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Strasbourg

STRASBOURG

STRASBOURG. Founded in 16 c.e., the Alsatian city of Strasbourg owed its subsequent prosperity and influence to its situation on the left (western) bank of the Upper Rhine, where it commanded the last bridge over that river before its mouth. The city's trading network extended north and south along the Rhine, as well as east deeper into the Holy Roman Empire, and west into France. Though an annual fair was held beginning in 1228 and the city became a regional banking center by 1500, it failed to develop an indigenous manufacturing sector beyond cheap woolen goods known as "Strasbourg gray." The city remained vulnerable to external pressures that threatened to disrupt its livelihood and food supply.

The most important of these pressures was the local prince-bishop, who initially controlled the city, but was ejected by its inhabitants in 1262 and took up residence in Dachstein castle, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) to the west. Though the city was now a self-governing free city, the bishop still exercised jurisdiction over its clergy, convents, and the huge cathedral that was never finished. The bishop was a prince of the empire with a voice in imperial institutions and his own territory extending across 276 square miles (715 square kilometers) of land to the west, south, and southeast and populated by around sixty thousand people by the late eighteenth century. Strasbourg itself had sixteen thousand inhabitants in 1444, rising to between twenty and twenty-five thousand by the early sixteenth century. The population thereafter remained stable, reflecting the city's declining influence and economic stagnation that set in from the 1550s. There were another ten thousand or more peasants outside the walls who lived under the city's jurisdiction.

Urban government was transformed by a series of violent protests between 1332 and 1449 that secured representation through the city's twenty guilds, but the patriciate gradually hardened into a new oligarchy of thirty to forty families who controlled the key decision making committees. This process was not yet complete by 1522 when many councillors accepted the Reformation. Strasbourg intellectual life had been stimulated by local humanist scholars, including Jacob Wimpfeling (14501528), Johann Geiler von Kaysersberg (14451510), and Sebastian Brant (1458?1521), who helped make the city an important publishing and educational center. However, their attempt to reform local spiritual life contributed to the already strong tradition of anticlericalism left by the earlier struggles against the bishop. The Reformation was introduced with popular support but passed swiftly into the hands of the magistrates, who ensured a moderate course after 1529. The chief reformer was Martin Bucer (14911551), who sought a theological compromise between North German Lutheranism and Swiss Zwinglianism; in this Bucer complemented the council's strategy, guided by its leader Jacob Sturm (14891553), of negotiating a broad Protestant urban alliance. The city was drawn into the Schmalkaldic League and suffered from its defeat by Emperor Charles V in 1547. Conservatives controlled the council until 1562, when Calvinist influence grew and radicals again called for a more energetic external policy, culminating in armed intervention in the bishop's affairs in 15931594. Moderates regained control and reaffirmed orthodox Lutheranism in 1598. Though Strasbourg joined the Protestant Union in 1608, it remained neutral after 1618 and avoided further political ambitions. Johannes Sturm (15071589) made a lasting impact on Protestant German education and also founded a grammar school in 1538 that became the University of Strasbourg in 1621. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a student there and received a law degree, but the university was closed by the French revolutionaries in 1793 and not reopened until 1872.

New defenses, built 16331680, failed to save Strasbourg from French annexation in 1681 as the magistrates surrendered rather than face a bombardment. The bishop also acknowledged French jurisdiction over his lands west of the Rhine and was allowed to return to the city. Sébastian Le Prestre de Vauban strengthened the fortifications 16821690, and Strasbourg became a major French garrison, held by ten thousand mainly German-speaking soldiers. Urban self-government remained while the economy revived, and the population grew to fifty thousand by 1789. French became the second language, and half the population converted to Catholicism. Strasbourg became a symbol for early German national sentiment, but little effort was made to recover it, although in 1697 the French were obliged to surrender the small fort of Kehl, built at the eastern end of the Rhine bridge between 1683 and 1688. The empire failed to maintain Kehl, which the French periodically recaptured (17031714, 17331735), and the place was abandoned in 1754. The bishopric remained formally part of the empire, but in 1682 the emperor refused to acknowledge the election of the French candidate, Wilhelm Egon von Fürstenberg, and his successors after 1704 were appointed from Paris. Strasbourg's full incorporation within France only came after 1789, while the bishopric maintained a precarious existence in its lands east of the Rhine until these were annexed by the state of Baden in 1803.

See also Brant, Sebastian ; Free and Imperial Cities ; Holy Roman Empire ; Reformation, Protestant ; Schmalkaldic War (15461547) .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Abray, Lorna Jane. The Peoples' Reformation: Magistrates, Clergy and Commons in Strasbourg 15001598. Ithaca, N.Y., 1985.

Brady, Thomas A., Jr. Protestant Politics: Jacob Sturm (14891553) and the German Reformation. Atlantic Highlands, N.J., 1995.

. Ruling Class, Regime and Reformation at Strasbourg 15201555. Leiden, 1978.

Chrisman, Mariam Usher. Strasbourg and the Reform: A Study in the Process of Change. New Haven and London, 1967.

Ford, Franklin L. Strasbourg in Transition 16481789. Cambridge, Mass., 1958.

Livet, Georges, and Francis Rapp, eds. Histoire de Strasbourg des origines à nos jours. Vol. 2, Strasbourg des grandes invasions au XVe siècle. Vol. 3, Strasbourg de la guerre de Trente Ans à Napoléon, 16181815. Strasbourg, 1981.

O'Connor, John T. Negotiator out of Season: The Career of Wilhelm Egon von Fürstenberg, 1629 to 1704. Athens, Ga., 1978.

Rapp, Francis. Réformes et Réformation à Strasbourg: Église et société dans le diocese de Strasbourg (14501525). Paris, 1974.

Wunder, Gerhard. Das Strassburger Gebiet: Ein Beitrag zur rechtlichen und politischen Geschichte des gesamten städtischen Territoriums vom 10. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert. Berlin, 1965.

Peter H. Wilson

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Strasbourg

Strasbourg (sträzbōōr´), Ger. Strassburg, city (1990 pop. 255,931), capital of Bas-Rhin dept., NE France, on the Ill River near its junction with the Rhine. It is the intellectual and commercial capital of Alsace. The city's chief industries are metal casting, machine and tool construction, oil and gas refining, and boatbuilding. Strasbourg's goose-liver pâté and beer are famous. Iron, potassium, gasoline, and numerous industrial products are shipped through Strasbourg's great port on the Rhine. The city has an important nuclear research center. It hosts a long-running music festival and has an opera company and several museums.

In Roman times Strasbourg was called Argentoratum and was an important city in the province of Upper Germany. It became an episcopal see in the 4th cent. Destroyed by the Huns in the 5th cent., the city was rebuilt and called Strateburgum [city of roadways]. After becoming part of the Holy Roman Empire in 923, Strasbourg, with the surrounding rural area, came under the temporal rule of its bishops. Its location at the crossroads of Flanders, Italy, France, and central Europe made it an important commercial center. In 1262, after some struggles with the bishops, the burghers secured the status of a free imperial city for the city proper. An upheaval in 1332 established a corporate government in which the guilds played a leading role.

Medieval German literature reached its height in Strasbourg with Gottfried von Strassburg. There also Johann Gutenberg's printing press may have been invented (15th cent.). Strasbourg accepted the Reformation in the 1520s under the leadership of Martin Bucer and became an important Protestant center. The Univ. of Strasbourg, founded in the 16th cent. as a Protestant university, numbered Goethe and Metternich among its students. The city's prosperity began to decline in the early 17th cent. and was severely damaged by the Thirty Years War (1618–48). In 1681, Louis XIV seized Strasbourg, which was confirmed in French possession by the Treaty of Ryswick (1697). The persecutions of French Protestants after 1685 were not carried into Strasbourg, which raised little objection to the annexation. The city enthusiastically supported the French Revolution and thereafter increasingly adopted French customs and speech.

Bombarded by the Prussians during the Franco-Prussian War, Strasbourg was ceded to Germany by the Treaty of Frankfurt (1871). It was recovered by France in 1919, following World War I. The city was occupied by the Germans and severely damaged in World War II. Most historical monuments, however, were saved. Chief among these is the Roman Catholic cathedral, begun in 1015 and completed in 1439. It has a famous astronomic clock installed in 1574.

After the war, the city expanded toward the east and south; in 1967 some 30 neighboring towns were absorbed into a new Community of Strasbourg. In 1949, Strasbourg became the seat of the Council of Europe. Strasbourg is now also the seat of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Union's European Parliament.

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Strasbourg

Strasbourg City on the River Ill, capital of Bas-Rhin department and commercial capital of the Alsace region, e France. Known in Roman times as Argentoratum, the Huns destroyed the city in the 5th century. In 923, it became part of the Holy Roman Empire and developed into an important commercial centre, becoming a free imperial city in 1262. Strasbourg was a centre of medieval German literature, and of 16th-century Protestantism. France seized the city in 1681, Germany regained it after the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), but France recovered it at the end of World War I. German troops occupied the city during World War 2. The European Parliament sits in Strasbourg's Palais de l'Europe. Industries: metallurgy, oil and gas refining, machinery. Its port, on the Rhine, is France's chief grain outlet. Pop. (1999) 267,051.

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Strasbourg

Strasbourg a city in NE France, in Alsace, close to the border with Germany, annexed by Germany in 1870, and returned to France after the First World War. It is the headquarters of the Council of Europe and of the European Parliament.
Strasbourg goose a goose fattened in such a way as to enlarge the liver for use in pâté de foie gras.

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Strasbourg

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