Political & General History of Liechtenstein
The Rhine valley has been inhabited since Neolithic times, but was generally not regarded as prized land. The Rhine valley floor was a marshy swamp, and the mountainsides were covered in dark, gloomy and dangerous forests where wild animals roamed freely.
Over the years the valley floor was cleared, drained and cultivated, although the Rhine posed a threat right into the last century. The hillsides were cleared of trees where the locations were advantageous for settlements and agriculture.
When the Europeans started mass migrations, normally as a result of war, the modern day Principality of Liechtenstein lay on a major route for them, and the pursuing armies, laying waste to much of the countryside and making life even more onerous for the inhabitants.
In the Austro-Hungarian court, a princely family called von Liechtenstein took an interest in two small countries on the far Western edge of the Empire, which they duly bought and combined, giving it their family name.
The princes seldom visited their principality, and life only gradually improved for the people. The later princes did start to take slightly more interest, but the castle in Vaduz was nothing more than a hunting lodge to them. The country still paid its dues to the Empire, sending fighting men into battle and paying their taxes to Vienna.
A postal, and then customs agreement with Switzerland was signed at a fortunate time at the beginning of the twentieth century, just before the start of the First World War, and subsequent disintegration of the old Empires of Europe.
In this section you can find out about the various ages of the country. They are: