1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Zug (town)
ZUG, capital of the Swiss canton of that name, a picturesque little town at the N.E. corner of the lake of Zug, and at the foot of the Zugerberg (3255 ft.), which rises gradually, its lower slopes thickly covered with fruit trees. Pop. (1900) 6508, mainly German-speaking and Romanists. The lake shore has been embanked and forms a promenade, whence glorious views of the snowy peaks of the Bernese Oberland, as well as of the Rigi and Pilatus, are gained. Towards its northerly end a monument marks the spot where a part of the shore slipped into the lake in 1887. The older part of the town is rather crowded together, though only four of the wall towers and a small part of the town walls still survive. The most striking old building in the town is the parish church of St Oswald (late 15th century), dedicated to St Oswald, king of Northumbria (d. 642), one of whose arms was brought to Zug in 1485. The town hall, also a 15th-century building, now houses the Historical and Antiquarian Museum. There are some quaint old painted houses close by. A little way higher up the hill-side is a Capuchin convent in a striking position, close to the town wall and leaning against it. Still higher, and outside the old town, is the fine new parish church of St Michael, consecrated in 1902. The business quarter is on the rising ground north of the old town, near the railway station. Several fine modern buildings rise on or close to the shore in the town and to its south, whilst to the south-west is a convent of Capuchin nuns, who manage a large girls' school, and several other educational establishments.
The town, first mentioned in, 1240, is called an “oppidum” in 1242, and a “castrum” in 1255. In 1273 it was bought by Rudolph of Habsburg from Anna, the heiress of Kyburg and wife of Eberhard, head of the cadet line of Habsburg, and in 1278 part of its territory, the valley of Aegeri, was pledged by Rudolph as security for a portion of the marriage gift he promised to Joanna, daughter of Edward I. of England, who was betrothed to his son Hartmann, whose death in 1281 prevented the marriage from taking place. The town of Zug was governed by a bailiff, appointed by the Habsburgs, and a council, and was much favoured by that family. Several country districts (Baar, Menzingen, and Aegeri) had each its own “Landsgemeinde” but were governed by one bailiff, also appointed by the Habsburgs; these were known as the “Aeusser Amt,” and were always favourably disposed to the Confederates. On the 27th of June 1352 both the town of Zug and the Aeusser Amt entered the Swiss Confederation, the latter being received on exactly the same terms as the town, and not, as was usual in the case of country districts, as a subject land; but in September 1352 Zug had to acknowledge its own lords again, and in 1355 to break off its connexion with the league. About 1364 the town and the Aeusser Amt were recovered for the league by the men of Schwyz, and from this time Zug took part as a full member in all the acts of the league. In 1379 the German king Wenceslaus exempted Zug from all external jurisdictions, and in 1389 the Habsburgs renounced their claims, reserving only an annual payment of twenty silver marks, and this came to an end in 1415. In 1400 Wenceslaus gave all criminal jurisdiction to the town only. The Aeusser Amt then, in 1404, claimed that the banner and seal of Zug should be kept in one of the country districts, and were supported in this claim by Schwyz. The matter was finally settled in 1414 by arbitration and the banner was to be kept in the town. Finally in 1415 the right of electing their “landammann” was given to Zug by the Confederates, and a share in the criminal jurisdiction was granted to the Aeusser Amt by the German king Sigismund. In 1385 Zug joined the league of the Swabian cities against Leopold of Habsburg and shared in the victory of Sempach, as well as in the various Argovian (1415) and Thurgovian (1460) conquests of the Confederates, and later in those in Italy (1512), having already taken part in the occupation of the Val d'Ossola. Between 1379 (Walchwil) and 1477 (Cham) Zug had acquired various districts in her own neighbourhood, principally to the north and the west, which were ruled till 1798 by the town alone as subject lands. At the time of the Reformation Zug clung to the old faith and was a member of the “Christliche Vereinigung” of 1529. In 1586 it became a member of the Golden League. (W. A. B. C.)