The region that is today Liechtenstein was first inhabited in the fifth millennium before the Common Era. In the first half of the first millennium of the Common Era it formed part of the Roman Empire, with the Dominion of Schellenberg and the County of Vaduz later becoming regions of the German Empire with imperial immediacy.
Archaeological finds have shown that the region that is today Liechtenstein has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age (5th millennium before the Common Era). As the freeflowing Rhine would have made it hard to live on the valley floor, first settlements were created on raised areas of land. For example, there is evidence of a settlement on the hilltop that is home to Gutenberg Castle in Balzers as well as in Eschnerberg. In the year 15 BC the Romans defeated the Rhaetians and created the Roman province of Raetia. In the first century BC an army road connecting Milan and Bregenz was built over the Luzisteig and along the right bank of the Rhine. This road led to the construction of estates and forts in the region occupied by modern-day Liechtenstein.
The fall of the Roman Empire resulted in the Alemannic people moving into the area. In the 8th century Raetia became part of the Frankish Kingdom and in the 10th century part of the Alemannic Duchy. At this time the region was ruled by the Counts of Bregenz. On 3 May 1342 it was divided, creating the County of Vaduz. In the decades and centuries that followed, the County was to be the backdrop to much fighting and pillaging, including during the Swabian War (1499-1500).