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Fribourg, Neuchâtel & the Jura


The area's earliest inhabitants settled along Lac de Neuchâtel around 3000 BC and the second Iron Age in Europe is referred to as 'La Tène Period', after the settlement on the lake's eastern end where a store of weapons and utensils was discovered.

Influential Zähringen nobleman Berchtold IV (father of the fearless bear hunter who founded Bern) came up with Fribourg in 1157. It subsequently became a fortified eastern frontier post of the Burgundy realm and remained so until the Swiss thrashed Burgundy duke Charles the Bold once and for all at the infamous Battle of Murten in 1476, after which Fribourg was forced to join the Swiss Confederation.

Snooty old Neuchâtel, under the distant thumb of Frederick the Great of Prussia from 1707, remained aloof from the Confederation until 1815 when the Congress of Vienna obliged it - along with its northerly neighbour, the Jura - to turn Swiss.