Krefeld (krāˈfĕlt) [key], city (1994 pop. 249,560), North Rhine–Westphalia, W Germany, a port on the Rhine River. It is the center of the German silk and velvet industry, and is a major rail hub and textile center. Other manufactures include quality steels, machinery, clothing, chemicals, and dyes. Krefeld was chartered in 1373 and was an important linen-weaving center until it passed (1702) to Prussia. The silk industry, encouraged by a monopoly given to the city by Frederick II of Prussia, soon replaced linen weaving; and in the 20th cent. the manufacture of artificial silk became important. In 1929 the neighboring town of Uerdingen was incorporated into Krefeld. The city was heavily damaged in World War II. A former spelling is Crefeld.
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