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Bremen January 2006
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bremen town hall, St. Peter's Cathedral and parliament
Coordinates 53°4′33″N 8°48′27″ECoordinates: 53°4′33″N 8°48′27″E
City subdivisions 5 boroughs, 18 districts, 89 subdistricts
First mayor Jens Böhrnsen (SPD)
Governing parties SPD / Greens
Area 326.73 km2 (126.15 sq mi)
- Metro 11,627 [[km2]] (4,489 sq mi)
Elevation 12 m (39 ft)
Population 547,535 (30 November 2010)
- Density 1,676 /km2 (4,340 /sq mi)
- Metro 2,400,000
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate HB (with 1 to 2 letters and 1 to 3 digits)
Postal codes 28001–28779
Area code 0421
Website Bremen online
The City Municipality of Bremen (German: Stadtgemeinde Bremen, German pronunciation: [ˈbʁeːmən] ( listen)) is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany. A commercial and industrial city with a major port on the River Weser, Bremen is part of the Bremen-Oldenburg metropolitan area (2.4 million people). Bremen is the second most populous city in Northern Germany and tenth in Germany.
Bremen is some 60 km (37 mi) south from the Weser mouth on the North Sea. With Bremerhaven right on the mouth the two comprise the state of Bremen (official name: Freie Hansestadt Bremen - Free Hanseatic City of Bremen).
The marshes and moraines near Bremen have been settled since about 12000 BC. Burial places and settlements in Bremen-Mahndorf and Bremen-Osterholz date back to the 7th century AD. In 150 AD the geographer Ptolemy refers to Fabiranum or Phabiranum, known today as Bremen. At that time the Chauci lived in the area now called north-western Germany or Lower Saxony. By the end of the 3rd century, they had merged with the Saxons. During the Saxon Wars (772–804) the Saxons, led by Widukind, fought against the West Germanic Franks, the founders of the Carolingian Empire, and lost the war.
Charlemagne, the King of the Franks, made a new law, the Lex Saxonum. This law stated that Saxons were not allowed to worship Odin (the god of the Saxons), but rather that they had to convert to Christianity on pain of death. This period was called the Christianisation. In 787 Willehad of Bremen was the first Bishop of Bremen. In 848 the diocese of Hamburg merged with the diocese of Bremen, and in the following centuries the bishops of Bremen were the driving force behind the Christianisation of north Germany. In 888 Archbishop Rimbert, managed to get Kaiser Arnulf of Carinthia, the Carolingian King of East Francia, to grant Bremen the right to hold its own markets, to mint its own coins and make its own customs laws.
The first stone city walls were built in 1032. Around this time trade with Norway, England and the northern Netherlands began to grow, thus increasing the importance of the city.
In 1186 the Bremian Prince-Archbishop Hartwig of Uthlede and his bailiff in Bremen confirmed — without generally waiving the prince-archiepiscopal overlordship over the city — the Gelnhausen Privilege, by which Frederick I Barbarossa granted the city considerable privileges. The city was recognised as a political entity with its own laws. Property within the municipal boundaries could not be subjected to feudal overlordship; this also applied to serfs who acquired property, if they managed to live in the city for a year and a day, after which they were to be regarded as free persons. Property was to be freely inherited without feudal claims for reversion to its original owner. This privilege laid the foundation for Bremen's later status of imperial immediacy (Free Imperial City).
In fact, however, Bremen did not have complete independence from the Prince-Archbishops, in that there was no freedom of religion, and burghers were still forced to pay taxes to the Prince-Archbishops. Bremen played a double role; it participated in the Diets of the neighbouring Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen as part of the Bremian Estates and paid its share of taxes, at least when it had previously consented to this levy. Since the city was the major taxpayer, its consent was generally sought. In this way the city wielded fiscal and political power within the Prince-Archbishopric, while not allowing the Prince-Archbishopric to rule in the city against its consent. In 1260 Bremen joined the Hanseatic League.