Confederate / Confederation

What or who is a confederate?

A confederate is a citizen or member of the Swiss Confederation. The term originates from the Middle Ages and originally referred to a person who had sworn an oath to an alliance, a cooperative or a common goal. In historical Switzerland, the term refers to the members of the old Swiss Confederation, which consisted of individual cantons and municipalities that had allied themselves with each other through oath treaties.

What does the Swiss Confederation mean?

The Swiss Confederation is a political and historical concept that refers to the alliances and alliances that led to the founding and development of Switzerland. The Confederation began in the 13th century with the formation of alliances between various valley communities and towns in what is now Switzerland. These alliances were sealed by oaths (charters) and laid the foundation for common defense and political cooperation.


Three Swiss Confederates

Important aspects of the Confederation

  1. OriginThe Confederation officially began with the Federal Charter of 1291, in which the original cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden entered into an alliance for common defense against external threats.

  2. Letters of ConfederationVarious federal letters and treaties laid the foundations for cooperation and mutual support between the cantons. These documents were often sealed with an oath.

  3. CantonsThe Confederation originally consisted of a loose confederation of autonomous cantons that had joined together for common defense and political cooperation.

  4. Common institutionsOver time, common institutions and structures developed to coordinate cooperation between the cantons. These institutions formed the basis for today's Swiss Confederation.

  5. Independence: The Confederation gradually gained independence from the Holy Roman Empire and other European powers. Independence was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.

  6. Modern SwitzerlandThe modern Swiss Confederation was re-established as a federal state in 1848 with a new constitution. This constitution laid the foundation for Switzerland's current political structure.

  7. Neutrality: An important aspect of the Swiss Confederation is Switzerland's policy of neutrality, which has existed since the 16th century and keeps Switzerland away from military conflicts.


A confederate is a member of the Swiss Confederation, a political community based on alliances and oaths between the cantons. The Swiss Confederation is a historical and political concept that describes the development of Switzerland from a loose confederation of independent cantons to a modern federal state. It stands for cooperation, independence and neutrality and forms the basis for the Swiss identity and state structure.


T-shirt red, Swiss Confederate with Swiss cross and Helvetia


The expression "Anyone can become Swiss, I am a Swiss" reflects a deep understanding of Swiss identity and national history. Here is an explanation of this statement:

Anyone can become Swiss

  • NaturalizationThis means that, in principle, anyone can become a Swiss citizen through naturalization. Switzerland has clear legal procedures for people who wish to be naturalized.
  • IntegrationAn important aspect of naturalization is integration into Swiss society. This includes learning one of the national languages, understanding and accepting Swiss values and traditions and participating in social life.

I am a Swiss citizen

  • Historical and cultural significanceThe term "Eidgenosse" has deeper historical and cultural roots. Originally, it referred to the members of the Swiss Confederation, who had joined together in the Middle Ages through oaths and alliances to defend their independence and freedom.
  • Pride and identityCalling yourself a "Swiss Confederate" expresses a special pride and a deep attachment to the history, values and independence of Switzerland. It is more than just a legal citizenship; it is an identity shaped by tradition, history and community.


The statement "Anyone can become Swiss, I am a Swiss citizen" emphasizes the difference between formal citizenship, which can be acquired through naturalization, and the deep-rooted identity and historical heritage associated with the term "Swiss citizen". Being a "Eidgenosse" implies a strong connection to Swiss history and the traditional values of the Confederation, which are often seen as the core of Swiss identity.

In this sense, you don't have to be born in Switzerland to be a Swiss Confederate ;-)

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