The earliest history is known cultural tribes of the area were members of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel. La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age from around 450 BC, possibly under some influence from the Greek and Etruscancivilisations. One of the most important tribal groups in the Swiss region was the Helvetii. In 58 BC, at the Battle of Bibracte, Julius Caesar's armies defeated the Helvetii. In 15 BC, Tiberius, who was destined to be the second Roman emperor and his brother, Drusus, conquered the Alps, integrating them into the Roman Empire. The area occupied by the Helvetii—the namesakes of the later ConfoederatioHelvetica—first became part of Rome's Gallia Belgica province and then of its Germania Superior province, while the eastern portion of modern Switzerland was integrated into the Roman province of Raetia.
In the Early Middle Ages, from the 4th century, the western extent of modern-day Switzerland was part of the territory of the Kings of the Burgundians. The Alemanni settled the Swiss plateau in the 5thcentury and the valleys of the Alps in the 8th century, forming Alemannia. Modern-day Switzerland was therefore then divided between the kingdoms of Alemannia and Burgundy. The entire region became part of the expanding Frankis Empire in the 6th century, following Clovis I's victory over the Alemanni at Tolbiac in 504 AD, and later Frankish domination of the Burgundians.
Throughout the restof the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries the Swiss regions continued under Frankish hegemony (Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties). But after its extension under Charlemagne, the Frankish empire was divided by the Treaty of Verdun in 843. The territories of nowadays Switzerland became divided into Middle France and East France until they were reunified under the Holy Roman Empire around 1000 AD.
By1200, the Swiss plateau comprised the dominions of the houses of Savoy, Zähringer, Habsburg and Kyburg. Some regions Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, later known as Waldstätten) were accorded the Imperial immediacy to grant the empire direct control over the mountain passes. When the Kyburg dynasty fell in 1264 AD, the Habsburgs under King Rudolph I (Holy Roman Emperor in 1273) extended their territory tothe eastern Swiss plateau.
Switzerland has no official state religion, though most of the cantons (except Geneva and Neuchâtel) recognize official churches, which are either the Catholic Church or the Swiss Reformed Church. These churches, and in some cantons also the Old Catholic Church and Jewish congregations, are financed by official taxation of adherents.
Christianity is thepredominant religion of Switzerland, divided between the Catholic Church (41.8% of the population) and various Protestant denominations (35.3%). Immigration has brought Islam (4.3%, predominantly Kosovars, Bosniaks and Turks) and Eastern Orthodoxy (1.8%) as sizeable minority religions. In a 2009 referendum, Swiss voters banned the construction of new minarets. The 2005 Eurobarometer poll found 48% tobe theist, 39% expressing belief in "a spirit or life force", 9% atheist and 4% agnostic. Greeley (2003) found that 27% of the population does not believe in God. The country is historically about evenly balanced between Catholic and Protestant, with a complex patchwork of majorities over most of the country. One canton, Appenzell, was officially divided into Catholic and Protestant sections in1597. The larger cities (Bern, Geneva, Zürich and Basel) are predominantly Protestant. Central Switzerland, as well as Ticino, is traditionally Catholic. The Swiss Constitution of 1848, under the recent impression of the clashes of Catholic vs. Protestant cantons that culminated in the Sonderbundskrieg, consciously defines a consociational state, allowing the peaceful co-existence of Catholics...