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Celebrating the battle of Morgarten

This will be the 685 time the battle is commemorated

(Keystone)

On November 15, 1315, the infant Swiss Confederation passed its first test in military combat when it defeated the Habsburg army at the Battle of Morgarten. The victory is commemorated every year on November 15 at the scene of the original battle.

Anyone watching the procession could easily believe they've been transported back in time to the original battle.

The advance is led by men dressed in 14th century costume carrying historical weapons, followed by modern day soldiers from the Swiss army, and thousands of spectators.

Back in 1513, the men of fighting age from the three cantons which created the Swiss Confederation - Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden - used halberds and clubs to defend their alliance against Austrian hegemony.

Today, the ceremony begins with a church service in the town of Sattel in canton Schwyz before a solemn procession winds its way to the site of the battle near Lake Aergeri.

Once at the Morgarten Pass, speeches are made recalling the battle followed by a shooting competition near the Battle Memorial.

The victory at Morgarten paved the way for the expansion of the Swiss Confederation. By 1353, five more regions had joined, including Zurich, Bern and Lucerne.

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