Monday, October 05, 2015
While neutrality has long been a hallmark of Swiss identity, that wasn’t always the case. In 1315, Duke Leopold of Hapsburg set out to consolidate his power within the Holy Roman Empire and marched into areas controlled by the Swiss Confederacy—then a local alliance. According to historical sources, the more experienced, better-equipped Hapsburg knights were ambushed by Swiss soldiers on the shores of Lake Aegeri. “At Morgarten, as the location is called, the foreign forces were stopped and, as the lore goes, badly decimated,” says Stefan Hochuli, an archaeologist with the Swiss Department of the Interior. Hochuli and officials from the cantons of Zug and Schwyz have found evidence, including knives, arrows, and a spur, that may pinpoint the location of the Battle of Morgarten. The decisive, brutal victory is considered a foundational moment for Switzerland, as it strengthened the Everlasting League, the nucleus of the confederacy.
Alaskan shipwreck survivors, chewing tobacco in the Southwest, Hellenistic chicken farms, a Swedish bishop’s secret, and one tough Scythian