Augsburg, Germany City History

Augsburg, Germany City History

City foundation, antiquity

Augsburg’s name goes back to the Roman Augusta Vindelicorum. The name “Augusta” is explained by the fact that the city was built at the behest of the Roman emperor Augustus in 15 BC. Was founded. The settlement, which initially existed as a military camp, was also given the addition of Vindelicorum, which has to do with the tribe of the Vindeliker, who settled with them in that area. If one takes the already mentioned year 15 BC. as the city’s founding date, Augsburg would be Germany’s second oldest city. In any case, Augsburg was one of the largest Roman settlements north of the Alps after Trier.

In 121 the settlement of Augusta Vindelicorum was given Roman city rights by Emperor Hadrianus. From the end of the 1st century it even served as the capital of the Roman province of Raetia. The Germanic Juthung invaded Italy and Raetia in 260 ; they abducted thousands of Italians, but were crushed by the Roman governor on their march back. In 1992 the Augsburg Altar of Victory was discovered; this is invaluable evidence of this battle. In 271 the Juthung (as well as other tribes) invaded the province and the city again.

From the year 294 – after the division of the Raetia Province – Augsburg functioned as the capital of the Raetia Secunda Province. Since the 5th century there has been an increasing number of Alemanni incursions into this province. It is noteworthy in this regard that the settlement was not destroyed in the process. This fact is certainly related to the fact that at this time various pilgrimages to the grave of Saint Afra of Augsburg took place, which are mentioned, for example, in the Vita Sancti Martini by Venantius Fortunatus.
The martyrdom of Afra fell around the time around 300, when Augsburg had already been the seat of a bishop.

In the Middle Ages

According to intershippingrates, Augsburg gained in importance after Emperor Otto I, with the support of Bishop Ulrich von Augsburg, was able to defeat the Hungarians breaking through to the west near the city in the battle on the Lechfeld. In 1156 Augsburg was granted city rights again (this time by Emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa) and in 1251 the right to tax citizens and to use a seal. 1276 was an even more important year for the city: The then King Rudolf von Habsburg granted Augsburg imperial immediacy, which meant nothing less than that the city was now allowed to have the status of a free imperial city.

As a result of this extended independence, however, there were violent conflicts with the bishopric, which was the secular domain of the prince-bishop. After the main episcopal residence was relocated to Dillingen (that is, to the Danube), a power vacuum was released, for which various patrician families were fighting. In 1368 there was an uprising of the urban craftsmen in this context. The result was the establishment of a guild constitution. After the guild constitution was introduced in Augsburg, which, by the way, was supposed to join the Swabian League of Cities in 1379, the influence of the guilds grew more and more. Until 1547 they were even involved in the city government.

At this point, reference should be made to the dictator Ulrich Schwarz, whose rule represented the climax of the guilds’ participation in government. He became mayor in 1469 and initially managed to give the guilds, which had not been given the opportunity to have a say, more influence in the city government. Augsburg’s debts could also be drastically minimized. But when the city patriciate got in his way, he made use of crude means: He had the patrician brothers Vittel executed and thereupon himself was given the death penalty (1478).

Augsburg, Germany City History

In the early modern times

The early modern period marks Augsburg’s most important historical phase. It was a time of political and religious decision-making and an economic rise of imposing strength.

After the rule of the guild was finally ended in 1547, Augsburg began its impressive development into one of the most influential trading and economic centers in the world. This was largely due to the wealth and influence of the famous Fuggers, the Augsburg merchant family who were able to steer the fate of Europe with their money and connections.

Decisions of unbelievable consequences were made in Augsburg in the following decades: At the Reichstag in Speyer (1529), the city belonged to the representatives of the evangelical minority. However, she did not take part in the famous protest, but demanded the unhindered expansion of the Lutheran denomination (= Confessio Augustana). This was formulated by Philipp Melanchthon at the Diet of Augsburg in 1530. That Confessio was nothing less than the creed and founding document of the Lutheran Church.

Another important event was the so-called Augsburg Synod of Martyrs in 1527: It was an international gathering of delegates from the Anabaptist faith. Its name hinted at the tragic fact that most of those who took part in the synod later died as martyrs.

The next important political decision was ordered by Emperor Charles V in 1548: the so-called Augsburger Interim was an imperial law that was intended to regulate the ecclesiastical and religious situation in the empire for a transitional period until a general council would finally determine the situation. The interim had to be withdrawn again in 1552. Before that, it had led to fierce opposition on both sides of the denominational spectrum.

The undisputed most important event in the history of the city so far was the establishment of the Augsburg Religious Peace, named after it, which was signed in 1555 at the Reichstag in Augsburg. Ferdinand I concluded this peace with the imperial estates – with the power of attorney from his brother Emperor Charles V. The most important provisions of the text of the treaty included: legal acceptance of Lutheran Protestants, princes’ right to choose their own religion, princes’ right of conversion (Ius reformandi), subjects’ right to emigrate (Ius emigrandi) and the establishment of the ecclesiastical property for the year 1552. The Augsburg resident Religious peace was an important stage victory for the princes over the central imperial power and the idea of ​​a universal Christian empire.

Augsburg suffered the conquest by the Swedes under Gustav II Adolf (1632) during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). The statue of Stoinerner Mo and the Schwedenstiege still remind of this dramatic event for the city.

Historical significance of Augsburg

Augsburg’s historical significance must be emphasized as an absolute specialty. Especially in the early modern period, political and religious decisions were made on a large scale in the city on the Lech. The city belonged to the representatives of the Protestant minority at the Reichstag in Speyer (1529). However, she did not take part in the famous protest, but demanded the unhindered expansion of the Lutheran denomination, the Confessio Augustana. This was formulated by Philipp Melanchthon at the Diet of Augsburg in 1530. That Confessio was nothing less than the creed and founding document of the Lutheran Church.

Another important event was the so-called Augsburg Synod of Martyrs in 1527: It was an international gathering of delegates from the Anabaptist faith. Its name hinted at the tragic fact that most of those attending the synod later died as martyrs. The next important political decision was ordered by Emperor Charles V in 1548: the so-called Augsburger Interim was an imperial law that was intended to regulate the ecclesiastical and religious situation in the empire for a transitional period until a general council would finally determine the situation. The interim had to be withdrawn again in 1552. Before that, it had led to fierce opposition on both sides of the denominational spectrum.

The undisputed most important event in the history of the city so far was the establishment of the Augsburg Religious Peace, named after it, which was signed in 1555 at the Reichstag in Augsburg. Ferdinand I concluded this peace with the imperial estates – with the power of attorney from his brother Emperor Charles V. The most important provisions of the text of the treaty included: legal acceptance of Lutheran Protestants, the princes’ right to choose their own religion, the princes’ right of conversion (“Ius reformandi”), the subjects’ right to emigrate (“Ius emigrandi”) and the establishment of the ecclesiastical property for the year 1552. The Augsburg Religious Peace was an important stage victory for the princes over the central imperial power and the idea of ​​a universal Christian empire.

Comments are closed.