Ulm

Ulm (ŏlm) [key], city (1994 pop. 114,839), Baden-Württemberg, S Germany, on the Danube (Donau) River. It is an active river port, rail junction, and industrial center. Manufactures include motor vehicles, machinery, electrical equipment, and diversified, light manufacturing. Known in 854, Ulm became (14th cent.) a free imperial city in Swabia and ruled a considerable territory N of the Danube. It was one of the greatest commercial centers and one of the most powerful cities of the medieval empire, reaching its zenith in the 15th cent. Changes in international trade routes during the 15th and 16th cent. and the religious wars in Germany (e.g., the Thirty Years War, 1618–48) caused its decline. Ulm accepted the Reformation c.1530 and was a member of the Schmalkaldic League. The city and its territory were awarded to Bavaria in 1803 at the Diet of Regensburg, but were transferred to Württemberg in 1810. Bavaria built Neu-Ulm on the opposite shore of the Danube, which forms the state boundary there. The industrial development of Ulm dates from the 19th cent. In World War II more than half of the city, including many old and historic buildings, was destroyed; most of the major historic buildings have since been restored. The famous Gothic minster, begun in 1377, is the largest Gothic church in Germany after the Cologne Cathedral and has one of the world's highest church towers (528 ft/161 m). The city has a university and several museums. Albert Einstein was born (1879) in Ulm.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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