Heidelberg History - very briefly
approx. 600,000 years - that is the estimated
age of the "Heidelberg Man" whose jaw-bone was discovered
in 1907 at nearby Mauer, the earliest evidence of human life
in Europe. Since 40 AD. there had been in what is now the
municipal district of Neuenheim a fort occupied by the 24th
Roman cohort and the 2nd Cyrenaican cohort (CCG XXIIII and
CCH II CYR). The camp was overrun by the Alemans in the year
5th cent. BC, Celts build a fortress of
refuge and place of worship on the Heiligenberg.
circa 80 AD, the Romans maintain a caster
(permanent camp) and a signalling tower on the bank of the
Neckar, and build a wooden bridge across the Neckar. The first
civilian settlement develop under the protection of the camp.
The Romans remain until 260 AD.
5th cent. AD, the beginnings of a permanent
769, the village of "Bergheim"
is mentioned in documents for the first time.
In the year 764, Lorsch Monastery was erected.
In 863 the monastery of St. Michael was founded on the Heiligenberg
("Holy Mount") inside a double Keltic rampart (dating
vom 5 BC.), and around 1130, Neuberg Monastery was built in
the Neckar valley. At the same time the bishopric of Worms
extended its influence into the valley, founding Schoenau
Monastery in 1142. It was from a tiny hamlet at the foot of
a Worms castle that Heidelberg eventually developed.
In 1155, the oldest castle and settlement
leave the possesion of the Bishop of Worms and are taken over
by the house of Hohenstaufen, Konrad, of this dynasty, becomes
"Pfalzgraf (Count Palatinate) of the Rhine".
In 1195, The Palatinate joins the house
of Welfen through marriage.
In 1196, Heidelberg was mentioned for the
first time in a document in Schoenau Monastery.
In 1386, the Count Palatine, Ruprecht I,
one of the seven imperial Prince Electors, founded Heidelberg
University, which played a leading part in the era of humanism
and reformation and the conflict between Lutheranism and Calvinism
in the 15th and 16th centuries. A few months after the proclamation
of the 95 theses, in April 1518, Martin Luther was received
in Heidelberg, with high honours where he defended the theses.
In 1620, the Protestant Elector, Friedrich
V, who was married to Elizabeth, eldest daughter of James
VI of Scotland, accepted the Bohemian crown; he is known as
the "winter king", as he only reigned for one winter.
He lost the battle of the White Hill near Prague, and with
it the electorship, which passed to the Catholic Maximilian
of Bavaria. This marked the beginning of the Thirty Years'
In 1622, after a siege lasting two months,
Tilly captured Heidelberg. He gave the famous Bibliotheca
Palatina from the Church of the Holy Ghost to the pope as
In 1649, Friedrich's son, Karl Ludwig, was
able to return to the royal residence. In 1671, in order to
strengthen his dynastic power, he married his daugther Liselotte
("Liselotte of the Palatinate") to the Duke of Orleans.
In 1685, after the death of Liselotte's
brother, Louis XIV laid claim to her inheritance. The claim
was rejected, and war ensued. In 1689 the castle and the city
were captured by French troops and, in 1693, almost totally
destroyed. In 1720, religious conflicts with the citizens
of Heidelberg caused the Prince Elector Carl Philipp to transfer
his residence to Mannheim, where it remained until the Elector
Karl Theodor became Elector of Bavaria in 1777 and established
his court in Munich.
In the 18th century, the city was rebuilt
on the old Gothic layout, but in Baroque style.
In 1803, the Grand Duke Karl Friedrich of
Baden re-founded the University, named "Ruperto-Carola"
after its two founders. Notable scholars soon earned it a
reputation as a "royal residence of the intellect".
In 1815, the Emperor of Austria, the Tsar
of Russia and the King of Prussia formed the "Holy Alliance"
In 1848, it was decided here to constitute
a German National Assembly. In 1849, during the Palatinate-Baden
rebellion, Heidelberg was the headquarters of a revolutionary
army which was defeated by the Prussian army near Waghaeusel.
The city was occupied by Prussian troops until 1850.
Between 1920 and 1933,
Heidelberg University's reputation was enhanced by a number
of notable physicians (Czerny, Erb, Krehl) and humanists (Rohde,
In the Second World War, Heidelberg escaped
bombing. In 1945, thanks to the surgeon Karl Heinrich Bauer
and the philosopher Karl Jaspers, the University re-opened.
Today, Heidelberg has a population of 135,000
and more than 28,000 students.
(source: Heidelberger Kongress und Tourismus GmbH 2004)
Further information at http://www.hhog.de/heidelberg/history.htm
Last update: Mar 5, 2004 (OLR)