The Romans built a military camp, which they called Lousanna, at the site of a Celtic settlement,
near the lake where currently Vidy and Ouchy are situated; on the hill above was a fort called
Lausodunon or Lousodunon (The "–y" suffix is common to many place names of Roman origin in the region
(e.g.) Prilly, Pully, Lutry, etc.)
By the 2nd century AD, it was known as vikanor[um] Lousonnensium and in 280 as lacu Lausonio.
By 400, it was civitas Lausanna, and in 990 it was mentioned as Losanna.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, insecurity forced the residents of Lausanne to move to its current centre,
a hilly site that was easier to defend. The city which emerged from the camp was ruled by the
Dukes of Savoy and the Bishop of Lausanne. Then it came under Bern from 1536 to 1798,
and a number of its cultural treasures, including the hanging tapestries in the Cathedral,
were permanently removed. Lausanne has made repeated requests to recover them.
After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, Lausanne became (along with Geneva)
a place of refuge for French Huguenots. In 1729, a seminary was opened by Antoine Court and
Benjamin Duplan. By 1750, 90 pastors had been sent back to France to work clandestinely;
this number would rise to 400. Official persecution ended in 1787;
a faculty of Protestant theology was established at Montauban in 1808,
and the Lausanne seminary was finally closed on 18 April 1812.
During the Napoleonic Wars, the city's status changed. In 1803,
it became the capital of a newly formed Swiss canton, Vaud, under which it joined the Swiss Federation.
In 1964, the city played host to the Swiss National Exhibition, displaying its newly found confidence to play host to major international events.
From the 1950s to 1970s, a large number of Italians, Spaniards and Portuguese immigrated to Lausanne,
settling mostly in the industrial district of Renens and transforming the local diet.
The city has served as a refuge for European artists. While under the care of a psychiatrist at Lausanne,
T. S. Eliot composed most of his 1922 poem The Waste Land ("by the waters of Léman I sat down and wept").
Ernest Hemingway also visited from Paris with his wife during the 1920s, to holiday.
In fact, many creative people — such as historian Edward Gibbon and Romantic era poets Shelley and Byron
— have "sojourned, lived, and worked in Lausanne or nearby".