Aviva Directory » Local & Global » Europe » Switzerland » Cities & Towns » Lausanne

Lausanne is the capital of Vaud Canton in western Switzerland. Situated on the northern shore of Lake Geneva on the southern slopes of the Jorat Heights, Lausanne is the judicial centre of Switzerland. The language spoken there is French. The city is at altitudes ranging from 1,240 ft to 2,122 ft.

In prehistoric times, the Celtic settlement of Lausonium was on the short of Lake Geneva southwest of where the city is today. It fell under Roman rule in 15 BC. Soon, the town of Lousonna was established. Shortly after the Romans took the town over, it had more than 1,500 residents. The moneyed residents built their homes on the side of the hill across from Lake Vidy. Before the end of the 1st century, a port and a dam were built, allowing the monetization of the lake. The people there left the village in droves for the relative safety of the hills of Cité, a fortified settlement.

The Roman Empire was in trouble throughout most of the 5th century, until it finally collapsed in 476 when Emperor Romulus Augustulus was deposed by Odovacar, the Germanic kin. of the Torcilingi. Romulus was the last Roman emperor to rule anywhere in the western part of the Roman empire. The eastern part of the empire morphed into the Byzantine Empire, and it had as its capital Constantinople, which today is named Istanbul.

As Christianity took hold all over the world, Lausanne was incorporated into a diocese in 517. Bishop Marius, of present-day Avenches, established a diocese there around 585. New districts popped up as those who had left the village for the safety of the hills began to return to the land surrounding Lausanne. A castle kept the Port of Ouchy safe during the 12th century, increasing the trade there. From the end of the 6th century until 1536, it was a bishopric as well as a pilgrimage destination. Eventually, the settlement joined with the Burgundian settlement of Bourg across the Flon Stream as well as a settlement around the Saint-Laurent church to the west of Lausonium.

The prince-bishops of the Holy Roman Empire ruled over Lausonium from the 1100s until 1536 when the city was taken by the Bernese.

In the 14th century, Luasanne and the rest of Europe faced the Great Famine of 1315-1322, which resulted in millions of deaths and signaled the end of the prosperity and growth during the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries. Beginning in the spring of 1315, heavy rains throughout spring and summer and cool temperatures which would not allow the grain to ripen. The rains were constant. People brought their grain inside their homes and put them in pots in an effort to keep them dry. The hay and straw could not be cured, and therefore the animals could not eat. The only way to cure and preserve meat, was nearly impossible to get because brine could not be evaporated enough in the wet weather. Food prices moved upwards, and in some places, nearly doubled.

It turned into crop failure in 1316, and riots abounded. The summer of 1317 saw some health in the crops, but Europe didn't recover fully until 1322. The duration of the extended famine was a period of time marked by unusually high levels of disease, death, and crime, which included cannibalism and infanticide. Infants were abandoned, presumably so that the parents could fend for themselves. The crops returned to normal in 1317, though it wasn't right until 1322.

Things finally got back to normal, and in 1347, the Black Death, also called the Great Plague, or just the Plague, hit Europe hard. It is believed that it killed nearly half of the entire population of Eurasia between 1347 and 1351.

During the first part of the century, Lausanne became depopulated due to the Great Flood and the Black Death, which are known as the European Crisis of the 14th Century, affected Lausanne. The city was all but depopulated, and a treaty had to be signed by Lausanne, Bern, and Friberg in 1525.

The Bernese introduced Protestantism and the facts of the Reformation to them. In 1798, they became independent, and the city joined Napoleon's Helvetic Republic and became the capital of Vaud Canton in 1803.



Recommended Resources

Search for Lausanne on Google or Bing