerland     (1291 - )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The canton of Uri is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland and a founding member of the Swiss Confederation. It is located in Central Switzerland. The canton's territory covers the valley of the Reuss between the St. Gotthard Pass and Lake Lucerne.

The official language of Uri is (the Swiss variety of Standard) German, but the main spoken dialect is the Alemannic Swiss German called .

Uri was once the only canton where the children in school had to learn Italian as their first foreign language, but in the school year of 2005/2006 this was changed to English, as in other Central and Northeastern Swiss cantons. The population is about 35,000 of which 3,046 (or 8.7%) are foreigners.

The legendary William Tell is said to have hailed from Uri. The historical landmark Rütli lies within the canton of Uri.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Early history

There are traces of settlement dating to the Bronze and Iron Age, with suggestions of trans-alpine trade with Quinto in Ticino and the alpine Rhine valley. During the Roman era, Uri remained mostly isolated from the Roman Empire. An analysis of the place names along the shores of Lake Lucerne show a Gallo-Roman influence, while in the mountain valleys Raetian names are more common. When the Roman Empire withdrew from the Alps, the lake side villages looked north to the towns along the lake for support, while the alpine villages in the valley called Urseren banded together.[1]

Alemannic settlement begins in the 7th century. Uri is first mentioned in 732 as the place of banishment of Eto, the abbot of Reichenau, by the duke of Alamannia. In 853, Uri is granted to the Fraumünster abbey in Zürich by Louis the German. Parts of the Urseren were settled by Disentis Abbey and were part of the Diocese of Chur. By the 10th century, there were settlements of Romansh speakers from Disentis in the high valleys.[1] Uri briefly passed under Habsburg rule in 1218, with the extinction of the Zähringer,. The Gotthard Pass was opened in 1230, and Uri was granted imperial immediacy by Henry VII in the following year. Trade across the Gotthard brought ever increasing wealth to Uri, and the towns and villages along the Gotthard route became increasing independent. As early as 1243 Uri had a district seal, and in 1274, Rudolph of Habsburg, who was now the Holy Roman Emperor, confirmed its privileges. Meanwhile, Urseren passed from Rapperswil to the Habsburgs in 1283.[1]

Since at least the 10th century, the people of Uri signed treaties as a collective, as nos inhabitantes Uroniam (955) or homines universi vallis Uranie (1273). By 1243, they used a seal with a bull's head.

Old Swiss Confederacy

A treaty of mutual recognition and assistance with Schwyz, possibly concluded in 1291 and certainly by 1309, would come to be regarded as the foundational act of the Old Swiss Confederacy or . The Battle of Morgarten in 1315, while of limited strategic importance, was the first instance of the Confederates defeating the Habsburgs in the field. A few months after the victory at Morgarten, the three Forest Cantons met at Brunnen to reaffirm their alliance in the Pact of Brunnen. Over the following decades, the Confederacy expanded into the , now representing a regional power with the potential to challenge Habsburg hegemony. The Confederacy decisively defeated Habsburg in the Battle of Sempach 1386, opening the way to further territorial expansion.

Following the victory at Sempach, Uri began a program of territorial expansion to allow them to control the entire Gotthard route. As a first step, Uri annexed the Urseren valley in 1410, although the community of Urseren was allowed to retain its own assembly and courts. In 1403, Uri began to acquire its transmontane bailiwicks, with the help of Obwalden taking the Leventina valley from the duke of Milan. The conflict between the Swiss Confederacy and the Duchy of Milan for territories now forming canton of Ticino continued throughout the 15th century. The conflict was decided in 1500, when the Confederates captured Bellinzona, heavily fortifying it against future conquests. The Confederates also acquired Lugano in 1512, but the period of territorial expansion came to its end in 1515 with the Confederate defeat at Marignano.

Uri, along with Central Switzerland as a whole, resisted the Swiss Reformation and remained staunchly Roman Catholic. As the Reformation spread through the Swiss Confederation, the five central, catholic cantons felt increasingly isolated and they began to search for allies. After two months of negotiations, the Five Cantons formed (the Christian Alliance) with Ferdinand of Austria on 22 April 1529. After the Battle at Kappel of 1531, in which was killed, the Confederacy was on the point of fracturing along confessional lines. The peace treaty after the Kappel war established that each canton would choose which religion to follow, but peace between Catholic and Protestant cantons remained brittle throughout the early modern period.

Growth of Uri stagnated in the early modern period, due to the limited availability of arable land, as well as disease and crop failures. Plague broke out in the canton in 1348–49, 1517–18, 1574–75 and 1629. In 1742–43 and again 1770–71, crop failures combined with cattle diseases led to starvation and mass emigration. The consequences for the population were severe, in 1743 Uri had 9,828 inhabitants, but by the end of the 18th Century there were only 9,464 people.[1]

Modern history

The government of Uri spoke out against the ideals of the French Revolution and opposed any attempt to institute changes in Switzerland. In January 1798, French revolutionary forces invaded Switzerland. On 11 April the victorious French announced the creation of the Helvetic Republic and gave the cantons twelve days to accept the new constitution. The cantons of Central Switzerland attempted to resist, but the uprising was suppressed and on 5 May Uri agreed to accept the Helvetic Republic. The cantonal army was disarmed in September and the canton was occupied by French troops in October.[1] Under the Helvetic Republic, Uri was part of the Canton of Waldstätten, along with Zug, Obwalden, Nidwalden and the inner portions of Schwyz. The Leventina valley was given to the newly formed Canton of Ticino, stripping Uri of all possessions south of the Gotthard. In April and May 1799, Franz Vincenz Schmid led an unsuccessful uprising against the occupying French army.

From June until the end of September 1799, troops of the Second Coalition fought the French in Uri. With the defeat of the Russian general Alexander Korsakov at the Second Battle of Zürich, the only other Coalition army, under Alexander Suvorov, was forced to retreat out of Switzerland through the alps in winter. The damage from fighting, Suvorov's retreat and other disasters (including a fire that destroyed much of Altdorf in 1799) caused a famine in Uri. Although the government commissioner, Heinrich Zschokke, organized a relief effort to prevent starvation, it took years for Uri to repair the damage to the villages and towns. In October 1801, a new government came to power in the Helvetic Republic and in early November the Canton of Waldstätten was dissolved and Uri became a canton again. The governor, Josef Anton von Beroldingen, attempted unsuccessfully to bring the Leventina valley back into Uri. Half a year later, on 17 April 1802, the Unitarian party took power back in the Republic and revised the constitution once again. In early June, Uri rejected the newest constitution while at the same time French troops withdrew from Switzerland. Without the French army to suppress them, Uri and other rural populations successfully rebelled against the government in the Stecklikrieg. In response to the collapse of the Helvetic Republic, Napoleon issued the Act of Mediation in 1803. As part of the Act of Mediation, Uri regained its independence and all attempts towards religious or constitutional reform were resisted.[1] After the invasion of the Sixth Coalition into Switzerland on 29 December 1813, the Act of Mediation lost its power. While the neighbouring cantons of Schwyz and Nidwalden wanted to return to the organization of the Old Swiss Confederation, Uri was part of the Zürich-led party, which sought to reorganize the 19 cantons created by the Act. Uri also attempted, unsuccessfully, to reincorporate the Leventina valley, but was only able to receive the rights to one-half of the taxes on all trade over Monte Piottino into the Leventina. On 5 May 1815 the Landsgemeinde approved the federal constitution. Uri then mediated between the Tagsatzung and Nidwalden, which had refused to recognize the treaty.

Uri remained without an official constitution until 1820. The document included only six principles that were based on traditional practice and existing state laws. The government remained deeply conservative during the Restoration period. Discontent with the cantonal government collected until 1834 when a reform party demanded a number of liberal constitutional changes. The Landsgemeinde, however, rejected these calls for reform. In the 1840s, urban, Protestant liberals gained the majority in the Tagsatzung and proposed a new constitution. To protect their traditional religion and power structure, the seven conservative, catholic cantons formed a separate alliance or Sonderbund in 1843. In 1847, the Sonderbund broke with the Federal Government and the Sonderbund War broke out. During the conflict, Uri sent troops to participate in the fighting along the Reuss-Emme defensive line as well as on the foray over the Gotthard into Ticino. After the defeat of the Sonderbund troops in Gisikon on 23 November 1847 Uri withdrew from the alliance and surrendered on 28 November 1847. Two days later federal troops moved into Uri.

After the defeat of the Sonderbund, Uri supported the new Swiss Federal Constitution. They established a cantonal constitution that included some liberal changes including; the abolition of lifetime alderman positions, eliminating the privy council and secret council meetings and the establishment of a provisional executive council. The Landsgemeinde was the supreme sovereign power. The Catholic Church continued to enjoy privileges, but freedom of worship was now available for other faiths. The new Federal Constitution of 1874, which was rejected by the voters of Uri, led to a total revision of the cantonal constitution in 1888. The new constitution streamlined the government and addressed many of the issues of the 1848 cantonal constitution. The Landsgemeinde continued to meet on a local level until the last one was held in Bötzlingen in the municipality of Schattdorf on 6 May 1928. The Christian Democratic Party (CVP) and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) have dominated politics in Uri during the 20th century.[1]

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