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12th till 19th century


Historical times

This was the year the noble line of the Knights of Hünenberg was mentioned for the first time. This noble lineage was the most important landowner in the Canton of Zug. Their family castle stands at the south-western exit to the village. The Lords of Hünenberg managed to increase their possessions and their prestige during the 13th century.


The secure position of the Knights of Hünenberg was threatened at the beginning of the 14th century, when the peasants of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden came into conflict with the Habsburg Duke. The Battle of Morgarten took place on 15 November 1315. According to the saga, Heinrich von Hünenberg shot an arrow over the battlements at Arth with a message to warn the people of Schwyz and which read, "Beware Morgarten on St. Othmar's eve". The Knights of Hünenberg drew the consequences from the political situation that further deteriorated in 1352 after Zug joined the Confederation. They transferred their residence and moved to the town.

On 24 December, of all days, troops supporting the Habsburgs crossed the Reuss, stole, plundered and burnt in the area between Hünenberg and the present-day St. Wolfgang. The people of Zug, under their Mayor, Hans von Hospental, wanted to reclaim the spoils of war. The skirmish took place at the burial ground where 42 Zug soldiers were slain, including their leader.

On 17 January 1414, the Hünenberg peasants bought themselves out of serfdom from the Knights of Hünenberg. The liberated peasants were called "Genossen" (comrades). Inhabitants who joined them later were known as "Beisassen" (residents). By 1416, the Hünenberg comrades had already realised that for their protection in uncertain times and for the administration and organisation of their widely scattered and elongated territory, they would need the help of a stronger power. So, on 21 January 1416, they signed the Civil Rights Charter with the City of Zug under which Hünenberg became a stewardship of the City of Zug.

St. Wolfgang's church, commissioned by the City of Zug and built by Hans Felder, was inaugurated. The first chaplain of St. Wolfgang's took up residence in 1479. St. Wolfgang's subsequently developed to become a frequently visited place of pilgrimage.

St. Wolfgang's actually became a national sanctuary. St. Wolfgang's lies at the intersection of two much-frequented roads. One is the trade route from Lucerne via Kappel to Zurich and the other leads from Zug to Sins. Two inns were also built at this important cross-road - the Rössli (Steed) and the Löwen (Lion) (the latter has since disappeared).

The first inner-Swiss archers' fair at St. Wolfgang's. From the whole of what then constituted the Confederation, archers streamed to the fair which was to last several days. They shot at a freely suspended target from 240 paces. The first prize amounted to 10 guilders.

A big mercenary council was held in St. Wolfgang's. It was decided to enrol in the service of the Pope and fight against the French King Louis XII (in the Milan War).

Hitzkirch pilgrims, returning home from their pilgrimage to Einsiedeln came to grief on the Reuss. The Sins ferry capsized during the crossing and 40 people drowned. This accident prompted Zug to have a wooden bridge built in 1640/41.

The covered Reuss Bridge was completed in 16 months. At the same time, a toll house was built. The Reuss Bridge was the only bridge between Gisikon and Bremgarten and was therefore of strategic importance. A toll had to be paid for crossing the bridge. Oswald Wickarts served as the first toll-keeper in 1642.

The new "Wart" guild house was erected at its present location. Previously, it had stood directly above the graveyard. Meetings with the Zug Governor, and the military training of the Hünenberg menfolk by Zug officers took place on the Lindenplatz which was also used for many festivals. This is also where the people of Hünenberg were to celebrate Swiss National Day in later years.

The shooting clubhouse was built in the "Wart" near Lindenplatz. This was where youngsters from Hünenberg of military-service age were trained.

The "Wart" was destroyed by fire. All documents were lost. After being rebuilt, the "Wart" served as a meeting-place and also later as the schoolhouse.

The toll house on the Reuss Bridge was rebuilt.

The last toll-keeper, Michael Moos, was elected by the Zug City Council.

On 11 February 1798, Hünenberg, together with other stewardships of the City of Zug, was given its freedom. On 29 April, the French advanced over the Reuss Bridge into the Zug region. Hünenberg, too, suffered greatly and sacrificed many victims. The French stole, among many other things, the silverware from the "Wart". This first onslaught was followed by a long period of occupation. No less than 580 officers and 14'814 NCOs and soldiers were billeted in Hünenberg up to March 1801.

On 1 April 1799, the Hünenberg community were allowed to vote on whether they would form an individual municipality or continue being connected with Cham. The franchise-holders decided by a big majority to separate from Cham. Franz Basil Gretener was elected first Mayor of Hünenberg. The separation meeting was held in Cham on 2 May. This is where the history of the autonomous municipality of Hünenberg begins.

Restoration of the old wooden bridge over the Reuss at Sins.

During the War of the "Sonderbund" (separatist defensive league of Roman Catholic cantons), the span of the Reuss Bridge on the right bank of the river was blown up.

The part of the bridge that had been blown up was rebuilt.

The people gathered on the Reuss Bridge in May each year for the May Market. That was also the day servants were hired for the noble homes and so they also called the market the "Maitlimarkt" (or Maids' Market) in local dialect. It was held for the last time in 1860.

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