The earliest remnants of human habitation in Geneva, Switzerland, go back to about 3,000 BC. Celtic tribes inhabited the area when Julius Caesar and his Roman armies invaded and conquered it in the first century BC. After the decline of the Roman Empire, the German Burgundians settled in the area in 443, but were overcome by Francs in 534. 

By the 11th century, the Second Burgundian Kingdom had gained power and Geneva became its capital, though it was repeatedly contested between Burgundy, the Francs, and the Holy Roman Empire. The Reformation, a restorative move within the Christian church in the 16th century, gave Geneva the nickname "The Protestant Rome," when persecution by England's Roman Catholic queen, Mary the First, forced many Protestants to flee to Geneva. It was there that the G eneva Bible was created, the first English-translation Bible to contain verse references.

In 1602, under the direction of the Duke of Savoy, foreign troops attacked but were repelled by the city's citizens, who successfully prevented soliders from scaling the wall that surrounded the city in order to let their troops in through the city gates. This success is celebrated every year and called, "l'Escalade," (the scaling of the wall), for it marked the beginning of Geneva's independence. Geneva became part of Switzerland in 1815.

The city is perhaps most associated with its famous  Geneva Conventions, a series of treaties that set standards of international law regarding the humane treatment of the sick and wounded during wartime. The first of these was established in 1864.