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Swiss American Historical Society Review

Swiss American Historical Society Review

Authors

Keywords

Switzerland, Swiss history, European history

Abstract

M ost countries have a national holiday to celebrate their identity or independence, often symbolized by some heroic event or defining moment. Switzerland's day of remembrance is August 1, which commemorates the creation of an alliance in 1291 when the states of Uri, Schwyz, and Nidwalden (part of Unterwalden) established a "perpetual league" by authorizing the "Federal Charter" or Bundesbrief. This pact was perhaps an early step toward the founding of the Swiss state, because it helped define the policies relating to sovereignty, internal affairs, mutual aid, and resistance to external threats. However, the document's nature, authenticity, and actual significance in Swiss history remain unclear and subject to debate. This paper will examine this charter and discuss its historical importance.

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