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the Alps Region: Switzerland and Northern Italy

The first assertion of Muslim presence in the Gulf of Saint Tropez, in southwest of Nice and Monaco, occurs in 278 AH (891 AD), whose dominion was facilitated by the internal strife among the inhabitants, who appealed to the Muslim invaders for help in defeating their rivals. Muslim expansion into this area appears to have been solely motivated by a search after adventure and wealth, with no religious or political objective in mind. None the less, it goes without saying that from this date Muslims were present in the region and that they engaged in raids in areas from Sawa to Italy and Switzerland, including the regions between the Po and the Rhone rivers, such as Piedmont, Provence, Dauphine, Montferrat and Tarentaise. European historians have also noted Muslim occupation in the vicinities of Lake Geneva and the Vaud (Waadt) region in the eastern Alps and eastern Switzerland (German Switzerland), which must date to the period prior to 328 AH (940 AD). It appears that these Muslims advanced from the region of the Rhone River eastward up to the valley of the Rhine and then on to the region of Jura. Their stay in eastern Switzerland continued up to the mid-10th century AH, when they were eventually forced out by Conrad, the king of Bourgogne, in 343 AH (954 AD). However, the passes in the western Alps remained in the hands of Muslims who mingled with the local inhabitants of the area and who engaged in various agricultural pursuits. In fact, their control of the passes was based on agreements with local rulers, such as Hugo, the count of Provence. In 364 AH (975 AD), a part of this Muslim population was expelled from the area, while some chose to change its religion, a similar fate that befell the Muslims of other Swiss regions as well as those in Italy.

* source: Rahimlou , Yousef "Islam Entry" The Great Islamic Encyclopedia. Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.8 , pp.534 - 535

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