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History of Cologne

The History of Cologne, Germany's oldest major city, began with:

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The Romans

In 39 BC, the tribe of the Ubii enter into an agreement with the Roman forces and settle on the left bank of the Rhine. Their headquarters was Oppidum Ubiorum - the settlement of the Ubii, and at the same time an important Roman military base. In 50 AD, Agrippina the younger, the wife of the Emperor Claudius, who was born in Cologne, asked for her home village to be elevated to the status of a colonia - a city under Roman law. Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensis (A colony of Claudius and the altar of Agrippina) became the capital of the Roman province Lower Germania in 90 AD. By the 3rd century, 20,000 people lived in and around the town. A water supply was built and delivered 20,000 cubic metres of water to the city every day. In 310 AD, the Emperor Constantine has a bridge over the Rhine constructed; this was guarded by the castellum Divitia (nowadays "Deutz").

Franks, Merovingians and Carolingians

In 355 AD, the Salian Franks besiege the town for 10 months. In 455, they finally capture Cologne and make it their capital city.

The Prince-Bishops of Cologne

Cologne's first Christian bishop was Maternus[?]. He was responsible for the construction of the first cathedral, a square building erected early in the 4th century. In 794, Hildebald (or Hildebold) is the first Bishop of Cologne to be elevated to Archbishop. Bruno I (925-965), younger brother of Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, founds several monasteries here. Subsequent Archbishops of Cologne become very influential as advisers to the Saxon, Salian and Hohenstaufen dynasties. Since 1031, they also hold the office of Arch-Chancellor of Italy. Between 1159 and 1167, Rainald von Dassel is Archbishop of Cologne, as well as being Imperial Chancellor and adviser to Emperor Frederick Barbarossa...... In 1821, the Archbishopric is re-instated, and the Archbishops reside again in the city.

The Hanseatic League

Cologne was a leading member of the "Hansa", especially through trading with England.

The French

In 1794, the French occupy Cologne.

The Prussians

In 1814, Cologne is occupied by Prussian and Russian troops. In 1815, Cologne and the Rhineland is allocated to Prussia.

The Nazis

Jews in Cologne

As early as 321 AD, an edict by the Emperor allows Jews to be elected to the City Council. The first pogrom against the Jews was in 1349, and in 1424 they are evicted from the city, but are allowed back again in 1798. In Kristallnacht 1938, synagogues are set on fire......

See also: University of Cologne



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