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In around AD 600, Alemannic families and tribes immigrated to the area of present-day canton Zug (Zoug). The name Blickensdorf, and place names with ‘- ikon’ endings, prove this as the first Alemannic living space. The churches of Baar and Risch also date back to the early Middle Ages. The first written document on the area originates from the year 858, and refers to King Ludwig the German giving the farm Chama (Cham) to the Zürich Fraumünster convent. At this time, the area of present-day Zug belonged to completely different monastic and secular landlords, the most important of whom were the Habsburgs, and who, in 1264, inherited the Kyburg rights and remained a central political power until about 1400.
In the course of the high medieval town construction, the settlement of Zug also received a town wall at some point after 1200. The town founders were probably the counts of Kyburg. The town, first mentioned in AD 1240, was called an "oppidum" in 1242 and a "castrum" in 1255. In 1273, it was bought by Rudolph of Habsburg from Anna, the heiress of Kyburg and wife of Eberhard, head of the cadet line of Habsburg. Through this purchase it passed into the control of the Habsburgs and was placed under a Habsburg bailiff. The Aeusser Amt or Outer District consisted of the villages and towns surrounding Zug, which each had their own Landsgemeinden but were ruled by a single Habsburg bailiff. Zug was important as an administrative center of the Kyburg and the Habsburg district, then as a local market place, and, thereafter, as a stage town for the transport of goods (particularly salt and iron) over the Hirzel hill towards Lucerne.
On 27 June 1352, both the town of Zug and the Aeusser Amt entered the Swiss Confederation, the latter being received on exactly the same terms as the town, and not, as was usual in the case of outer districts, as a subject land; but in September 1352, Zug had to acknowledge its own lords again, and in 1355 was obliged to break off its connection with the league. About 1364, the town and the Aeusser Amt were recovered for the league by the men of Schwyz, and from this time Zug took part as a full member in all the acts of the league. In 1379, the Holy Roman Emperor Wenceslaus exempted Zug from all external jurisdictions, and in 1389 the Habsburgs renounced their claims, reserving only an annual payment of 20 silver marks, which came to an end in 1415. In 1400 Wenceslaus gave all criminal jurisdiction to the town only. The Aeusser Amt, in 1404, then claimed that the banner and seal of Zug should be kept in one of the country districts and were supported in this claim by Schwyz. The matter was finally settled in 1412 by arbitration, and the banner was to be kept in the town. Finally in 1415, the right of electing their landammann was given to Zug by the Confederation, and a share in the criminal jurisdiction was granted to the Aeusser Amt by German king Sigismund.
The alliance of the four forest cantons of Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden and Lucerne with the city of Zürich in 1351 set much in motion. The town of Zug was seen as having Habsburg ties with the cities of Zürich and Lucerne, and therefore had to be conquered. It is likely that this was more for political than economic reasons: the Lucerne market was very important for central Switzerland, but also strongly dependent on the city of Zürich. Zürich initiated a siege on Zug with the federal army in June 1352. Zug surrendered. On 27 June 1352 Zürich, Luzern, Zug, Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden formed an alliance. Zürich's saw this ‘Zugerbund’ (Zug alliance) as an alliance of convenience. For the town of Zug, little changed, and Zug remained Habsburg. That same year, the Zug alliance was declared invalid by all parties. A period of Schwyz domination then followed. Only gradually did Zug become sovereign and federal.
Simultaneously, Zug expanded its territory, acquiring a number of rural areas in the form of bailiwicks (Walchwil, Cham, Gangolfswil [Risch] Hünenberg and Steinhausen, and Oberrüti, now part of the canton of Aargau). Zug became a confederation in itself - with the town and its subject territories, and the three outer (‘free’) municipalities, Ägeri, Menzingen (with Neuheim) and Baar. This problematic dualism dominated until 1798, i.e. until the end of the old confederation, the political structure of the Canton Zug. The unifying element of this miniature confederation was, among others, the rural municipalities and the forty-member city council.
From 1728 to 1738 it was distracted by violent disputes about the distribution of the French pensions. In 1798 its inhabitants opposed the French. The canton formed part of the Tellgau and was later a district of the large canton of the Waldstätten in the Helvetic Republic. The canton of Waldstätten also included what are today the cantons of Schwyz, Lucerne, Unterwalden and Uri.In 1803, under the Act of Mediation, the canton of Zug regained its independence as a separate canton.