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Swiss Guards is the name given to the Swiss soldiers who have served as bodyguards, ceremonial guards, and palace guards at foreign European courts since the late 15th century. In contemporary usage it refers to the Pontifical Swiss Guard of Vatican City. They have generally had a high reputation for discipline and loyalty to their employers. Apart from household and guard units, some formations have also served as fighting troops; regular Swiss mercenary regiments served as line troops in various armies, notably those of France, Spain and Naples up to the 19th century.
Various units of Swiss Guards have existed for hundreds of years. The earliest such detachment was the Swiss Hundred Guard (Cent-Garde) at the French court (1497 – 1830). This small force was complemented in 1567 by a Swiss Guard regiment. The Papal Swiss Guard in the Vatican was founded in 1506 and is the only Swiss Guard that still exists. In the 18th century several other Swiss Guards existed for periods in various European courts.

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Additional Photos by Asa Jernigan (asajernigan) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3599 W: 88 N: 5553] (21427)
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