Old Zurich War
The Old Zurich War or Toggenburg Inheritance War was a warlike conflict between the imperial city of Zurich and the rest of the VII-local Confederation between 1440 and 1450. Through the alliance between Zurich and King Friedrich III. von Habsburg gave the war supra-regional dimensions. The immediate cause of the war was the dispute between Zurich, Schwyz and Glarus over the inheritance of the Counts of Toggenburg .
At the beginning of the 15th century, disputes arose between the city of Zurich and the state of Schwyz over dominance around Lake Zurich and the Linth area . Under Mayor Rudolf Stüssi , Zurich adopted a clearly expansionist policy. The aim was to control the entire access to the Alpine passes between Baden and Sargans . For the time being, the conflict was settled peacefully, like the dispute over the umbrella bailiwick over the Einsiedeln monastery .
Zurich began to rise to become the most powerful city in Eastern Switzerland in the 15th century. After the acquisition of the County of Kyburg in 1424, castle rights followed with Count Friedrich VII of Toggenburg , the Bishop of Chur , the Church of God and Glarus . This meant that the area between the Graubünden Alpine passes and Lake Zurich was open to Zurich trade . In 1433 the rise of Zurich to an "imperial" imperial city was confirmed with special privileges at the imperial coronation of Sigismund of Luxembourg in Rome. The mayor of Zurich, Rudolf Stüssi, personally received the corresponding certificates in Rome and was even knighted . In 1433 Count Friedrich VII declared his wife Elisabeth von Matsch the sole heir and confirmed her citizenship in Zurich. Thus, the legacy of the Counts of Toggenburg finally seemed to come completely under the control of Zurich.
Count Friedrich VII of Toggenburg died on April 30, 1436 . He left no will, but many promises, some of which were contradicting one another. For the time being, however, his inheritance remained in the hands of his widow Elisabeth. In addition to Zurich, Schwyz now also raised claims to parts of the inheritance, since Friedrich had also had a land right with Schwyz. The Upper March , the county Uznach , the rule Windegg (Gaster) and the county of sargans were at the center of the conflict.
Shortly after the Count's death, Ital Reding the Elder , Landammann von Schwyz, had the Obere March with the Linth crossing near Grynau occupied. Friedrich VII had contractually promised this area to Schwyz in 1428. Zurich then began to gather troops on the borders with Schwyz and the county of Uznach. Schwyz and Glarus then allied themselves in December with the country people of the counties Toggenburg and Uznach and Count Heinrich von Werdenberg-Sargans. In this situation, a federal arbitration court in Lucerne decided on March 9th that Glarus and Schwyz had to dissolve their alliances with Uznach and Toggenburg and that Uznach Castle had to be handed over to the widow of Friedrich VII, Countess Elisabeth.
Elisabeth von Matsch signed over her inheritance to her brother Ulrich and her cousin Ulrich von Matsch in April 1437 with the stipulation that it should be divided fairly. On November 14, 1437 in Feldkirch, with the mediation of Ital Redings or the Bernese mayor Rudolf Hofmeister, the inheritance was divided between a number of aristocratic lords. The Toggenburg and Uznach went to Hildebrand and Petermann von Raron . Windegg and the County of Sargans had been pledges from Habsburg and returned to it. Zurich tried in vain to challenge the legality of the division. By concluding a castle law with the Sarganserland, Zurich only got into a war with the Habsburgs and after a federal arbitration court ruled in favor of Schwyz and Glarus in March 1437, Elisabeth von Matsch gave up her inheritance claims. While Glarus and Schwyz immediately entered into new castle rights with the Prince Abbey of St. Gallen and the Toggenburg heirs and were able to acquire Uznach on May 25, 1437 and Windegg as pledges from Habsburg on March 2, 1438. Meanwhile, Zurich went completely empty. The money for the pledges came from Bern, which Zurich was happy to throw out of the running as a competitor.
In the spring of 1438, Zurich imposed a grain ban on Schwyz and Glarus, which had a particularly severe impact in the famine year 1438 (→ weather anomalies of the 1430s ). Despite protests by the emperor against the blocking of the Reichsstrasse and federal mediation attempts in November 1438 in Bern, Zurich remained tough. Zurich only offered a trial before a Reichsgericht to settle the disputes. However, Schwyz insisted on another federal arbitration court.
The first phase of the war 1439–1440: Zurich against Schwyz and Glarus and Habsburg
At the beginning of May 1439, the situation between Schwyz and Zurich was so tense that there was a first armed clash between Zurich and Schwyzers on the Etzel . The people of Zurich were repulsed and concluded an armistice with Schwyz for one year. In the spring of 1439, the war party around the former mayor Stüssi finally won the upper hand in Zurich. He had the incumbent mayor, Rudolf Meiss , who wanted peace, thrown into dungeon and replaced by Jakob Schwarzmurer, who belonged to the war party .
In the meantime, the county of Sargans was handed over from Habsburg to Heinrich von Werdenberg-Sargans, who was in league with Schwyz and Glarus. Since the subjects refused to pay homage to the count and now for their part concluded a castle right with Zurich, the Schwyz and Glarner moved to the Sarganserland in October and subjugated the landscape for the count. On November 2nd, Schwyz declared war on Zurich again. Rudolf Stüssi therefore landed on November 4th with 6,000 men at Pfäffikon SZ , from where he wanted to advance to Schwyz via Rothenthurm . After the meeting near Pfäffikon, however, the people of Zurich withdrew across the lake in front of an overpowering federal force (→ meeting near Pfäffikon ).
Confederate troops plundered and devastated the possessions of Zurich to the left and right of Lake Zurich, except for the mediation of Count Hugo von Montfort in November a peace was signed in Kilchberg , which was chartered on December 1, 1440 in Lucerne. The conditions meant a complete defeat for Zurich: it had to lift the grain supply ban, waive all rights in Sargans, the rule of Wädenswil , the island of Ufenau and the " courtyards " Pfäffikon SZ , Wollerau and Hurden . In this extremely bad situation for Zurich, in 1441 the new German King Friedrich III. from Habsburg additionally the return of the rule Grüningen , a Zurich pledge that came from Habsburg. According to some sources, the King of Schwyz was instigated to do this, and the Zurich rule wanted to be dismantled for good.
Zurich took now peace negotiations with Friedrich III. because since the conclusion of the castle rights with the rebellious Sarganser in 1437, both parties were actually in a state of war. The decisive negotiations took place in May 1442: Friedrich demanded the return of the County of Kyburg and, in exchange, was willing to renew Zurich's privileges as king and recognize the rest of the rule of the city. Since the Confederation was viewed as hostile and an agreement with the Habsburgs was necessary for the continued existence of Zurich, an agreement was reached. On June 17, 1442, Zurich sealed in Aachen on the occasion of the coronation of Friedrich III. two contracts. This alliance provided that Zurich would give the parts of the County of Kyburg north of the Glatt to Friedrich III. should pass. This extensive area in the Zurich Unterland was only acquired by Zurich in 1424. Those parts that remained with Zurich were then called Neuamt . In return, Frederick III promised to acquire the actual Toggenburg on the upper reaches of the Thur and the county of Uznach from the heirs of the Toggenburgers and to hand them over to Zurich. In addition, Zurich and the king made an everlasting alliance, the alliance between Zurich and the Confederates being reserved for honorary purposes. Friedrich III. but should have a free hand in the eventual recovery of the Aargau , which had been conquered by the Confederates in 1415. The king came to Zurich on a visit from September 19 to 24 and received the city's homage. With the exception of Bern, Uri and Solothurn, the king refused to confirm their privileges and sovereignty in the rest of the Swiss Confederation until they had handed the Aargau back to him.
Zurich troops seize the messenger from Gersau near Pfäffikon in 1440, in the Swiss Chronicle
Retreat of the people of Zurich across the lake in November 1440 in the Swiss Chronicle
The second phase of the war 1442–1443: Zurich with Friedrich III. against the confederates
At the turn of the year 1442/43, Friedrich III. in Feldkirch the Swabian and Eastern Swiss nobility to set up a war coalition against the Swiss Confederation and to reorganize the Duchy of Swabia. In January Zurich received a Habsburg captain, Thuringia II von Hallwyl , to whom the citizens had to take an oath. From then on, the Zurich troops wore the red Habsburg cross, no longer the white federal cross.
Although Zurich had the right according to the federal letter with the Confederation to form an alliance with the Habsburg Friedrich III. to close, the other federal places demanded that the federation must be dissolved. Zurich reacted negatively to the invitation to a federal arbitration tribunal in Einsiedeln and relied on its free right of association. Schwyz therefore declared war again. At Freienbach on May 22nd, 1443, at Blickensdorf on the 23rd (undecided) and at the Letzi am Hirzel on May 24th, 1443, the Zurich and Habsburg armies suffered their first defeats. Then federal troops occupied the Aargau cities of Bremgarten (→ Siege of Bremgarten ) and Baden and roamed the Zurich countryside, plundering. For the time being, the troops of Zurich stayed behind the walls of the city until the Swiss made their way home again to harvest hay. When, after the harvest, another federal contingent appeared in front of Zurich, Mayor Stüssi personally led the city's troops to battle in the Sihlfeld against the advice of the Habsburg captains, where they fought a devastating battle at St. Jakob an der Sihl on July 23, 1443 Suffered defeat. Mayor Stüssi was killed while defending the Sihl Bridge .
Since the federal army was not sufficiently well equipped for a siege of the city of Zurich, it moved on to the Habsburg city of Rapperswil am Obersee. However, this well-fortified city could not be captured either. Also Winterthur the siege could withstand and remained firm in Habsburg hands. In this stalemate, the Bishop of Konstanz, Heinrich von Hewen , and the Abbot of Einsiedeln brokered an eight-month armistice on August 9, 1443, the Peace of Rapperswil , also known as "Elender Frieden" in Zurich literature. On March 22, 1444, the warring parties met in Baden for peace negotiations, in which Zurich insisted on the free right of alliance and the return of the farms as well as its claim to Uznach, but the Confederates the dissolution of the alliance with Friedrich III. demanded. When the city council of Zurich wanted to discuss the negotiations in Baden and any concessions on April 4, an angry crowd broke into the council chamber and forced the arrest of five and later the execution of three councilors who were considered friends of the Confederates because they had advocated a peace treaty. Since the peace negotiations were unsuccessful, the war continued after the armistice on April 23, 1444.
The third phase of the war 1444-1446
After the failure of the negotiations in Baden, the previously neutral Appenzell also entered the war on the side of the Swiss Confederation. At the end of April 1444, a federal army again moved into the Zurich Oberland and began to besiege the Greifensee fortress . After four weeks, Greifensee had to surrender out of favor on May 28th. The surviving crew, with the exception of a few men, were executed on the blood mat near Nänikon . This Greifensee murder was considered by contemporaries to be another example of the gruesome and barbaric warfare of the Confederates. The confederates then marched in front of Zurich and began a siege again on June 24th.
In this desperate situation, King Friedrich III asked. the French King Charles VII for help. Since an armistice had just been concluded in the Hundred Years War between England and France on May 28, 1444, Charles VII sent the Dauphin Ludwig with an army of around 40,000 men to support Frederick. This troop, known as Armagnaks after their first leader, Count Bernard VII d'Armagnac , had a very bad reputation in the Basel area, as they had plundered and devastated parts of Alsace as early as 1439 . Charles's real goal was not to go to war against the Swiss Confederation, but to conquer Basel, as he wanted to bring Alsace under the control of France. Probably tried Friedrich III. also to put pressure on the council in Basel , which had fallen out with Pope Eugene IV and designated the Count of Savoy as Felix V as the antipope.
When the news of the alleged advance of the Armagnaks against the Confederation reached Zurich in July, the Habsburg captain Hans von Rechberg and Baron Thomas von Falkenstein attacked the city of Brugg on July 30th to enable the French ally to cross the Aare safely. In front of the Armagnaks, however, an army of around 2,000 men emerged from the Confederates, from which the Zurich expeditionary corps could only save itself to the Farnsburg . During the siege of the castle, the confederates received the news on August 23 that the Armagnaks had appeared at the gates of Basel and had occupied the villages around the river Birs . About 1,500 men from the Confederate camp and from the Basle countryside then marched towards Basle to investigate. At Pratteln they encountered an enemy vanguard, which they drove to flight. Full of high spirits, the Confederates recklessly stepped over the Birs and immediately encountered the main power of the Armagnaks. After a four-hour struggle, they had to retreat to the infirmary in St. Jakob an der Birs , where they resisted to the last after a failed attempt by the Basler and refused to surrender. The majority of the 1500 Swiss were killed in the battle of St. Jakob an der Birs on August 26, 1444. The losses of the Armagnaks are likely to have been four times as much and the dogged struggle made such an impression on the Dauphin Ludwig that, contrary to all expectations, he broke off the siege of Basel and concluded a peace and friendship treaty with Basel, Solothurn and the eighth places of the Confederation in Ensisheim .
On August 30, 1444, King Friedrich III. the Reich War against the Confederation, but handed the matter over to his brother Albrecht VI. whom he made regent of Upper Austria on the same day . Albrecht and numerous Swabian counts, knights and lords then began to raid the federal and Appenzell areas on the Rhine between Sargans and Aargau in smaller and larger raids and devastation. The Appenzeller were able to reject the only serious advance into their heartland on June 11, 1445 in the battle of Wolfhalden , the Toggenburg in the battle near Kirchberg ; the Confederates did the same in the battle of Ragaz on March 6, 1446. There, around 1,100 people from Central Switzerland, Appenzell and Toggenburg asserted themselves against a four-fold superior army of knights under Hans von Rechberg, who wanted to occupy the county of Sargans.
In the west, the Confederates had given up the siege of Zurich after the defeat at St. Jakob an der Birs because it was impossible to capture the city. They were also unable to conquer Rapperswil despite several attempts. Meanwhile, Zurich troops set fire to the Free Offices. However, neither party was able to take decisive action. After lengthy negotiations on an initiative of three electors in Constance under the direction of the Count Palatine and Imperial Vicar Ludwig IV in Constance, the hostilities ceased on June 12, 1446.
Warfare and Theaters of War
The old Zurich War set new standards for what is now Switzerland because of its long duration, because of the weapons and methods used, as well as in terms of brutality. For Zurich, for example, the control of Lake Zurich was a decisive factor throughout the war. The city had numerous war rafts and barges, which were even equipped with firearms. As a result, Zurich was able to supply itself as well as the Habsburg Rapperswil , which was besieged between April and November 1444 and from April to November 1445, with food and reinforcements. In November 1440 there was a rare example of amphibious warfare in Switzerland near Pfäffikon , when Zurich quickly landed a large contingent of troops to advance against Schwyz. The same troops were after the meeting at Pfäffikon on 4th / 5th. November just as quickly evacuated before the approaching Confederates. Schwyz tried to break the supremacy of Zurich by building up its own fleet and there were downright small sea battles, for example in the sea battle near Männedorf on October 29, 1445, in which Zurich was able to keep the upper hand. Both sides attempted further amphibious operations several times during the war, such as in the Battle of Wollerau , which were unsuccessful. Landing attempts in Zurich were rejected, for example, in Hurden and on the Ufenau , just as the attempt by the Confederates failed to shoot Rapperswil from the lake ready for a storm.
The civilian population suffered most from the acts of war in all phases of the war. Between 1440 and 1444 it was mainly the subjects of Zurich on both sides of the lake who were affected by looting and destruction, later the entire area on the left bank of the Rhine between Alsace, Lake Constance and Sargans was repeatedly devastated from both sides. In particular, the Sarganserland, the St. Gallen Rhine Valley, the Thurgau, the Toggenburg, the Aargau and the area around Basel were affected. The extent of the destruction and the long-term interruption in trade flows between Basel, Zurich and the Graubünden Alpine passes were ultimately a decisive factor in the war weariness on both sides, which led to a ceasefire in June 1446.
A secondary theater of war, which also had an influence on the course of the war that should not be underestimated, was the Bernese Oberland. On May 2, 1445 there was an uprising of the Bad Bund against the rule of the city of Bern because the high war costs that were passed on to the subjects and the regular campaigns for military campaigns became unbearable for the peasants. Bern was only able to put down the uprising in August 1446 with the help of the Swiss Confederation.
The Old Zurich War is also the first war in the Swiss Confederation that led to international entanglements. On the mediation day in Baden on March 22, 1444 were therefore in addition to envoys from Zurich and the German King Friedrich III. and the VII places also representatives from over 20 German imperial cities, many knights and lords from Swabia as well as the sovereigns from Württemberg and Savoy as well as the prince-bishops of Basel and Constance were present. Following the battle of St. Jakob an der Birs, the first treaty between France and the Confederation was concluded in Ensisheim , which meant that France recognized the Confederation.
The peace negotiations 1446–1450
The peace negotiations lasted another four years, so that the war did not formally end until 1450. Three contracts were signed, one between Zurich and the Swiss Confederation, a second between Friedrich III. and the Confederation and a third between Basel and Friedrich III. The peace negotiations between Zurich and the Swiss Confederation took place in Kaiserstuhl . On February 28, 1447, the mayor of the imperial city of Augsburg , Peter von Argun, passed a judgment after failed arbitration proceedings : Zurich should submit to federal arbitration, as its alliances with the other towns would never have lost their legal force. After turmoil in the city of Zurich on the occasion of a "carnival visit" by Central Switzerland, the parties to the dispute met in Einsiedeln in May 1447 for an alliance-based arbitration. The focus here was on the question of war guilt and thus any war compensation. Schwyz assigned the war debt to Zurich, which would have refused in 1438 to enter into the covenant arbitration.
The arbitration negotiations dragged on and did not really get going again until May 1449, as Bern intervened as mediator and Zurich was alienated from Habsburg by the political developments in the Empire. On April 8, 1450, a settlement was reached in the Kappel monastery , which provided for final arbitration under the mediation of the Bernese mayor Heinrich IV von Bubenberg . On July 13th, he made the arbitration decision in Einsiedeln: Zurich had to establish its alliance with Friedrich III. quit and recognize the "Kilchberg Peace" of 1440. The farms remained with Schwyz, the rule of Wädenswil - today's municipalities of Wädenswil , Richterswil , Schönenberg , Hütten and Uetikon - was neutralized. War compensation was waived. On August 24th, Zurich and the other confederates solemnly renewed the old leagues by oath in a meadow near Einsiedeln Monastery and exchanged the flags captured in the war. This also formally ended the Old Zurich War.
The Old Zurich War was repeatedly portrayed as a civil war among the confederates, especially in 19th century Swiss history. When the war broke out, however, the Confederation only existed as a loose alliance of six individual leagues, supplemented by two agreements ( Sempacher letter , Pfaffenbrief ). Apart from the administration of the common lords in Aargau, this alliance did not pursue any common political goals. The restriction of the free right of the city of Zurich to form alliances through the ruling of Einsiedeln meant a consolidation of the entire Swiss Confederation. For the near future it was now clear that the unions were binding for all those involved and, if necessary, would also be enforced by force.
Zurich clearly emerged as the loser from this conflict: it lost control of the upper Lake Zurich to Schwyz and, until the repurchase in 1452, also the county of Kyburg. The controversial county of Uznach and the rule of Gaster fell to Schwyz and Glarus as common rulers , which means that the Zurich-Chur trade route was now completely in the hands of these two provincial towns.
After the peace agreement of Einsiedeln in 1450, a loose network of alliances within the Confederation turned into a closed alliance that far exceeded the previous views of the peace in terms of cohesion.
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