Since 1848, the Swiss Confederation has been a federal state of relatively autonomous cantons, some of which have a history of confederacy that goes back more than 700 years, putting them among the world’s oldest surviving republics. For the time before 1291, this article summarizes events taking place on the territory of modern Switzerland.
From 1291, it focuses mainly on the fates of the Old Swiss Confederacy, at first consisting of only three cantons (Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden) in what is now central Switzerland, and gradually expanding until it encompassed the present-day area of Switzerland in 1815.
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