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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 260.

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 settlement.

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' War.

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 a present.

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 Heidelberg.

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, Weber, Gundolf).

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)

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