Augsburg (ouksˈbŏrk) [key], city (1994 pop. 264,764), capital of Swabia, Bavaria, S central Germany, a major industrial center on the Lech River. The major industries include the manufacture of textiles, clothing, machinery, computers, electronic equipment, motor vehicles, and airplanes. The city is an important rail junction.
Augsburg was founded (c.14 B.C.) by Augustus as a Roman garrison called Augusta Vindelicorum. In early medieval times it was controlled by the Frankish kings. It was made a free imperial city in 1276 and was later a powerful member of various Swabian leagues, including the Swabian League of 1488–1534.
Augsburg was one of Europe's most important commercial and banking centers in the 15th and 16th cent. and was a rallying point of German science and art. The city was the home of the Fugger and Welser families and was the birthplace of Hans Holbein the Elder, Hans Holbein the Younger, and Hans Burgkmair. Several important agreements, including the Augsburg Confession (1530), were concluded there during the Reformation. Augsburg suffered greatly in the Thirty Years War (1618–48). In 1806 it became part of Bavaria.
Augsburg's many noteworthy structures include the cathedral (begun in the 9th cent.); the 16th-century Fuggerei, an enclosed settlement for poor persons founded by the Fugger family; and the 17th-century town hall. Bertolt Brecht was born in Augsburg.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.