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Lausanne History, Switzerland

Lausanne History – Establishment and Early Function

Lausanne has been known as a settlement since Paleolithic times but the Romans came there in 15 BC and named the city for the first time, calling it Lousonna. This settlement started relying on trade and grew rather fast, but due to insecurities caused by its location near the waterfront and to the imminent fall of the Roman Empire, the Romans decided to move it more upwards, in an area which is now known as the old town. It started growing both demographically and economically, as it was invested with more and more religious administrative power and the 1275 ceremony of the inauguration of the Lausanne Cathedral was honored by Pope Gregory X and Emperor Rudolf of Habsburg.

Lausanne History – The Subject City

The grimmest period in Lausanne history is between the 14th and 15t century, when the city was devastated by fires, plague and epidemics. This also happened to nearby Geneva and, as if it wasn’t enough, there was a rising difference of social status between the bishops that lived in the upper part of the city and the fishermen and the poor population that lived near the lake. So they decided to sign a pact with the army of Bern which indeed pushed the bishops away but remained itself in control of the city from 1536 to 1789. During this occupation most of the city’s cultural heritage was destroyed, including the Tapestries in the Cathedral which disappeared permanently.

Lausanne History – The Modern Period

The Napoleonic Wars and the year 1903 is the year in Lausanne history when the city finally gained its independence and it was granted by Napoleon the function of capital of the newly formed Swiss canton, Vaud. It then became an official part of the Swiss Federation and this is when the large Flon River that was running through the city was dried out and bridges were built for the first time to join the two parts of the city. From this moment on Lausanne became a nice spot for adventurers and romantics from all over Europe and it soon adapted itself to a cosmopolite way of life that meant lots of facilities for the new English and European residents. The city grew considerably both economically and culturally and is known for a vibrant youth and eclectic social composition.

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