BELLINZONA    Bellenz.

  1. The Murata or city wall of Bellinzona

    The Murata or city wall of Bellinzona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    District around the town of Bellinzona, on the River Ticino, now in southern Switzerland;

  2. A Canton in the Helvetic Republic.

Bellinzona was held by the Count of Misox in the early 15th century.   In 1419 he sold it to the Swiss districts of Uri and Obwalden,which lay  on the Swiss side of the St Gotthard route.  The Duchy of Milan however seized Bellinzona in 1422;  it had claims which arose from the fact that in the 12th century Bellinzona had been held by the city of Como, which was by then a territory of Milan.   In 1500, when the Sforza Duke and the French were contending for control of Milan, the Swiss occupied Bellinzona, and in 1503 the French, who had won Milan for the time being, recognised the possession of Bellinzona by the districts of Uri, Schwyz and Nidwalden.

In 1798 the Bellinzona district was joined to the Val Levantina, which was higher up the Ticino and, until then, subject to Uri, to form the Canton of Bellinzona in the new Helvetic Republic.  The Canton thus extended along the valley of the Ticino, which led to the St Gotthard Pass.   When the Swiss Confederation was re-formed in 1803, Bellinzona was joined to the Helvetic Canton of Lugano to the west to form the (present) Canton of Ticino.

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