Second largest city in Bavaria, situated in a plain on both sides of the river Pegnitz
Nuremberg (NURNBERG), second largest city in Bavaria, situated in a plain on both sides of the river Pegnitz. Of uncertain origin, it is first mentioned as Noremberc in a document issued by Emperor Henry III at a diet held in the town. The palace was reconstructed as a fortified castle between 1025 and 1050. The population increased when Henry IV transferred (1062) from Furth to Nuremberg the right to hold a fair and to coin money. The cult of its patron St. Sebald, also helped its development. In times of war the emperors often found refuge in the town, for which Henry V granted it freedom from custom duties (1112). King Lothair (1112-1137) claimed Nuremberg as part of his empire, while the Hohenstaufen brothers, Conrad and Frederick, claimed it as part of their inheritance under the Salic law. In 1130 the city surrendered to the emperor and the Guelph Henry. The latter possessed it until 1138, when it reverted to the empire. Conrad III liked to visit the flourishing city, and made it an asylum for the then persecuted Jews. Several diets took place in Nuremberg under Frederick Barbarossa, who built a splendid new imperial castle adjoining the old castle of the burggraves (Burggrafen). From the end of the eleventh century the city was independent of the burggraves, who, in the early times, in their capacity as imperial officials, exercised jurisdiction in all judicial and military matters and appropriated two-thirds of all moneys collected in criminal and civil cases. When the burggraves (at first descendants of the house of Raabs in Lower Austria, and, when it became extinct in 1190, the house of Zollern) endeavored to extend their private possessions at the expense of the empire, the emperors of the twelfth century took over the administration of the imperial possessions belonging to the burg, and installed a castellan or overseer in the imperial castle. This castellan not only administered the imperial lands surrounding Nuremberg, but levied taxes and constituted the highest judicial court in matters relating to poaching and forestry; he also was the appointed protector of the various ecclesiastical establishments, churches, and monasteries, even of the Bishopric of Bamberg. The privileges of this castellanship were transferred to the city during the last years of the fourteenth, and the first years of the fifteenth centuries. The strained relations between the burggraves and the castellan finally broke into out open enmity, which greatly influenced the history of the city.
In 1219 Nuremberg became a free imperial city, when Frederick II presented it with a most important charter, freeing it from all authority excepting that of the emperor himself. The administration was entrusted to a council, presided over, since the middle of the thirteenth century, by the Reichsschultheiss. The “Schoffenkollegium”, who assisted this official in his judicial work, also sat in the council. The council became more and more independent, and in 1320 was invested by Louis the Bavarian with supreme jurisdiction. This conflicted with the rights of the Schultheiss (usually a knight), whose appointment, however, rested with the council after 1396. This accumulation of rights and privileges made the power of the council equal to that of the sovereign or territorial lords, while the acquisition of the imperial forest near Nuremberg had furnished a basis for future development. Until the middle of the thirteenth century, the Kleine (little) or reigning council consisted of thirteen magistrates and thirteen councilors; towards the end of the century were added eight members of the practically unimportant Grosse (great) council, and, since 1370, eight representatives of the artisans’ associations. The members of the council were chosen by the people usually from the wealthier class; this custom led to the establishment of a circle of “eligibles”, to which the artisan class was strongly opposed as being politically an illegal element. With the increasing importance of handicraft a spirit of independence developed among the artisans, and they determined to have a voice in the government of the city. In 1349 the members of the trade unions unsuccessfully rebelled against the patricians. Their unions were then dissolved, and the oligarchic element remained in power while Nuremberg was a free city.
Ecclesiastically speaking, Nuremberg belonged first to the Bishopric of Eichstatt, and from 1015 to that of Bamberg. In place of the oldest chapel in Nuremberg, the Peterskapelle, a church was consecrated in 1070 to St. Sebaldus; this was replaced by a new edifice in the thirteenth century. The second church in importance was the Lorenzkirche, built about 1278. There also arose the Gothic St. Jacob‘s Church (twelfth century), which was transferred to the Teutonic Knights in 1209; the Scots Abbey (1140); the monasteries and chapels of the Franciscans, 1227 (thirteenth century), the Augustinians (1218); the Dominicans (1248); the Carmelites (1255); the Carthusians (1382); the Order of Mary Magdalene (Reuerinnen) incorporated with the Poor Clares in 1279, and the cloister of St. Catherine, a society of nurses. The hospital of the Holy Ghost was founded 1334-39. At the beginning of the fourteenth century Nuremberg had become wonderfully developed. Charles IV conferred upon it the right to conclude alliances independently, thereby placing it upon a politically equal footing with the princes of the empire. The city protected itself from hostile attacks by a wall and successfully defended its extensive trade against the barons. Frequent fights took place with the burggraves without, however, inflicting lasting damage upon the city. After the castle had been destroyed by fire in 1420 during a feud between Count Frederick (since 1417 Margrave of Brandenburg) and the Duke of Bavaria-Ingolstadt, the ruins and the forest belonging to the castle were purchased by the city (1427), which thereby became master of all that lay within its boundaries. The imperial castle had been ceded to the city by Emperor Sigismund in 1422, on condition that the imperial suite of rooms should be reserved for the emperor. Through these and other acquisitions the city accumulated considerable territory. In 1431 the population was about 22,800 including 7146 persons qualified to bear arms, 381 secular and regular priests; 744 Jews and non-citizens. The Hussite wars, the plague of 1437, the fights with the burggraves (then also mar-graves of Brandenburg, Anspach, and Bayreuth, reduced it to 20,800 in 1450.
At the beginning of the sixteenth century the war of succession in Landshut brought new possessions to Nuremberg (the ally of Duke Albert of Bavaria-Munich), so that it possessed more (25 sq. miles) than any imperial free city; it was called the Empire’s Treasure Box on account of its political importance, its industrial power, and superior culture. It had now reached the pinnacle of its splendor. As an indication of its importance as an art and science center during the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, it records such names as Peter Vischer, Adam Krafft, Veit Stoss, Michael Wohlgemuth, Albert Durer, Hans Sachs, Conrad Celtes, Willibald and Charitas Pirkheimer, Johann Muller (Regiomontanus), Hartmann Schedel, Martin Behaim and others.
In 1521 Luther’s creed was preached by some of the clergy, among whom was Andrew Osiander, preacher at St. Lornzkirche; there was also a distinct leaning towards the new teaching among the members of the council. They prohibited processions, passion plays during the Easter tide, and other celebrations. After 1524 the possessions of the monasteries and clerical institutions were confiscated; in 1525 the council accepted Luther’s religion; the Dominicans, Carmelites and Minorites were forbidden to preach or to hear confessions; a preacher was placed over convents and the reception of any more novices forbidden. About the middle of the sixteenth century the city had become almost Protestant; only the members of the Teutonic Knights remained faithful; they suffered many restrictions and the loss of their church. After the Diet of Augsburg, 1529, when most of the Protestant estates of the empire formed the League of Srnalkald, Nuremberg did not join. The Diet of Nuremberg, 1532, gave religious freedom at least for a time: Protestants were allowed to continue the innovations already introduced by them and all processes begun against them in the Imperial Chamber, on account of these innovations, were suspended, pending the settlement of the whole religious question by a great council to be called within the year. The aid against the Turks which the emperor and king desired was granted. By consent of the Lutherans the followers of Zwingli were exempted from the provisions of this peace. During this period Nuremberg remained as neutral as possible, so as not to quarrel with the emperor and yet to retain its whole creed of the Gospel; it therefore accepted the interim regulation. During the revolution of the princes against Charles V, in 1552, Nuremberg endeavored to purchase its neutrality by the payment of 100,000 gulden; but Margrave Albert Alcibiades, one of the leaders of the revolt, attacked the city without declaring war and forced it to conclude a disadvantageous peace. At the Religious Peace of Augsburg the possessions of the Protestants were confirmed by the emperor, their religious privileges extended and their independence from the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Bamberg affirmed while the secularizing of the possessions of the monasteries was approved.
The unsettled state of affairs in the first half of the sixteenth century, the revolution in commerce and trade due to the discovery of America and the circumnavigation of Africa, and the difficulties in trade caused by the territorial sovereigns, were responsible for the decline of the importance and affluence of the city. During the Thirty Years’ War it did not always succeed in preserving its policy of neutrality. Frequent quartering of Imperial, Swedish and League soldiers, war contributions, demands for arms, semi-compulsory presents to commanders of the warring armies and the cessation of trade, caused irreparable damage to the city. The population, which in 1620 had been over 45,000, sank to 25,000.
After the religious war Nuremberg remained aloof from the quarrels and affairs of the world at large; but contributions were demanded for the Austrian War of Succession and the Seven Years’ War, the former amounting to six and a half million guldens. Restrictions of imports and exports deprived the city of many markets for its manufactures, especially in Austria, Prussia and Bavaria, and the eastern and northern countries of Europe. The Bavarian elector, Charles Theodore, appropriated part of the land which had been obtained in the war of succession in Landshut and which ever since had been claimed by Bavaria; Prussia also claimed part of the territory of Nuremberg. Realizing its weakness, the city asked to be incorporated in the Kingdom of Prussia, but Frederick William II refused the request, fearing to offend Austria, Russia, and France. At the imperial diet in 1803 the independence of Nuremberg was affirmed. But on the signing of the Rheinbund (Rhenish Federation) July 12, 1806, the city was handed over to Bavaria September 8 Its population was then 25,200 and its public debt twelve and a half million guldens. After the fall of Napoleon its trade and commerce revived; the skill of its inhabitants together with its favorable situation soon rendered the city prosperous, particularly after its public debt had been acknowledged as a part of the Bavarian national debt. Incorporated in a Catholic country the city was compelled to refrain from further discrimination against the Catholics, who had been excluded from the rights of citizenship. Catholic services had been celebrated in the city by the priests of the order of the Teutonic Knights, often under great difficulties. Their possessions having been confiscated by the Bavarian government in 1806, they were given the Frauenkirche on the Market in 1809; in 1810 the first Catholic parish was established, which in 1818 numbered 1010 souls.
In 1817 the city was included in the department Rezatkreis (later Mittelfranken). The establishment of railways and the joining of Bavaria to the German Customs Union (Zollverein), commerce and industry opened the way to great prosperity. In 1852 there were 53,638 inhabitants, 46,441 Protestants and 6616 Catholics. Since that time it has become the most important industrial city of Bavaria and one of the most prosperous towns of southern Germany. In 1905 its population, including several incorporated suburbs, was 291,351-86,943 Catholics, 196,913 Protestants, 3738 Jews and 3766 members of other creeds; the present population is estimated at 340,000.
Nuremberg belongs to the Archdiocese of Bamberg and possesses notable churches. For want of means the building of churches could not keep pace with the growth of the community; this condition rendered difficult the work of ministry. The Catholic churches at present accommodate barely 8000 people, while the Catholics in the city number over 90,000. The most beautiful church is the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Dear Lady), built 1315-61 in Gothic style; it is one of the greatest ornaments of the city (Essenwein, “Die Liebfrauenkirche in Nurnberg”, Nuremberg, 1881). Other churches are, the St. Elisabethenkirche, a mighty edifice, in antique style, begun in 1784, secularized in 1806, purchased by the Catholics in 1885 (Schrotter, “Die Kirche der heiligen Elisabeth in Nurnberg”, Nuremberg, 1903); the St. Klarakirche, a Gothic structure, built in 1339, turned over to the Catholics in 1857; the Herz-Jesu-kirche, a basilica in early Gothic style, erected 1898-1902; the Walpurgiskapelle in the castle, dating from the thirteenth century; the temporary structures: St. Joseph (1897-8); St. Anthony (1899-1900); St. Karl Borromaus (1903-4); and a new church at present being erected.