Place:Bonn, Rheinland, Preußen, Germany

Watchers
NameBonn
Alt namesBonnasource: Times Atlas of World History (1993) p 338
Bonnburgsource: Encyclopædia Britannica (1988) II, 364
Castra Bonnensiasource: Canby, Historic Places (1984) I, 112
TypeIndependent City
Coordinates50.733°N 7.1°E
Located inRheinland, Preußen, Germany
Also located inCologne, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany    
Contained Places
Unknown
Keldenich
Merten
Waldorf
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The Federal City of Bonn is a city on the banks of the Rhine in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, with a population of over 300,000. About south-southeast of Cologne, Bonn is in the southernmost part of the Rhine-Ruhr region, Germany's largest metropolitan area, with over 11 million inhabitants. It is famously known as the birthplace of Ludwig Van Beethoven in 1770. Beethoven spent his childhood and teenage years in Bonn.

Because of a political compromise following German reunification, the German federal government maintains a substantial presence in Bonn, and the city is considered a second, unofficial, capital of the country. Bonn is the secondary seat of the President, the Chancellor, the Bundesrat and the primary seat of six federal government ministries and twenty federal authorities. The unique title of Federal City reflects its important political status within Germany. As the city of Weimar in eastern Germany has given its name to Germany's interwar period democracy, the Weimar Republic, so too has Bonn given its name to the historical name of the Bonn Republic for the Cold War era Federal Republic of Germany.

Founded in the 1st century BC as a Roman settlement, Bonn is one of Germany's oldest cities. From 1597 to 1794, Bonn was the capital of the Electorate of Cologne, and residence of the Archbishops and Prince-electors of Cologne. From 1949 to 1990, Bonn was the capital of West Germany, and Germany's present constitution, the Basic Law, was declared in the city in 1949. Berlin was re-affirmed by the Bundestag in Bonn as the capital of Germany, though due to the country's division a seat of government was maintained there solely by the German Democratic Republic, and only in the eastern half. From 1990 to 1999, Bonn served as the seat of government – but no longer capital – of reunited Germany.

The headquarters of Deutsche Post DHL and Deutsche Telekom, both DAX-listed corporations, are in Bonn. The city is home to the University of Bonn and a total of 20 United Nations institutions, including headquarters for Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the UN Volunteers programme.

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Founding and Roman times

The history of the city dates back to Roman times. In about 12 BC, the Roman army appears to have stationed a small unit in what is presently the historical centre of the city. Even earlier, the army had resettled members of a Germanic tribal group allied with Rome, the Ubii, in Bonn. The Latin name for that settlement, "Bonna", may stem from the original population of this and many other settlements in the area, the Eburoni. The Eburoni were members of a large tribal coalition effectively wiped out during the final phase of Caesar's War in Gaul. After several decades, the army gave up the small camp linked to the Ubii-settlement. During the 1st century AD, the army then chose a site to the north of the emerging town in what is now the section of Bonn-Castell to build a large military installation dubbed Castra Bonnensis, i.e., literally, "Fort Bonn". Initially built from wood, the fort was eventually rebuilt in stone. With additions, changes and new construction, the fort remained in use by the army into the waning days of the Western Roman Empire, possibly the mid-5th century. The structures themselves remained standing well into the Middle Ages, when they were called the Bonnburg. They were used by Frankish kings until they fell into disuse. Eventually, much of the building materials seem to have been re-used in the construction of Bonn's 13th-century city wall. The Sterntor (star gate) in the city center is a reconstruction using the last remnants of the medieval city wall.

To date, Bonn's Roman fort remains the largest fort of its type known from the ancient world, i.e. a fort built to accommodate a full-strength Imperial Legion and its auxiliaries. The fort covered an area of approximately . Between its walls it contained a dense grid of streets and a multitude of buildings, ranging from spacious headquarters and large officers' quarters to barracks, stables and a military jail. Among the legions stationed in Bonn, the "1st", i.e. the Prima Legio Minervia, seems to have served here the longest. Units of the Bonn legion were deployed to theatres of war ranging from modern-day Algeria to what is now the Russian republic of Chechnya.

The chief Roman road linking the provincial capitals of Cologne and Mainz cut right through the fort where it joined the fort's main road (now, Römerstraße). Once past the South Gate, the Cologne–Mainz road continued along what are now streets named Belderberg, Adenauerallee et al. On both sides of the road, the local settlement, Bonna, grew into a sizeable Roman town. Bonn is shown on the 4th century Peutinger Map.

In late antiquity, much of the town seems to have been destroyed by marauding invaders. The remaining civilian population then took refuge inside the fort along with the remnants of the troops stationed here. During the final decades of Imperial rule, the troops were supplied by Franci chieftains employed by the Roman administration. When the end came, these troops simply shifted their allegiances to the new barbarian rulers, the Kingdom of the Franks. From the fort, the Bonnburg, as well as from a new medieval settlement to the South centered around what later became the minster, grew the medieval city of Bonn. Local legends arose from this period that the name of the village came from Saint Boniface via Vulgar Latin *Bonnifatia, but this proved to be a myth.

Middle Ages and Early Modern times

Between the 11th and 13th centuries, the Romanesque style Bonn Minster was built, and in 1597 Bonn became the seat of the Archdiocese of Cologne. The city gained more influence and grew considerably. The city was subject to a major bombardment during the Siege of Bonn in 1689. The elector Clemens August (ruled 1723–1761) ordered the construction of a series of Baroque buildings which still give the city its character. Another memorable ruler was Max Franz (ruled 1784–1794), who founded the university and the spa quarter of Bad Godesberg. In addition he was a patron of the young Ludwig van Beethoven, who was born in Bonn in 1770; the elector financed the composer's first journey to Vienna.

In 1794, the city was seized by French troops, becoming a part of the First French Empire. In 1815 following the Napoleonic Wars, Bonn became part of the Kingdom of Prussia. Administered within the Prussian Rhine Province, the city became part of the German Empire in 1871 during the Prussian-led unification of Germany. Bonn was of little relevance in these years.

20th century and time as the capital of West Germany

During the Second World War, Bonn acquired military significance because of its strategic location on the Rhine, which formed a natural barrier to easy penetration into the German heartland from the west. The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Bonn on 7 March 1945, and the US 1st Infantry Division captured the city during the battle of 8–9 March 1945.

Following the Second World War, Bonn was in the British zone of occupation. Following the advocacy of West Germany's first chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, a former Cologne Mayor and a native of that area, Bonn became the de facto capital, officially designated the "temporary seat of the Federal institutions," of the newly formed Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. However, the Bundestag, seated in Bonn's Bundeshaus, affirmed Berlin's status as the German capital. Bonn was chosen as the provisional capital and seat of government despite the fact that Frankfurt already had most of the required facilities and using Bonn was estimated to be 95 million DM more expensive than using Frankfurt. However, Adenauer and other prominent politicians intended to make Berlin the capital of the reunified Germany, and felt that locating the capital in a major city like Frankfurt or Hamburg would imply a permanent capital and weaken support in West Germany for reunification.

In 1949, the Parliamentary Council in Bonn drafted and adopted the current German constitution, the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany. As the political centre of West Germany, Bonn saw six Chancellors and six Presidents of the Federal Republic of Germany. Bonn's time as the capital of West Germany is commonly referred to as the Bonn Republic, in contrast to the Berlin Republic which followed reunification in 1990.

After German reunification in 1990

German reunification in 1990 made Berlin the nominal capital of Germany again. This decision did not mandate that the republic's political institutions would also move. While some argued for the seat of government to move to Berlin, others advocated leaving it in Bonn — a situation roughly analogous to that of the Netherlands, where Amsterdam is the capital but the Hague is the seat of government. Berlin's previous history as united Germany's capital was strongly connected with the German Empire, the Weimar Republic and more ominously with Nazi Germany. It was felt that a new peacefully united Germany should not be governed from a city connected to such overtones of war. Additionally, Bonn was closer to Brussels, headquarters of the European Economic Community. Former chancellor Willy Brandt caused considerable offence to the Western Allies during the debate by stating that France wouldn't have kept the seat of government at Vichy after Liberation.

The heated debate that resulted was settled by the Bundestag (Germany's parliament) only on 20 June 1991. By a vote of 338–320, the Bundestag voted to move the seat of government to Berlin. The vote broke largely along regional lines, with legislators from the south and west favouring Bonn and legislators from the north and east voting for Berlin. It also broke along generational lines as well; older legislators with memories of Berlin's past glory favoured Berlin, while younger legislators favoured Bonn. Ultimately, the votes of the eastern German legislators tipped the balance in favour of Berlin.

From 1990 to 1999, Bonn served as the seat of government of reunited Germany. In recognition of its former status as German capital, it holds the name of Federal City. Bonn currently shares the status of Germany's seat of government with Berlin, with the President, the Chancellor and many government ministries maintaining substantial presences in Bonn. Over 8,000 of the 18,000 federal officials remain in Bonn.[1] A total of 19 United Nations (UN) institutions operate from Bonn today.

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