The city of Geneva was an Allobrogian border town, fortified against the Helvetii tribe, when the Romans took it in 121 BC. It became Christian under the Late Roman Empire, and acquired its first bishop in the 5th century, having been connected to the Bishopric of Vienne in the 4th. In the Middle Ages, Geneva was ruled by a count under the Holy Roman Empire until the late 14th century, when it was granted a charter giving it a high degree of self-governance. Around this time, the House of Savoy came to at least nominally dominate the city. In the 15th century, an oligarchic republican government emerged with the creation of the Grand Council. In the first half of the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation reached the city, causing religious strife, during which Savoy rule was thrown off and Geneva allied itself with the Swiss Confederacy. In 1541, with Protestantism on the rise, John Calvin, the Protestant Reformer and proponent of Calvinism, became the spiritual leader of the city and established the Republic of Geneva. By the 18th century, Geneva had come under the influence of Catholic France, which cultivated the city as its own. France tended to be at odds with the ordinary townsfolk, which inspired the failed Geneva Revolution of 1782, an attempt to win representation in the government for men of modest means. In 1798, revolutionary France under the Directory annexed Geneva. At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, on 1 June 1814, Geneva was admitted to the Swiss Confederation. In 1907, the separation of Church and State was adopted. Geneva flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries, becoming the seat of many international organizations

Geneva was controlled by the Allobroges tribe until 121 BC. It was annexed to the Roman Empire in 121 BC and remained part of it until 443. In 443, Burgundians took over Geneva. In 532, the land controlled by Burgundians became part of the Frankish Empire. Geneva was part of the Kingdom of Burgundy from 888 to 1032. Geneva became a part of the Holy Roman Empire in 1032 and officially remained in it until the Peace of Westphalia.

As from 1416, the Dukes of Savoy attempted to annex the city, both by claiming secular authority and by installing members of the Savoy dynasty as bishops, the city sought assistance in allying itself with the Old Swiss Confederacy. The Republic of Geneva was proclaimed in 1541, under John Calvin, and given a constitution (Édits civils) in 1543. The Republic of Geneva reinforced its alliance to the Protestant cantons of the Swiss Confederacy, becoming an "everlasting ally" in 1584.

The French Revolution reached Geneva in 1792, and in February 1794, the Republic gave itself a new, revolutionary constitution which proclaimed the equality of all citizens. After the death of Robespierre in July of the same year, there was a counter-revolution, which gained the upper hand by 1796. Robespierre's death prompted the French invasion of 1798, and the annexation of Geneva which became the capital of the French département du Léman. The Napoleonic army left Geneva on December 30, 1813, and on the next day the return of the Republic (fr. "Restauration de la République") was proclaimed. Geneva finally joined the Swiss Confederation in 1815 as the 22nd canton, having been enlarged by French and Savoyard territories at the Congress of Vienna.

Swiss History Timeline - Geneva (City)
Geneva (City) coat-of-arms