Geneva was originally a Celtic town before Roman invasion in 121 B.C. The exact year it was founded is unknown.
Today, Geneva is known for its picturesque scenery and relaxed elegance.
People Born in Geneva
Geneva in People's Lives
Albert Gallatin: I was born into an influential, wealthy family here in 1761, and grew up here, later attending the University of Geneva as an Enlightenment scholar. Developing theories about ideal societies, I came to see this city as too traditional and socially restricted, and decided to leave it forever in favor of America. I left in 1780.
Charles Armand Tuffin de la Rouërie: I fled from Paris to this city in 1776, feeling guilty and ashamed after having a duel with my cousin over a mutual love interest. He was wounded, and I traveled here believing that I had killed him, though in fact he recovered perfectly well. I did not stay here long, and decided to direct my passion and daring for a more just cause - the revolution in America.
Henry James: I lived here briefly around 1856, when I was approximately 13 years old.
John Calvin: After deciding to leave my native, but close-minded, home of France behind, I journeyed out from Paris in 1536, already having decided to head for Strasbourg. However, things did not go as planned, and I was forced to take a detour due to French military presence on my route. I ended up in this city, and planned to stay for one night before continuing onward. However, I met a fellow French reformer here, and he immediately became determined that I should stay and become a part of his church here. I was not interested, but the man continued to paint before me pictures of grandeur and fame. When he realized that this was of no consequence to me, and that I instead craved peace and solitude, he twisted things to say that God had led me here, and that I was denying God's will. This struck a chord and, fearing that I was putting my ideas of comfort ahead of the Lord's wishes, I agreed to stay, and pledged to help him with his church. Though I was actually a lawyer-theologian, I was now granted the post of a simple "pastor," and gave sermons, did church services, and presided over weddings and baptisms for the first time. A year later, in 1537, my co-pastor and I drafted a document on various religious practices, such as weddings, and presented it to the city council, urging for them to be more open minded and free with religious law. They immediately accepted it. However, the council would later end up being reluctant to actually put our new, loose religious laws into practice, resulting in a strained relationship. Also, many men in Geneva were Frenchmen, and questioned whether or not I was a traitor to France. When I did not serve communion at my Easter service in 1538, it resulted in outrage, and even rioting in the streets. The city council ordered us expelled from this city, and my co-pastor and I left to seek refuge and sympathy in Zurich. Despite my best efforts to return to my church here and be reinstated, Geneva refused, and so I moved on to pastor a group of churches in Strasbourg. Just when I settled there, Geneva called me back - now that I had become a famous church leader, and churches in their own city were failing, they were desperate to invite me back, and profusely apologized. After much convincing, the city of Strasbourg "loaned" me to Geneva for a period of six months, and I came back to this city in September of 1541, now with a wife and two step-children. Of course, rather than simply staying for six months, I ended up living here for the rest of my life. It was during this period of my ministry that I made the most impact, and became internationally known as an eminent leader in church reform. I preached over 2,000 sermons, revolutionized the traditional hymnals, published many successful tracts and books, and made new observations and guidances on doctrine. The city council viewed me as their shining star, and treated me well - keeping for me a house large enough for my family and for my brother Antoine's family as well. Here, my wife gave birth to several infants, all of whom died before we could even baptise them. I comforted myself with the fact that I had so many children in the Lord. In 1549, my wife Idelette died, and I was "bereaved of the best friend of my life." I continued to practice my reform work, which was now causing major waves around Europe, and creating much opposition and contempt against me. I founded the College Calvin here in 1558. I died in May of 1564, at the age of 54. I was buried in the Cimetiere des Rois here, but in an unmarked grave, so great was the fear that my enemies would attempt to desecrate my burial place.
Jorge Luis Borges: When I was 15, in 1914, my family moved here from Buenos Aires, mainly to seek more advanced medical treatment for my father's oncoming blindness. Already fluent in both English and Spanish, I now learned German and French, and began reading German philosophy. I enrolled in College Calvin, then known as the College de Geneve, and graduated with my bachelor's in 1918. Though originally my father had intended to move us back to Argentina after his vision was treated, political unrest and World War I pushed him to decide that it would be safer for us to remain in Switzerland until the war ended. After the Great War, we moved to Lugano, Switzerland in 1918, leaving this city when I was 19. I returned many times through the rest of my life, as I frequently traveled about Europe. During one of these times of traveling, in 1986, I died after a long fight with liver cancer here, at the age of 86. I was buried here in the Cimetiere des Rois.