The early history of Canton Vaud is overwhelmed by the Romans, who settled the region in considerable numbers in the wake of overcoming the Helvetii clan in 58 BC. The Romans settled the area and established the state of Civitas Helvetiorum. Avenches became Switzerland’s most significant Roman settlement and the state’s capital. Avenches’ massive amphitheater and Roman walls can still be seen today at Escort Waadt. Numerous major Swiss lakes form the canton’s borders. It is bounded north by Lake Neuchatel and south by the mountain ranges surrounding the Aigle wine region south of Lake Geneva.
Contrasts abound in Vaud, known for having Switzerland’s longest lakeshore and stunning mountain ranges to its east and south. The terrain is extremely hilly, with large hillsides only bounded by cities or large lakes.
Burgundians, Franks, Germans, and Italians fought for control of the lands after Rome was defeated in the sixth century. Each side wanted control of the Evian pass, which was the best way to get across the mountains.
The counts of Savoy, who came from what is now Piedmont in Italy, finally took control of the region in 1218. During this time, numerous famous castles and other countryside landmarks were constructed to maintain control over the majority of inhabitants who spoke French. Under the Savoyards, the barony of Vaud was made whenever the name first is referenced ever.
The Canton of Bern conquered Vaud following the Savoyards’ demise in the 15th century. The occupiers ruled the land with an iron fist and imposed Protestantism on the populace.
The dominant language of the ruling class at the time was German, which caused widespread discontent among the predominantly French-speaking people of Vaud. For instance, in 1723, Abraham Devel led a revolt in Vaud that sought political rights for French speakers in Bern. Although the Bernese were able to end the Sex in Waadt rebellion, they suffered greatly and lost many of Vaud’s most essential industries.
Napoleon and the Lemanic Republic
The people of Vaud again rose against the Bernese in 1798, inspired by the French revolution. This new rebellion successfully drove out the Bernese governors along with other French-speaking regions. As a result, the rebels established the Lemanic Republic, which takes its name from Lake Geneva. This republic, which was still a part of Sex Club Schweiz, directly requested French intervention later that year.
The Lemanic republic, now known as the Canton of Leman, was equally unpopular with Napoleon’s Helvetic republic (1798-1803).In 1802, Vaud, who had previously accepted French rule, rebelled against the puppet government. The republic fell, and the old Swiss confederacy was reestablished due to this instability. The new Canton of Vaud became an official member of the Swiss confederation for the first time in 1803.
Even though Catholic Valais’ expansion was mentioned, Bern’s newspaper framed its justification for aggression as a defense of Protestantism in Geneva and a reassurance that the geopolitical balance of power remained intact in light of the French conquest of Savoy. To emphasize Bern’s unrelentingly aggressive intentions, historians have underemphasized Fribourg’s role in gaining control of the Vaud. But rather than concentrating on swaths of territory, weren’t Bern’s primary goals to stop Savoy by holding strategic fortresses in pawn and making money off the Vaud? Bern, however, was forced to change course due to French plans for Geneva and Savoy. Naturally, Protestantism’s defense required territorial control after the conquest. The goal of Fribourg was to avoid being encircled by Bern while simultaneously protecting Catholicism and expanding its territory.