der Beginn

Confoederatio Helvetica

CH   Swiss symbol

In Switzerland the name comes from long ago when all the various independent groups (or Cantons) banded together to form one new country.  [Gee, that sounds like the European Union today.]  It was called in the Latin Language by the  name “Confoederatio Helvetica”.  Hence the initials CH. even today in 2015 AD

old CH Swiss Coin 07 27 13 JPEG

Well, if you don’t believe me, then you can read it for yourself.  Here is the original Swiss Federal charter of 1291 AD  (AD, means it was written by A Dude, way back then.)

Swiss Charter of 1291 Official Document 07 27 13 JPEG

But wait,  there’s more…


Switzerland   “Confederation Helvetica”

A country of west-central Europe. The region was conquered by Germanic tribes in the 5th century and by Swabia and Burgundy in the 9th, becoming part of the Holy Roman Empire in 1033. Protesting Hapsburg control in the 13th century, the Swiss formed a defense league made up of cantons that became the basis of their “Confederation Helvetica”, and by 1499 they had achieved independence. The Reformation in the 16th century led to religious civil wars that lasted through the next two centuries. The French took brief control of Switzerland during the French Revolution, but the confederacy was restored in 1815. Switzerland later adopted a federal constitution (1848) and maintained a policy of neutrality through both World Wars. Bern is the capital and Zürich the largest city. Population: 7,550,000.


The English name Switzerland is a double word containing Switzer.  It is an obsolete term for the Swiss that was in use during the 16th to 19th centuries. The English word Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, was originally an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory.  Schwyz was one of the Waldstätten cantons. It formed the starting point for the Old Swiss Confederacy. The name originally applied to the troops of the Confederacy. The Swiss themselves began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499.  [You remember the Swabian War from High School, right? ]

The word Schwyz was first seen in 972 [that’s not 1972 folks], as Old High German Suittes, ultimately perhaps related to suedan “to burn”, referring to the area of forest that was burned and cleared to build. The name was extended to the area dominated by the canton, and after the Swabian War of 1499 gradually came to be used for the entire Confederation. The Swiss German name of the country, Schwiiz, is pertains to the canton and the settlement, but distinguished by the use of the definite article (di’Schwiiz for the Confederation, but simply Schwyz for the canton and the town).

The Latin name Confoederatio Helvetica was coined and introduced gradually after the formation of the federal state in 1848, linking back to the Napoleon Helvetic Republic, appearing on coins from 1879, inscribed on the Federal Palace in 1902 and after 1948 used in the official seal. It is derived from the name of the Helvetii, a Gaulish tribe (they had a lot of Gaul back then) that was living on the Swiss plateau before the Roman regime  Helvetia appears as a national symbol of the Swiss confederacy in the 17th century.

Well, that’s the story, and I’m sticken to it.