Jörg Zollinger

Zürich Army Commander, Männedorf, Switzerland, 1490 - 1574

Jörg’s father had moved to Männedorf from Jona near Rapperswil, and the family roots go back to Grüningen. Jörg followed an old Swiss tradition of becoming a mercenary with a foreign monarch. There he was promoted to mercenary commander, and fought with the Swiss troops at the battle of Pavia in Italy in 1512. Three years later, in 1515, he was a Swiss commander at the battle of Marignano also in Italy, where the Swiss troops were for the first time totally defeated, but he survived and returned home. In 1530 he became a commander of the City of Zürich forces, and in 1531 he took over command of the Zürich troops, and was their commander in the second battle of Kappel against the Central Swiss Cantons. The battle was largely a religious war between the Catholic Central Swiss Cantons and the Protestant City of Zürich. The leader of the reformation in Zürich, Huldrych Zwingli himself, had been commander in the first battle of Kappel, and was killed in battle. In the second battle of Kappel Jörg Zollinger as commander was more cautious than his predecessor, and when the promised reinforcements did not arrive, Jörg Zollinger ordered a controlled retreat towards Lake Zürich. When his position was more secure near Horgen, he decided to negotiate a settlement with the Central Swiss commanders. In it he was able to secure a peace agreement albeit without the authorization of the Zürich City government.

Because he and his troops felt that they were betrayed by the Zürich's political leaders, he decided on behalf of his troops to demand concessions from the City of Zürich . One concession demanded and granted was a separation of church and state in Zürich, so that the Protestant church leaders of Zürich no longer had the power and authority to dictate Zürich policy. They were especially to be excluded from influencing the decision to wage religiously motivated war. The other concession was in favor of the subjected rural peoples under the Zürich City state, who provided the majority of troops for the Zürich army, but had no political rights, and therefore no decision making power, especially relating to war. The concession allowed a degree of participation of the rural population in the political system of Zürich City. Both concessions were revolutionary developments in Zürich politics.

By 1547 Jörg Zollinger had become "Unter-Vogt' in Männedorf, and had purchased land in the "Breiten". In 1552 he was appointed as local judge, and by 1561 he was also the owner of the mill in Männedorf. But in 1573 shortly before his death, he was forced to declare bankruptcy, and the records show an extensive list of the substantial amounts he owed to a considerable number of lenders.

Reference: Gustav Zollinger Dentist II, pg. 147 and 148 ff.

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