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TanzensembleStadttheater (Foto: Andreas Hub)Kunsthalle (Foto: Peter Leutsch, Schwebheim)

History of Schweinfurt

The inhabitants of Schweinfurt repeatedly had to defend independence and often pay dearly for it.

Unterer Wall, remnants of medieval fortifications, the City Walls with moats, Photo: Hans Hatos
Photo: Hans Hatos

As the city became a bone of contention between the prince-bishop in Würzburg and earls of Henneberg in the middle of the 13th century, heavy devastation resulted, which is known as the First City Ruination.

After the reconstruction, King Rudolf von Habsburg confirmed Schweinfurt’s status of imperial freedom in 1282. In the decades to come, all of the attempts from Würzburg and the Hennebergers to annexe the city into their own sphere of control also faltered.

Stadtansicht von Süden, City view from south 1646-48 (Matthäus Merian)As the only Free Imperial City in Lower Franconia, Schweinfurt repeatedly retained new rights and preserved its sovereignty. The city converted to Protestantism in the middle of the 16th century. This was a daring step indeed, the inhabitants were surrounded by the Catholic territories of the Würzburg prince-bishop.

In 1554, a terrible war waged by Margrave Albrecht Alcibiades von Brandenburg-Kulmbach against the supreme religious foundations in Bamberg and Würzburg as well as the imperial city Nuremberg led to the complete devastation of the uninvolved City of Schweinfurt (Second City Ruination).

Only the Napoleonic reorganization of Europe in 1814 led to the loss of Schweinfurt’s independence. The city has belonged to Bavaria since that time. The fact that Schweinfurt did not suffer the fate of many other former free imperial cities is particularly due to the Schweinfurt inventors in the 19th century and the self-assured citizenry. They paved the way for Schweinfurt to rapidly become an important industrial city. A new chapter in the history of the city was opened.


Schweinfurt’s historical dates

791 First documentary mention of the name Schweinfurt

1234 First mention as imperial city

1240/50 Devastation of the city during disputes between the earls of Henneberg and the Würzburg prince-bishop (First City Ruination)

1554 Devastation of the city in the Margrave War (Second City Ruination)

1625/50 Repeated occupation in the 30 Years War through Swedish and imperial troops

1652 The first of its kind, the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina was founded in 1652 in Schweinfurt by four Schweinfurt physicians, Drs. Bausch, Fehr, Wohlfahrth and Metzger (Leopoldina, Nationale Akademie der Wissenschaftenexterner Link)

1788 Friedrich Rückert, famous German poet and important Oriental languages translator, is born in Schweinfurt.

1802 Loss of imperial freedom; the city becomes a part of Bavaria.

1883 Birth of the ball bearing industry



Schweinfurt's recent history

1943/45The industrial city Schweinfurt is heavily devastated in the Second World War
1961/62The Carus Prize, awarded by the Academy of Natural Sciences Leopoldina, is given for the first time by the City of Schweinfurt
1962Opening of the Elk Natural Wildlife Park An den Eichen
1966Inauguration of the Schweinfurt City Theatre
1971Opening of the Technical University
1981Opening of Leopoldina Medical Center
1992Serious structural crisis in the large-scale industry
1993Beginning of extensive measures for overcoming the structural crisis
1995Opening of Maintal Technology and Industrial Park
2000Opening of the Georg Schäfer Museum
2001Construction of the Main River Island Conference and Hotel Center
2009Opening of the art Gallery Kunsthalle
 Opening of the Schweinfurt shopping mall
2011Inauguration of the new Campus II of the University of Applied Sciences
2012Announcement of the US-Army's withdrawal
2013Bavarian state exhibition Main und Meer (Main and Sea)
 Opening of the Wissenswerkstatt (Knowledge-Workshop)
2014Withdrawal of the US-Army
 Opening of the Health Center
2015Purchase of Ledward Barracks by the city
2015Commitment of the Free State of Bavaria: Ledward will become i-Campus (FHWS).
 Opening of the reception center for refugees and asylum seekers
2016Purchase of Kessler Field, Yorktown Village and Askren Manor by the city
 Opening of the International School Mainfranken on Kessler Field
 Friedrich Rückert: 150 year commemoration of anniversary death
2017Start of construction on the college campus
 Start of demolition in Askren Manor
Stadt Schweinfurt
Markt 1
97421 Schweinfurt
Tel: +49 (9721)51-0
Fax: +49 (9721)51-266

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