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  1. Most people outside our area have not heard of this event because the attempted takeover was rebuffed. But if it had succeeded, the nature of Geneva would have been radically altered - thus the Genevois are very aware of this event and now celebrate with a festival every year and the largest historical parade in Europe.... At the end of this post there's a link to the yearly historical parade which has interesting footage for those who like historical costumes and settings.. So what happened and why is it important? In 1602, Geneva was not part of Switzerland yet. It was a 'city state', like Venise and others....Here's a picture - those parts on the bottom are the city walls to keep out invaders... (this picture is from a later time I believe as there is no moat, but you get an idea of the walls...) Here's another view of the formation of the city walls in 1602.. The Duke of Savoy (who was Catholic) was very interested in taking Geneva for himself. Even though there was a peace treaty signed, he sent his soldiers in on the darkest night of the year (calendar was different then) to try to take over. Geneva was important as the city of Calvin, who had already passed away, as a Protestant refuge for Huguenots escaping from France...though in 1602 the tide of refugees had diminished due to the Edict of Nantes signed in 1598....still, the tide of refugees rose again when persecution increased in subsequent years....Some of them settled permanently and brought important skills and connections with them....Since Huguenots spread also to England, the Huguenots then had banking ties to England for example... So - the soldiers tried to take over and came over the walls. Both the Genevois soldiers and the citizens worked together to turn them out. There is a famous story of a lady (named Mere Royaume) who supposedly threw a cauldron of hot vegetable soup out the window onto the soldiers. Chocolate makers have taken up this image and now make chocolate pots every year which Genevois will break while saying ""Ainsi périssent les ennemis de la République! " (Thus perish the enemies of the Republic) Here are some links to help you discover what is celebrated in Geneva now....It is called the 'Fete de l'escalade' (escalade means scaling the walls) People also dress up for the parade or go around and sing at people's doors and in bars - expecting a little money... Bits of the parade mixed in with mini interviews.... (If you go to the YouTube page where this is found, on the right there are other parade links - BUT the 'Lake Parade' is NOT at all the same and is not for kids KWIM) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPlwl3rlxM0&feature=related http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huguenot http://www.swissinfo...tml?cid=1794410 http://www.herodote....ages/Geneve.jpg Fabrication of chocolate pot (une marmite) http://www.1602.ch/i...mid=186&lang=fr Joan
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