Strasbourg History

Event though Strasbourg was first populated 600.000 years ago, in the Bronze Age, the first permanent settlement was founded around 1300 BC by the Celts. The Romans, under Nero Claudius Drusus, named it Argentatorum. The city developed only under Traianus.

The nowadays name of the city of Strasbourg (originally spelled Strazburg) was given in 842 by the Oaths of Strasbourg. The Oaths of Strasbourg are also the mark of the fall of the Carolingian Empire. Almost three hundred years later, the construction of the Notre Dame Cathedral started off, an edifice which became the very symbol of the city of Strasbourg.

In 1518, the Dancing Plague struck Strasbourg; therefore, more than 400 people danced to their death.

Two years later, Protestants embraced Lutheranism. Strasbourg became an important humanist center, the city of Strasbourg embracing the religious teachings of Martin Luther.

Due to Gutenberg’s invention, the first printing offices where established in Strasbourg, which led to the printing of the first newspaper, in 1605. The newspaper was a weekly paper written by German reporters, covering topics concerning the most important cities of Europe.

Although the city of Strasbourg remained neutral during the Thirty Years’ War, King Louis XIV of France annexed it in 1861. The annexation was recognized by the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697.

Even though that period is well known for its religious intolerance, being defined by the driving of many Protestants away from France, this didn’t apply to Strasbourg. The Cathedral was restored to the Catholics, but the German Lutheran University persisted many years from that moment. The most famous students of the Lutheran University were Goethe and Herder.

In the 19th century, Strasbourg was bombarded by the Prussian army, most of its museums, such as the Museum of Fine Arts, being destroyed. After the end of the war, the city was annexed to the new German Empire, being rebuilt.

After World War I, Alsace-Lorraine declared itself an independent Republic, the status changing in a few years, when the French troops occupied it. The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 officially reattributed Strasbourg to France.

During the Second World War, Strasbourg remained for ten months completely empty, being evacuated by the German troops. The final important event in the history of Strasbourg happened in 1949, when the city was chosen to represent the seat of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament being also settled in 1952.