Konstanz (kônˈstänts) [key], Fr. Constance, city (1994 pop. 75,980), Baden-Württemberg, SW Germany, on the Rhine River at the western end of Lake Constance (Bodensee), and near the Swiss border. Its industries include engineering and the manufacture of textiles, chemicals, and electrical equipment. The city is also a tourist center. Konstanz was founded as a Roman fort in the 4th cent. A.D. and became an episcopal see at the end of the 6th cent. The bishops became powerful and held large territories, including much of Baden-Württemberg and Switzerland, as princes of the Holy Roman Empire. In Konstanz in 1183, Emperor Frederick I recognized the Lombard League. Located on a trade route between Germany and Italy, Konstanz became a free imperial city in 1192. During the Council of Constance (1414–18), John Huss was burned at the stake. In 1531 the city, which had accepted the Reformation, joined the Schmalkaldic League. Emperor Charles V, after defeating the League, deprived Konstanz of its free imperial status and gave it to his brother, later Emperor Ferdinand I. Konstanz was in Austrian hands from 1548 until it was ceded (1805) to Baden. The bishopric was suppressed in 1821, and the diocese was abolished in 1827. Among the numerous historic buildings in Konstanz are the cathedral (11th cent.; additions 15th and 17th cent.); the Council building (1388); and a former Dominican convent (now a hotel), the birthplace (1838) of Graf von Zeppelin, the soldier and aviator. Konstanz is the seat of a university.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.