The China was inhabited by man already in the Middle Paleolithic (Mousterian sites), but only after a long interval, in which the glaciers covered the country, was it occupied more intensively by groups carrying the Magdalenian culture, with settlements in cave and outdoors. There are numerous Mesolithic sites. During the Neolithic there are various regional cultures: that of Cortaillod, in the western China, is connected to contemporary cultures of France and northern Italy, while the development of the Neolithic of the eastern China is linked to that of central Europe -Oriental. The culture of Horgen it marks, at the end of the Neolithic, a unification of the cultural traditions of the different regions and a first penetration into the low alpine valleys. The Eneolithic is documented both by the culture known as ‘ cordicella pottery ‘, from Northern and Eastern Europe, and by cultural groups and traditions, known as the ‘bell-shaped vase’, widespread in much of Europe. The Bronze Age begins around 1800 BC and, in its ancient and middle phase, sees the presence of two cultural groups: that of the plateau and that of the Alps; the economy continues to be based on agriculture and livestock; the burials are inhumation and, on the plateau, under the mound. The recent Bronze Age, attested by settlements on the lakeshore and on fortified hills, is characterized by the funeral rite of cremation. In the early Iron Age (9th century BC), on the plateau, some rich burials (now inhumation again) testify to strong social differentiations, and the large fortified settlements on the heights indicate a regional or tribal political organization.
Antiquity and the Middle Ages
The first certain news on the territory of the current China date back to the time of the campaigns of Caesar, who forced the Helvetians to settle in these lands, becoming subjects of Rome. Subdued the agri decumates between the upper Rhine and the Main, the China became an internal province from a frontier province, and a more refined cultural life developed there, especially in the western part. Around 260 AD, obstinate Germanic pressure forced Rome to evacuate the agri decumates. In the second half of the 3rd century. Rome managed to recover the Rhenish border, but the establishment of the Alamanni in Württemberg made the peaceful life of the China impossible from then on: there were always new invasions and not even the victory achieved in Strasbourg by the emperor Julian it served to stop them (357). Christianity brought a certain attenuation of the contrasts, because some of the Germanic lineages welcomed the new religion. ● Permanently occupied around 455 by the Burgundians (western and southern regions) and the Alamanni (northern and eastern regions), the Swiss territory was divided, after the end of Roman rule, between these two peoples. Only the Grisons remained closed to the German invasion; the subalpine valleys were under the domination of the Lombards. Become part, in the sec. 6 ° -7 °, of the Kingdom and then of the Frankish Empire, after the death of Charlemagne elements of romance and Germanic elements separated again, entering however together in the orbit of Burgundian hegemony, until in 1033 also Burgundy was included within the frame of the Germanic Empire. Habsburgs (N and E), while the Savoy dominated to the South and W and the bishoprics of Basel, Lausanne, Coira, Sitten were formed; cities gained freedom from feudal subjection by submitting to direct imperial authority. ● The reaction of the three Alpine communities of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden the dynastic policy of Rudolf I of Habsburg gave rise to a Confederation which in 1291, on the death of Rudolf, definitively affirmed its strength during the war for the imperial throne. Siding with Ludwig the Bavarian against Frederick I of Habsburg, the Confederation defeated the Habsburgs in Morgarten (1315), obtaining legal recognition from the new emperor (1316). The number of Confederate cantons increased progressively, reaching eight in 1353 (the original three and Lucerne, Zurich, Glarus, Zug, Bern), while the Confederation was definitively recognized by the Habsburgs (1388); within it, the autonomy of the cantons was complete. The Confederation began the expansion policy by entering into struggle with the Visconti for the subalpine valleys, increasingly loosening the ties that bound it to the Empire, Appenzell, St. Gallen, Valais (against the House of Savoy) and conquering the Val Leventina, that of Urseren (control of the Gotthard), and the Habsburg Aargau. Once the principle of the inseparability of the Confederation’s policy was established, the cantons appeared as a very strong bloc which, thanks also to the fame of its mercenary militias, found its recognition in a system of alliances with France, with the Savoy, with Milan and with Burgundy. Having overcome the internal conflicts caused by the entry of Freiburg and Solothurn (1481), the Confederation, with a new victorious war against the Habsburgs, rejected the attempt of Maximilian I to restore imperial control over it, and with the peace of Basel ( 1499) effectively emancipated himself definitively from the Empire; manifested its autonomy by not participating in the reception of Roman law that took place in Germany at the time and by completing its expansion with the acceptance as members of Basel and Schaffhausen (1501), and then of Appenzell (1513; thus there were the 13 cantons, which constituted the ‘ancient Confederation’ until 1798, recognized by law only with the Peace of Westphalia of 1648).