THE HISTORY OF rapperswil-jona
The particular location of Rapperswil-Jona on important transport routes has marked its changing history. You will find a short summary below. Anybody interested in further historical aspects will find a selection of books in the bookshop at the Tourist Information office.
CELTS AND ROMANS
Remains of Roman constructions have been found at the St. Ursula Chapel, the Roman meadow, on Meienbergstrasse, in Wagen, at the Busskirch site and on Ufnau Island.
THE FOUNDATION OF RAPPERSWIL, THE AGRARIAN COMMUNES OF JONA/BUSSKIRCH, KEMPRATEN AND WAGEN AS SUBJECT TERRITORIES
The foundation of the city of Rapperswil probably took place around 1200 when the wealthy Rapperswil noble family moved its ancestral seat from Alt-Rapperswil (Altendorf) to the opposite shore of the lake. The Town and Castle of Rapperswil were officially mentioned for the first time in 1229.
The imperial immediacy granted to Rapperswil gave it direct control over the three agrarian communes of Jona/Busskirch, Kempraten and Wagen and placed the Cistercian abbey of Wurmsbach under the town's tutelage.
During the Old Zurich War (1436-50) Rapperswil was unable to maintain its neutrality; the City of Roses once again fell under the control of the Austrian House of Habsburg while at the same time concluding an alliance with Zurich.
At the end of the war in 1450 Rapperswil was highly indebted and vainly hoped for financial support from Austria. This is why some Rapperswilers, led by the town clerk Johannes Hettlinger, saw their future under the protection of the Confederation and instigated an uprising in the late summer of 1456.
On 10 January 1464 Rapperswil, together with the confederate localities of Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden and Glarus, entered into a protective alliance. Rapperswil together with its agrarian communes remained under the protection of the Confederation until 1798.
FIRST THE CANTON OF Linth, THEN THE CANTON OF St. Gallen
In 1798 the French Revolution also led to the collapse of the old order in the Confederation. The rich city of Rapperswil lost its former subject territories; they became free and independent.
But this forced territorial division was short-lived: another reorganisation took place just five years later. The canton of St. Gallen came into being in 1803, to which Rapperswil and Jona were assigned as western municipalities.
COMMUNICATIONS AND INDUSTRY TRANSFORM THE CITY OF Rapperswil
Around 1830 the city's gates and walls had to give way to the needs of transit traffic and a larger harbour had to be built to accommodate the new steamboats. In 1859 the first train began operating along the Rüti-Rapperswil-Weesen line. 1878 was the year when the first train also crossed the new stone lake dam which replaced the old wooden bridge.
It was during these tumultuous times that the first factories were built: spinning works, weaving mills and dye-works. A hammer mill and an iron foundry sprung up along the Stadtbach stream to supply the energy required.
The location with its excellent transport infrastructure was the reason why the Knie Brothers' Swiss National Circus decided to establish its headquarters together with its winter quarters here in 1919. This company developed from the Austrian dynasty of tightrope walkers and artists founded in 1803 and today is in the hands of the eighth generation.
THE RAPID GROWTH OF Jona
Over the past 200 years the two municipalities have evolved very differently. Whereas Rapperswil due to its restricted territory measuring 1.72 km2 has only been able to participate in the growth of the population to a very limited extent, Jona has experienced a veritable boom since the end of the Second World War.
Numerous companies such as Geberit, Holcim, Feinstanz, Weidmann or Vinora have relocated to Jona and Rapperswil, not least because of these advantages.
THE UNIFICATION OF rAPPERSWIL AND JONA ON 1 JANUARY 2007
The municipality of Jona measuring 20.73 km2 was over 12 times the size of Rapperswil. It had a population of over 17,000. The urban development of the two municipalities had caused them to merge, their borders were no longer distinguishable, their social life was one and the same.
On 30 November 2003 the citizens of Rapperswil and Jona agreed in principle with an initiative according to which both municipalities would be united on 1 January 2007.