Famous city on the lake of Zurich, 60 mi NE of Bern. Occupied in the Neolithic period by lake
dwellers, it was later settled by the Gallic Helvetii. After the fifth century a.d. it passed successively to the Alemanni, the Franks, and to the German Stem duchy of Swabia. A free imperial city after 1218, it joined the Swiss Confederation in 1351. When it claimed the Toggenburg, a region in the Thur valley, a ruinous war with the rest of the Swiss Confederation resulted between 1436 and 1450. In the 16th century, under the influence of Ulrich Zwingli, Zurich became a leading power of the Swiss Reformation, provoking civil war, which was ended by the Roman Catholic victory at Kappel in 1531. Scene of two battles of the French Revolutionary Wars in 1799, it became a cultural and artistic center in the 18th and 19th centuries.
During World War I, the city was a center of dissidents and artists. Lenin was in residence, as was James Joyce, and the Dada school of artists gathered here. Also a center of diplomacy, a treaty ending the Franco-Italian War was concluded here in 1859, and a convention here in 1959 laid down the provisions for an independent Cyprus. Founded in 1877, Zurich’s stock market is one of the world’s largest. Zurich is also historically a major banking center and gold market, where people and corporations from around the world place funds. Notable buildings include the Romanesque Grossmünster of the 11th to 13th centuries, where Zwingli preached, and the Fraumünster of the 12th and 15th centuries.