About the same time the Pilgrims left Holland for the New World, the Protestant Bernoulli family left the Catholic Netherlands as refugees. They traveled through Frankfurt and settled in Basel, Switzerland. The father of Nicholaus Bernoulli, Jacob Bernoulli (1598-1634), married the Swiss, Maria Frey (1596-1625) and thereby became a citizen in 1622. Nicholaus was born the next year.
Nicolaus and his father were "Materialisten," a specialized merchant who dealt in bulk dry goods such as spices, pigments and medical ingredients. They were druggists, but not apothecaries. An apothecary was allowed to mix and sell compound medicines, and there were a very limited number in the city of Basel. They were members of the Guild of Saffron (Zunft zu Safran). Beginning in 1668, Nicolaus represented the guild on the Grossrat, which was the larger administrative council of Basel.
Nicolaus Bernoulli and his first wife Margaretha Schönauer had many children. Some died young.
Margaretha died in 1673 and Nicholaus remarried in 1674.
Nicholaus died on 8 March 1708 in Basel. All four of his grown sons, named children Nicolaus, after their father.
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