Rügen (rüˈgən) [key], island (1994 est. pop. 85,000), 358 sq mi (927 sq km), Mecklenburg–West Pomerania, NE Germany, in the Baltic Sea, separated from the mainland by the Strelasund. The chief towns are Bergen and Sassnitz, the largest port and the terminus of a train ferry to Trelleborg, Sweden. The island is also connected by a 1.5-mile road and rail bridge to the German mainland. Agriculture and herring fishing are the main occupations on Rügen. There are many popular seaside resorts; tourism has become a popular industry. The famous chalk cliffs rise on the eastern shore. Rügen was conquered by Denmark in 1168, passed to Pomerania in 1325, and shared the history of Swedish Pomerania from 1648 to 1815, when the island was taken by Prussia. It is the largest island of Germany.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.