Valais: History & Tradition

After conquest by the Romans around 25 B.C., the territory formed part of the Province of Rhaetia. In the 5th century A.D., the area of the Lower Valais was occupied by the Burgundians, while the Alemanni settled in what is now the Upper Valais. In 999 A.D. the land of the Count of Valais passed to the Bishop of Sedunum (Sion). In the second half of the 15th century, the peasant municipal organizations (the Sieben Zenden or seven-tenths), in the Upper Valais, conquered the Lower Valais (which by now belonged to Savoy), and continued to administer it until 1798. In the 16th century, the Valais enforced its independence from episcopal rule. In 1802 Napoleon I declared the territory an independent republic, and made it the French Département of Simplon in 1810. In 1815 the Valais joined the Swiss Confederation as the 22nd canton. A constitution was approved in 1907, and women have been enfranchised in the Canton since 1970.

 

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Tradition – Combat of the Queens

The Queens of the Valais belong to a particularly hardy bovine species which is unique in the world: the Herens. These cattle fight to establish a hierarchy among themselves when they come down from the mountains (the “désalpe”) and when they return to the Alpine pastures (the “inalpe”) .

 The cantonal festival, held in May, crowns the Queen of Queens after fierce fighting watched by thousands of spectators.

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Culinary tradition

Choléra
Print recipe (619 KB) (Link only in German)

 

Traditional products

  • Apricots 
  • Genepi brandy
  • Valais rye bread AOC 
  • Raclette of the Valais AOC 

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