Today in History, January 22, 1506:
At the request of Pope Julius II, the first contingent of 150 Swiss Guards march into the Holy City and take up their posts providing security for the Vatican. 514 years later, they are still there.
Switzerland in the 16th century was a poor country, and many of their young men became mercenaries to survive, providing security for capitols in Europe.
Obviously there is a lot of ceremony to their job today, but don’t be fooled…in addition to those swords and pikes, they’re packing Sigs, Glocks and MP5’s.