Online Encyclopedia

WETZLAR

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 565 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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WETZLAR, a town of Germany, in the Prussian Rhine province, pleasantly situated at the confluence of the Dill and Lahn, 64 m. N.E. of Coblenz by the railway to Giessen. Pop. (1905) 12,276. The most conspicuous building is the cathedral, dating in part from the 11th, in part from the 14th-16th centuries. The municipal archives contain interesting documents of the whilom imperial chamber (see infra). The town preserves associations of Goethe, who wrote Die Leiden des jungen Werthers after living here in 1772 as a legal official, and of Charlotte Buff, the Lotte of Werther. Overlooking the town are the ruins of the medieval castle of Kalsmunt. There are iron mines and foundries and optical instrument factories. Wetzlar was originally a royal demesne, and in the 12th century became a free imperial town. It had grown in importance when, in 1693, the imperial chamber (Reichskammergericht) was removed hither from Spires. The town lost its independence in 1803, and passed to the prince-primate Dalberg. Three years later (18o6), on the dissolution of the empire, the imperial chamber ceased to exist. The French were defeated here by the Austrians and Saxons under the archduke Charles, 15th June 1796.
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