Encyclopedia > Krefeld

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Krefeld is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located southwest of the Ruhr area, just a few kilometres west of the Rhine. (The borough of Uerdingen is situated directly on the Rhine.) Population: 238,100.

The origins of the town were in Roman times, when the legions founded the military camp of Gelduba (today the borough of Gellep). Krefeld itself was first mentioned in 1105 under the name of Krinvelde. Uerdingen was originally an independent town east of Krefeld, founded in 1255. In medieval times it was larger and more important than Krefeld.

The growth of the town began in the 17th century, when Krefeld was one of few towns spared by the horrors of the Thirty Years' War. The town was quickly overpeopled. In 1683 a large group of Krefelders left the town, crossed the Atlantic and founded the settlement of Germantown (now incorporated in Philadelphia).

The town of Uerdingen was less lucky; it was completely destroyed in the Thirty Years' War by troops from Hesse and almost ceased to exist. Krefeld got ahead of Uerdingen; both towns merged in 1928.

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