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From the History of Zug town
From the Bronze Ages to 1077
Recent archaeological finds indicate that Zug began to flourish as a settlement in the New Stone and the Bronze Ages, and subsequent prehistoric and classical periods in the history of Zug are also substantiated by archaeological finds. The Alemanni settled in the area in the 6th and 7th centuries A.D., their presence being evidenced in place names, and other sources. The patrozinium of the parish church of St. Michael in Zug goes back to before the turn of the first century, and between the 10th and 12 centuries, settlements grew around the castle in the area known today as “Dorf”. Zug was the property of the Counts of Lenzburg: in 1077 Count Rudolf II made Zug castle his residence. In a document held by the All Saints Convent in Schaffhausen, the name of Zug in the form “Ziuge” was mentioned for the first time in 1092.
The Kyburgs and the Habsburgs
When the Lenzburg line died out in 1173, Zug was taken over by the Counts of Kyburg, who founded the town of Zug directly on the borders of the lake before 1200. Then, as successors to the Kyburgs, the Counts of Habsburg inherited the town in 1273. In 1315 Zug castle was used as the assembly point for the troops of the Habsburg Duke Leopold I, prior to the battle of Morgarten. The Habsburgs lost power after their defeat, and, in 1352, this led to the besieging and conquest of Zug town by the Confederates. Zug then, together with the three communes Aegeri, Baar and Menzingen, joined the Confederation. In the same year, after the Brandenburg peace treaty, Zug was again put under Habsburg rule. In the decades that followed, the town lived in a state of tension between Habsburgs and Confederates.
A turbulent 15th century
The 15th century was certainly the most turbulent in the history of Zug. A large number of Zug soldiers lost their lives in the battle of Arbedo (1422) and only 13 years later, on March 4, 1435, the lower row of houses in the old town sank into the lake, killing 60 people. Towards the end of the century, the town had recovered from these strokes of fate and, following the successful end to the Burgundian wars, eventually became a place of considerable wealth, which is evident still today. St. Oswald’s Church, the Town Hall, the remaining town walls and various private residences, in late-Gothic style, date back to between 1478 and 1530. During the Reformation, in 1526, Zug decided to adhere to the old faith, but the Reformation cut deeply into the town’s development, until a stabilisation of the ecclesiastical situation was afforded in 1570 by the visit of Archbishop Karl Borromäus from Milan, who led church reform in Zug and promoted the Capuchin order, which has been resident in the town since 1595. A number of local families gained wealth and standing from posts abroad: the most renowned family name in the 17th and 18th centuries was Zurlauben, who had built themselves a manor house in the south of the town, outside the town walls. Due to a long-standing feud between the Zurlaubens and Josef Anton Schumacher’s party, the former lost power for a time. Reason for the quarrel was the distribution of pension money and the control of the very profitable salt trade. A second assault in 1764-68 resulted in Schumacher being banned from Zug and exiled to Turin.
Zug was the principal place
In 1798, shortly before the occupation by French troops, Zug gave freedom to its stewardships. A year later the town was, for a short while, the principal place in Canton Waldstätten, which had been founded by the Helvetik, and which included the cantons Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden and Nidwalden. In 1814 the first cantonal constitution designated the town of Zug as the head location.
Zug became an important junction
Compared with other Zug communes, like Unterägeri, Baar and Cham, industrialisation in Zug began later, only after 1850, and continued until the second half of the 20th century. In 1852 the first steamship was launched on Lake Zug and attracted the first influx of visitors, who were delighted at the beauty of the inner Swiss countryside. The Zug people reacted positively to the new means of transport – railway – right from the start, although the bankruptcy of the East-West-Railway in 1862 prevented the opening up of rail transport in Canton Zug, but in 1864 the Northeast Railway started a regular service from Zürich - Affoltern am Albis – Zug - Lucerne. Then, in 1887, Zug once more suffered a setback in its urban development when a row of houses in the Vorstadt area slid into the lake, killing eleven people and causing extensive damage. In 1897 Zug became an important junction when the railway line Thalwil-Zug-Arth-Goldau was opened, and the town of Zug was linked to the already existing Gotthard line.
From the 1850 up to now
Since 1850 the development of the town can be seen in the continual increase in population up until around 1970; the settlement of new industry and service industries; the long-term building up and extension of the school system as well as the improvement in social and medical care sectors. In its leading role in the canton, Zug administers numerous regional functions. The town is the centre of the government, parliament, law court and administration for the Canton. The Cantonal High School has been in existence since 1861, successor of the former Industrial School, and it offers all branches of high school education as well as a commercial department. In addition, Zug is the home of numerous technical colleges for all professions and trades. Among the well-known private schools, the Teacher Training College and St. Michael’s College must be mentioned, as well as the Montana Institute on the Zugerberg, which offers education in several languages. In the medical sector, there are the Cantonal Hospital and two schools of nursing.
Over the past decades, Zug has established ties with other European cities, such as the twinning with Fürstenfeld, Styria in Austria and relations with Sant’Angelo die Lombardi in Italy, as well as Viseu de Sus in Rumania. The Council of Europe honoured Zug’s efforts of international collaboration by awarding to the town the flag of honour in 1966 and the plaque of honour in 1994.
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