Nyon : some history
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After Julius Caesar had finally conquered Gallia Comata (Long-Haired Gaul) in 52 BC, he retired his cavalry veterans to the Colonia Julia Equestris, founded on the shores of the lake over the Helvetian settlement of Noviodunum which had stood there previously. For two centuries, the town flourished, becoming an urban centre of 3000 people (the population didn’t reach such heights again until the mid-nineteenth century). The second half of the third century AD saw increasing attacks from Alemans and Franks, who succeeded in breaking through Roman defences; stones from the ruined buildings were carted off to make a defensive wall around Geneva, and by the mid-fifth century the grand colony was virtually deserted. Only its Roman name survived, the Latin “Colonia” compressed into the single nasal syllable “Nyon”. The region was integrated into the Kingdom of Burgundy after 443, then was passed from lord to lord until the Bernese conquered Vaud in 1536. In 1781, a French entrepreneur Jacques Dortu opened a porcelain workshop in the town, staffed by local artisans who produced work of exceptionally high quality, rapidly establishing Nyon as a centre of the craft: museums in Switzerland and around Europe now display Nyon porcelain alongside the best of Limoges china as some of the highest-prized ceramic art of the period.

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