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The city of Geneva is the capital of the Republic and Canton of Geneva. It is the second most populous city in Switzerland, with Zurich being the most populous. It is situated in the Rhone Valley People who are from Geneva are called Genevan.

Geneva began its life in 58 BC as a Roman settlement. It was the seat of a bishop in the Roman Empire by 379. In 443, Burgundy took Geneva, and in 534 the Franks took it from them. In 888, Geneva became part of the new Kingdom of Burgundy where it was at the center of the lands which belonged to the Genevese counts. Those vying for control of Geneva were the Bishop of Geneva, the House of Savoy, and the people of Geneva.

In 1401, the counts rose to be dukes and began working to assert their sovereignty, causing the bishops to make generous offers to the burghers in order to gain support against the Savoy dukes. But the burghers vacillated due to the fact that they had contracts with the dukes obligating them to recognize their public assembly as the legislative body of the city.

In 1520, the people rose up against the bishop after he pardoned one of his rich partisans. In 1525, The Duke brought his soldiers in and gained control of Geneva, and in 1526, the partisans of Savoy was defeated, and the signed a treaty with Bern and Friburg. In 1527, the Bishop left the city, and aside from one three-day trip back to the city in 1533, he never returned. In 1528, the agent of Savoy was expelled. The next couple of decades where a time of both political and religious reform.

In 1523, Protestant refugees from France began showing up in Geneva. Their theology was still new, and while Martin Luther and Huldrych Zwingli and their theology did not appeal to the people in Geneva, John Calvin's did. Calvin was not just a theologian but a practical visionary. He arrived in Geneva in 1536, and that same year, the citizens of Geneva declared themselves Protestant, taking a public oath of allegiance to the Protestant faith. Yes, Calvin changed Geneva into a modern city-state at the same time he was converting its citizens. The city remained a Protestant stronghold until the early 1600s,

The city's Grand Council created a position for Calvin: Spiritual Leader of Geneva. Although he had never been elected, he acted and was considered ruler until his death. He believed that the authority of the church was superior to the laws made by politicians. He was the author of laws which governed the Reformed Church as well as the Constitution of the Genevan republic. He was consulted on everything: law, foreign diplomacy, sanitation, the conditions and concerns of the church, and matters of law.

In 1535, a wealthy Genevan and Protestant donated a general state hospital, and John Calvin assisted in the creation of a centralized school system.

In May of 1555, the number of refugees entering Geneva was ballooning, and the nobles began protesting against the refugees, and the government executed some of the nobles who were involved in the protests. The city fathers were favorable to John Calvin. They also granted citizenship to large numbers of religious refugees.

John Calvin died in 1564, at the age of 54.

By the 17th century, Geneva was at its high point of prosperity. The elite of the Enlightenment came to Geneva, which helped to foster the infancy of the new political science which was derived from natural law.

In 1892, the Geneva Revolution was led largely by working class activist and general ideological revolutionaries. Seeking a broader franchise, they seized power over the state. Representatives who were liked by the people were elected and enacted wide reforms, causing France, Bern, and Savoy sent troops to Geneva, and the leaders of the revolution fled to Prussia.

In 1798, Geneva as annexed to France, and it was reduced to an area with no authority in 1802 as the emperor Napoleon I looked at Geneva with mistrust. Under Napoleon and France, Geneva was a time of stagnation. The people were unhappy with their forced subordination and wished to leave France.

In 1814, the Geneva Republic was re-admitted back into the Swiss Confederation.

In 1847, civil war broke out between the federal forces and the cantons, and this allowed radicals and their leader James Fazy, to go in on the offensive. They wrote a new Constitution, the Constitution of 1848. Fazy remained in charge until 1861 and opened railway lines and created the Bank of Geneva. He also made urban expansion possible by razing the city's outer fortifications.

In 1860, the Savoyards officially accepted the sovereignty of France, causing many changes, including the city's role as a regional economic capital. The Red Cross was founded in Geneva in 1864, and the Geneva Conventions for prisoners of war was signed there, and the League of Nations was founded there in 1919.

 

 

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