In 1798 it was freed from Bernese rule and became part of the canton du Leman (renamed canton de Vaud in 1803) of the Helvetic Republic.
Aarau, an ancient fortress, was taken by the Bernese in 1415, and in 1798 became for a time the capital of the Helvetic republic. Eight miles by rail N.E.
A fine view of the Bernese Alps is obtained from the castle, while a still finer one may be enjoyed from the Lueg hill (2917 ft.), north-east of the town.
He induced both France and Spain to evacuate the fortresses which they still held in Piedmont, made a profitable exchange of territory with the Bernese, and acquired an extension of seaboard by the purchase of Tenda and Oneglia (see Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy).
In 1798 the Bernese bit became the canton of Aargau of the Helvetic Republic, the remainder forming the canton of Baden.
But the Bernese government ordered him to quit its territory.
The Bernese often interfered with the internal affairs of Geneva (while Calvin, a Frenchman, naturally looked towards France), and refused to allow the city to conclude any alliances save with itself.
In 1530 he was again seized by the duke and imprisoned for four years underground, in the castle of Chillon, till he was released in 1536 by the Bernese, who then wrested Vaud from the duke.
It was sacked after the Bernese conquest (1536) and the introduction of Protestantism, but many ancient tapestries and other precious objects are still preserved in the Historical Museum at Bern.
Close by is the castle, built in the early 15th century by the bishops, later the residence of the Bernese bailiffs and now the seat of the various branches of the administration of the canton of Vaud.
But in 1536 the territory of the bishop (as well as the Savoyard barony of Vaud) was forcibly conquered by the Bernese, who at once introduced Protestantism.
The Bernese occupation lasted till 1798, though in 1723 an attempt was made to put an end to it by Major Davel, who lost his life in consequence.
It rises on the frontier between the cantons of Bern and of the Valais, and is reckoned among the peaks of the Bernese Oberland, two of which (the Finsteraarhorn, 14,026 ft., and the Aletschhorn, 13,721 ft.) surpass it in height.
Yet, as a matter of fact, several important mountain groups are situated on one or other side of the watershed of the Alps, and form almost independent ranges, being only connected with the main chain by a kind of peninsula: such are the Dauphine Alps, the Eastern and Western Graians, the entire Bernese Oberland, the Todi, Albula and Silvretta groups, the Ortler and Adamello ranges, and the Dolomites of south Tirol, not to speak of the lower Alps of the Vorarlberg, Bavaria and Salzburg.
Yet it is a curious fact that the three longest glaciers in the Alps (the Great Aletsch, 162 m., and the Unteraar and the Fiescher, each 10 m.) are all in the Bernese Oberland.
The Mont Genevre, that is most directly reached by the Col du Lautaret; and the Simplon, which is best gained by one of the lower passes over the western portion of the Bernese Oberland chain.
This range contains all the highest peaks in the Alps, save the Finsteraarhorn (14,026) in the Bernese Oberland.
Bernese Oberland (from the Lake of Geneva to the Furka, the Reuss Valley and the Lake of Lucerne).
Chief Peaks of the Bernese Oberland.
10,516 Napf 4,629 Chief Passes of the Bernese Oberland.
In the early 19th century the Meyer family of Aarau conquered in person the Jungfrau (1811) and by deputy the Finsteraarhorn (1812), besides opening several glacier passes, their energy being entirely confined to the Bernese Oberland.
It is an interesting fact that the centrally situated Bernese Alps produce hardly a single peculiar species.
The snowy Alps of the Bernese Oberland (culminating in the Finsteraarhorn, 14,026 ft., and the Jungfrau, 13,669 ft.), as well as the famous summer resorts of Grindelwald, Marren, Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken, Meiringen, Kandersteg, Adelboden, Thun and the fine pastoral valley of the Simme.
The more important, with dates of acquisition, are the following:-Laupen (1324), Hasli and Meiringen (1334), Thun and Burgdorf (1384), Unterseen and the Upper Simme valley (1386), Frutigen, &c. (1400), Lower Simme valley (1439-1449), Interlaken, with Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen and Brienz (1528, on the suppression of the Austin Canons of Interlaken), Saanen or Gessenay (1555), Kdniz (1729), and the Bernese Jura with Bienne (1815, from the bishopric of Basel).
It rises at the upper or eastern extremity of the Swiss canton of the Valais, flows between the Bernese Alps (N.) and the Lepontine and Pennine Alps (S.) till it expands into the Lake of Geneva, winds round the southernmost spurs of the Jura range, receives at Lyons its principal tributary, the Saline, and then turns southward through France till, by many mouths, it enters that part of the Mediterranean which is rightly called the Golfe du Lion (sometimes wrongly the Gulf of Lyons).
There remained the Bernese, who had occupied some of the duke's territories in Savoy and Vaud, and in Geneva, over which he claimed certain rights.
We first hear of the cruelties of Austrian bailiffs in the Forest districts in the Bernese Chronicle of Conrad Justinger (1420).
The story was, on the ground of want of evidence, regarded as suspicious by Guilliman in a private letter of 1607, and doubts were expressed by the brothers Iselin (1727 and 1754) and by Voltaire (1754); but it was not till 1760 that the legend was definitely attacked, on the ground of its similarity to the story of Tokko (see below), in an anonymous pamphlet by Freudenberger, a Bernese pastor.
It is pleasing to turn from these vehement struggles of thought to a tour which Hegel in company with three other tutors made through the Bernese Oberland in July and August 1796.
In June part of the Swiss Guard mutinied because the Bernese government not having renewed the convention with Naples the troops were deprived of their cantonal flag.
The old fortifications (Schanzen) have been converted into promenades, which command wonderful views of the snowy Alps of the Bernese Oberland.
Meanwhile the rule of the town was extending over more and more territory, so that finally it governed 52 bailiwicks (acquired between 1324 and 1729), the Bernese patricians being thus extremely powerful and forming an oligarchy that administered affairs like a benevolent and well-ordered despotism.
GRINDELWALD, a valley in the Bernese Oberland, and one of the chief resorts of tourists in Switzerland.
Five cases at least are known: a follower of the count of Hapsburg, in a skirmish with the Bernese in 1271; Stulinger of Ratisbon (Regensburg) in 1332, in the war of the count of Kyburg against the men of Bern and Solothurn; Conrad Royt of Lucerne, at Nancy in 1477; Henri Wolleben, at Frastanz in 1499, in the course of the Swabian War; and a man at the battle of Kappel in 1531.