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The County of Sargans was a state of the Holy Roman Empire. From 1458 until the French Revolutionary War in 1798, Sargans became a condominium of the Old Swiss Confederacy, administered jointly by the cantons of Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Lucerne, Zürich, Glarus and Zug.


In 1396, the counts of Werdenberg-Sargans pawned Sargans to the Habsburg dukes of Austria, who passed the territory to Friedrich VII, count of Toggenburg. After the death of the last Toggenburgers the counts of Werdenberg-Sargans redeemed the pledge, to rule over the county anew, with Walenstadt and Quarten remaining as Vogtei (protectorates) of the Habsburgs. The inhabitants of the country refused, however, to recognise the counts of Werdenberg-Sargans as their lords and, in 1436, made a treaty with the city of Zürich.

In the Old Zürich War, a civil war between Zürich and the cantons of Glarus and Schwyz, the counts allied themselves with the opponents of Zürich. Schwyz and Glarus conquered the county and forced the population to carry out, for the count von Werdenberg-Sargans, the Oath of Loyalty.

In 1458, the counts renewed their association with Schwyz and Glarus. Nevertheless, the Eidgenossen kept Walenstadt, Nidberg and Quarten, which they had conquered from the Habsburgs. In 1482–83, the last count sold Sargans to become a shared territory of the seven cantons of the Old Swiss Confederation. (Whilst there were eight cantons to Switzerland, Berne was not involved in this transaction.) The purchase of 1483 stood at the conclusion of a decades-long expansionist policy of the Confederation in the east of Switzerland.

The joint administration of the Landvogtei was quite normal for the 15th-century acquisitions of Switzerland. The administration alternated, every two years, between Zurich, Luzern, Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Zug and Glarus. From 1712, after the second war of Villmergen, Berne became involved in the condominium, with the Lordship of Freudenberg (Imperial Abbey of Pfäfers) and Walenstadt joining the jointly administered territories. From 1483, Quarten became part of the Vogtei of Windegg, but it remained subordinate to the blood court (Blutgerichtsbarkeit) of Sargans.

A special case was the area of the today's municipality of Wartau. It belonged to the County of Sargans, with exception of the Lordship of Wartau, which covered only Wartau Castle and the village of Gretschins (now part of Wartau). The Lordship was legally closely interlaced with the remaining area of the today's municipality Wartau, but was subordinate to the jurisdiction of the County of Werdenberg. In 1517, when Werdenberg became a part of Glarus, this legal situation led to numerous conflicts in 1694–95 between the Landvögte of Werdenberg and Sargans over "Wartauer trade", which was taken as far as the Tagsatzung, a Swiss confederal council.

In 1798, most of the county was given liberty as an independent canton of Sargans, until the county was annexed to the Canton of Linth in the Helvetic Republic, later in the same year. When Napoleon's Act of Mediation restored the Old Swiss Confederation in 1803, Sargans passed to the newly established canton of St. Gallen.

Counts of Sargans

See Counts of Werdenberg in Sargans [3]

(The counting of the counts follows the counts of Werdenberg)

  • Hartmann I (1248–1264), son of Rudolf I of Werdenberg, m
  • Rudolf II (1264–1322), son, married Adelheid von Burgau ()
  • Rudolf III (1322–1325), son, married
  • Rudolf IV (1325–1361), brother, m. . Ruled together with Rudolf III until his death
  • John I (1361–1396), pawned the county to Austria (1396), died 1399

The county is pawned to Austria and delivered to the Toggenburgs:

  • John I (1396–1399)
  • George I (1399–1412), with: Wilhelm I (1399–1412) John II (1399–1405) Hugh I (1399–1421) Heinrich I (1399–1436)

In 1436 the county returns to the Werdenbergs:

  • Heinrich I (1436–1447), recovered Sargans in 1436
  • Wilhelm I (II) (1447–1474), with: George I (II) (1447–1483), sold county to Swiss Confederacy
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