Battle of Murten

On the 22nd of June 1476, Murten was the scene of war between the Swiss Confederates and the Burgundians, led by Charles the Bold.

Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, possessed a Patchwork-Empire that stretched from the North Sea to as far as the Mediterranean. This empire was wedged in between the German Empire and France. Charles’s goal was to consolidate his empire by means of diplomacy and war and then to become king of his empire. During that time, the Canton of Bern was a major block on his path towards his dream. Today, this same area that was once a part of Bern’s territory is known as the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Charles was handed his first defeat and severely looted by the Swiss Confederates in March 1476 in Grandson, on the shores of Lake Neuchatel. Charles went to Lausanne to lick his wounds and gathered up fresh troops in order to prepare another attack; this time through the Broye valley, aiming against Bern. In April of that same year, Murten had mustered 2,000 men, under Adrian von Bubenburg’s command. On the 22nd of June 1476, it was raining heavily as the armies were gathering. The Swiss Confederates succeeded in a surprise attack on Charles the Bold’s artillery position on the “Grünhag.” The shock and awe of this maneuver was perfect and the Burgundian Army was dealt a fatal blow. Charles fled away on a fast horse but could not flee his fate. He lost his life in the third battle in Nancy, France. Thus, the Burgundy Empire vanished from the European map, quickly following Charles’ demise. A famous saying, handed down through generations – notes the losses of Charles the Bold: “In Grandson he lost his goods - in Murten he lost his courage and in Nancy he lost his blood.”

In Memory of the Battle

The Obelisk of Meyriez: A column erected by the Canton of Fribourg, following the Ossuary’s demolition in 1798. The ossuary was a monument which contained the bones of the Burgundians, in memory of the battle.

Domingue Woods: The Burgundians command site during the Battle of Murten. Find an information panel about the battle at this location. This hill can be seen from the rampart walls from the Tournaletta Tower, facing south.

Multimedia Show: A multimedia show at the Murten Museum traces the history of the battle.

Murten’s Solemnity and the Shoot of Murten commemorate the Battle of Murten.
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