Today's claim to be skeptical about comes to us from a fairly infamous speech in a movie "The Third Man ":
in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock - Orson Welles playing Harry Lime.
Now that sounds like a total hyperbole, but still, it would be good to have the claim (dis)proved. So the actual questions are:
A. For given time periods (see below), were there significant inventions/discoveries/cultural-or-inventor-type personalities in Switzerland?
B. For given time periods, did Switzerland literally experience "X uninterrupted years of democracy and peace"?
The time periods in question would be:
The Renaissance period
During Borgia era
To make it more precise, Wiki seems to imply that the era is between Alexander and Lucrezia, so to approximate the quote's "30 years" we will make it 1492 => 1519, between the start of Alexander VI's papacy and death of Lucrezia.
500 years, in case no good examples can be had in the first two periods
Since the movie came out in 1949 (and was about post-war period), this should theoretically be 1450-1950.
I'm going to cheat and make Einstein to be an ineligible example despite being in this time period.
UPDATE: Executive summary of answers: the skepticism was well founded, as the speech was busted in all 3 of its assumptions:
The Swiss didn't have much of peace and brotherly love, especially in Renaissance time frame
The Swiss had produced things/people of importance. In the relevant early timeframe, 2 great examples are Bernoulli family and H. Zwingli, and later on, Euler.
And, to top it off, as per comments, the Swiss didn't even produce the cuckoo clock! (that was Germany)