Basel : Cantons
Basel District (BL)
& Basel City (BS)


General Information



The Swiss part of the region Basel (Regio Basiliensis) extends over 555 square kilometres (BL: 518 km², BS: 37 km²) and has a population of about half a million (BL: 255'000, BS: 193'000). It lies in the northern, German-speaking part of Switzerland in the so-called "Drei-Ländereck" (three countries corner). On the north the river Rhein is the border to Germany (Bundesland Baden-Württemberg), on the west the region is bordered by France (Alsace, in German: Elsass) and a part of Canton Solothurn, in the east by the Cantons Aargau and Solothurn and in the south by the Cantons Solothurn and Jura.

Regio Basiliensis is also known under the names: Oberrhein, Dreiland, TriRhena and Belchendreieck. The Swiss part is hard to distinguish from the German and French parts if seen from above. You can have a look yourself at Regio Basiliensis.

The capital of Baselland (Basel District or Basel Country) is Liestal, the one of Basel-Stadt (Basel City) is Basel itself.

Maps by Expedia.com Travel: Basel

Map adapted from
Maps by Expedia.com Travel: Basel

(click here to go to a navigable map of the area)

map of Basel

is part of this map of Switzerland.

Baselstadt consists of 3 communities (Basel, Bettingen and Riehen) . But nowadays it is hard to see where one begins and the other ends. The Canton Basel-Stadt (Basel City) is also known as Baselstadt. The town Basel is also known as Basilea (Latin) and Basle (anglicized). The official map of Basel-Stadt.

The 86 communities of the Canton Baselland are divided in 5 Districts (Bezirke), since the Laufental changed from the Canton Bern to the Canton Baselland. The Canton Basel-Landschaft (Basel District) is also known under the names: Baselland, Basel-Land, Baselbiet (Dialekt).

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Canton Basel District
Canton Basel City

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A pretty comprehensive history of the region Basel can be found in the Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . Unfortunately only in German, French or Italian. Key words: Basel (Kanton); Basel (-Stadt); Basel (-Landschaft); Basel (Diözese); Basel (Domkapitel); Basel (Fürstbistum); Basel, Abschied von; Basel, Frieden von (1499); Basel, Frieden von (1795); Basel, Konzil von; Birseck, (Vogtei); Birseck, (Burgen).

(Note: see also the general history of Switzerland)

1501 - 1833 Kanton Basel (Old names: "Stadt Basel (resp. stat/statt Basell)", "Freystand/Freystaat Basel") Ort of the Eidgenossenschaft resp. Canton of the Helvetische Republik (Helvetic Republic)
1833 - today Kanton Basel-Stadt (until 1847 Kanton Basel-Stadttheil) Halbkanton (half canton) of the Eidgenossenschaft
1833 - today Kanton Basel-Landschaft Halbkanton (half canton) of the Eidgenossenschaft
346 - today Bistum Basel (Diözese) the region under the religious control of the bishop of Basel

Fürstbistum Basel:

before 999 - 1792 resp. 1803 Fürstbistum Basel the region unter the secular control of the bishop of Basel
area: the modern Canton Jura and parts of the Canton Basel-Landschaft (Laufental, former Vogteien Pfeffingen and Birseck)
The Fürstbistum Basel: Historical overview (in German)


~1000 - 1792 Vogtei Birseck (since 1439 also Amt Birseck, since 1522 also Herrschaft Birseck) belonged to the Fürstbischof (prince bishop) of Basel since 1239. Area: Villages Arlesheim (BL), Reinach (BL), Oberwil (BL), Allschwil (BL), Hochwald (SO, sold to Solothurn in 1509), Füllinsdorf (BL, only until 1439 (Verpfändung)), Therwil (BL, only since 1522), Ettingen (BL, only since 1522), and the castle Vordere Birseck
Nov. 1792 - March 1793 part of the Raurachische Republik
1793 - 1800 part of the Departement Mont-Terrible (France)
1800 - 1814 part of the Departement Haut-Rhin (France)
1815 - 1833 part of the Canton Basel
1833 - today part of the Canton Basel-Landschaft

Les châteaux des Cantons de Bâle (Baselstadt and Baselland) (in French)

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The local genealogical society is :
Genealogisch-Heraldische Gesellschaft der Regio Basel [Genealogical and Heraldic Society of the Region of Basel]

If you have questions about genealogical research in the region of Basel you may contact

- in case you don't find an e-mail contact for your village of interest amongst the Regional Contacts. She will either try to answer your questions herself or forward your request to one on a list of volunteers, willing to give advice on genealogical questions regarding the region of Basel.

Just keep in mind, that all these volunteers are amateur genealogists, answering your questions in their spare time.
==> please give them sufficient time to respond <==

Please, do not re-submit your query after too short a time - this would only create duplication of work!

You are further invited to discuss your questions with other researchers interested in canton Basel on the "Genealogieforum Basel" (dialogue in German or French). The archive is open to visitors to read; in order to be able to respond or start a new thread, however, registration (free of charge) is required. When posting, please, keep in mind that only topics related to Basel should be placed here; for topics related to other regions, please, change to the corresponding canton or to the forum for Switzerland in general (dialogue in German or French).

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Cantonal archives and libraries:

Staatsarchiv Basel-Stadt
Martingasse 2
CH-4001 Basel
genealogy (in German)

There you can find amongst other info,  passport information for the time between 1731 and 1922; for 1854 to 1861 there exists a special register on the emigration to the USA. Part of the documents are catalogued electronically and can be searched at the Public library of the university of Basel.

Staatsarchiv Basel-Landschaft
Wiedenhubstrasse 35
CH-4410 Liestal

There you can find among else information about the archive of the Landvogtei Birseck. Part of the documents are catalogued electronically and can be searched at the Baselbieter Bibliotheksverbund. Furthermore you can find family crests and the register of Kirchenbücher (church books) as well.

libraries and archives in the Canton Basel-Landschaft

libraries and archives in the Canton Basel-Stadt

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1. Official Home Page of Canton Basel-Landschaft

2. Official Home Page of Canton Basel-Stadt

3. Church pages:

Canton Basel District
Canton Basel City

4. Home Pages of Tourist Offices and the like:

5. Private Pages on Canton:

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1. Family pages and regional contacts in Basel-Landschaft

2. Family pages und regional contacts in Basel-Stadt

3. Sources

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This page is maintained by Regula Nebel. / Last updated 27 May 2007 (wws).
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