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Swiss neutrality

Opening showing part of the English translation of the Treaty of Paris relating to SwitzerlandOpening showing part of the English translation of the Treaty of Paris relating to SwitzerlandOne of the terms of the November 1815 Treaty of Paris was in fact a ratification of an agreement made at the Congress of Vienna earlier in the same year, guaranteeing the perpetual independence and neutrality of Switzerland.

During the Napoleonic period Switzerland had come under the French sphere of influence, forming a useful buffer state for France against Austria and the German states. Although Swiss neutrality had been agreed by all parties at Vienna, the coalition powers had subsequently suspended its implementation until after Napoleon’s final defeat, avowedly because some stretches of the Swiss border were still to be confirmed, but also to allow their armies to enter and pass through Swiss territory during the Hundred Days.

The image shown here is from a copy of an English translation of those parts of the Treaty of Paris relating to Switzerland: the original treaty was in French, the language of diplomacy. It forms part of a volume of treaties of guarantee which was compiled for the British government in 1859, at another period of European transition, as a brief Franco-Austrian conflict furthered Italy’s long struggle for unification. Swiss neutrality remains unbroken today.

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