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Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, until 1936 and from 1945 to 1950 Neustadt an der Haardt, is an independent city in Rhineland-Palatinate and part of the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region. It is one of the ten largest cities in the state. The city in the Palatinate on the German Wine Route is one of the centers of German viticulture and annually organizes the German Wine Festival, at which the German Wine Queen is usually chosen. Neustadt is also known for the Hambacher Schloss, located in the urban area, the scene of the Hambach Festival of the German democracy movement in 1832.
The oldest traces of settlement and finds indicate that the Celts already lived in the area of today's city. Celtic ramparts, clay pots, coins and weapons have been preserved that are dated to around 150 BC. Presumably around the year 20 AD, the Romans took possession of the area. Around 400 the conquest of land by the Alemanni took place, around 500 these were in turn replaced by the likewise Germanic Franks.
There is no precise information about the centuries after the end of Roman rule. So much is certain, however, that there were already villages before the actual “Neustadt”: Winzingen, now part of the city, was mentioned in a document in 774. The districts of Mußbach, Lachen-Speyerdorf, Geinsheim, Duttweiler and Hambach are also considerably older than today's core town. In general, one can say that the history of Neustadt is closely tied to the history of the Palatinate.
Just a few decades after the town was founded in the early 13th century, Neustadt received city rights on April 6, 1275 based on the model of Speyer:
“We, Rudolf, by God's grace Roman King, at all times multiples of the empire, offer all the faithful to the Roman Empire, who look at this letter, Our grace and all the best.
Because We consider ourselves to be called to this purpose by the highest judge to be the king of kings and placed on the summit of royal dignity, that we consider everything that serves the common good and that of all those who are faithful to the kingdom, wherever it may be , should promote generously and carry out with zeal and effectiveness, so in view of this we have found ourselves most moved, the requests of Our dear loyal ones, the citizens of Neustadt, subjects of Our beloved son Ludwig, Count Palatine near the Rhine, Dukes in Bavaria, who ask them humbly submitted to Us their right and liberty to receive graciously; in such a way that We have freed the aforementioned city from the highest royal power according to the present letter by freely granting the citizens of the same city all the rights and freedoms that the city of Speyer enjoys ... "
- King Rudolf von Habsburg in the award document from 1275
In the late Middle Ages Neustadt was divided into four districts, the names of which provide information about the status and occupations of the relevant residents or important locations:
The tanners worked in the Lauerviertel (from "Loheviertel") close to the Speyerbach. The Kesselringviertel was named after an influential family from the 14th century. In the women's quarter there were church properties that were under the patronage of Our Lady. The Jewish community lived in the Jewish quarter.
Towards the end of the 15th century, further quarters were added outside the fortifications, the Stadtgasserviertel, the Kirschgartenviertel and the Egypt suburb.
During the Peasants' War on May 6, 1525, the rebellious peasants were able to enter the city without resistance.
During the Reformation, Ludwig the Peaceful, who tried to find a balance, ruled the Palatinate until 1544. His religious edict of 1538 allowed Lutherans to preach and to take chalice communion. His brother and successor Frederick the Wise reigned just as compensatory. Only their successors became strict Calvinists. When Friedrich III. died in 1576, he decreed in his will that his Lutheran son Ludwig VI. the offices of Lautern (Kaiserslautern) and Neustadt should inherit, but rather his Calvinist brother Johann Casimir.
Count Palatine Johann Casimir founded the Neustadt University in 1578, the Casimirianum named after him, because his Lutheran brother Ludwig in Heidelberg cleared the University of Calvinists; Johann Casimir became involved as an advocate for the Reformed Faith and offered asylum to the expelled professors and students. When he moved to Heidelberg in 1583 in order to take over the reign of his brother's still underage son after his brother's death, Neustadt's seat of the university ended for a short time.
In the 17th century, religious disputes were sometimes carried
out at gunpoint. Neustadt was conquered six times during the Thirty
Years War alone: in 1622 by the Spaniards, 1631 by the Swedes,
1635 by the imperial troops, 1638 by the troops of Duke Bernhard von
Weimar, 1639 by the French under Field Marshal Henri II. D'Orleans,
Duke of Longueville, again from the French in 1644. The denomination
changed with each occupier.
In contrast to many other Palatinate cities, there was almost no war damage in Neustadt during the War of the Palatinate Succession (1689–1697).
Until the 17th century, as evidenced by Merian's Topographia Germaniae (Topographia Palatinatus Rheni et Vicinarum Regionum, 1645), the city was known for its abundance of fish (trout, gobies; also crabs) and its fish enclosures. The Neustädter town clerk Johannes Ritterßhofen wrote or edited a small treatise on the art of catching fish before 1494, which was first published by Jakob Köbel in Heidelberg in 1493 and reprinted in Augsburg in 1518.
18th and 19th centuries
In 1744 of the city's 2,496 inhabitants, 1,676 were Reformed, 620 were Catholics and 200 were Lutherans. Jews were not included in these statistics.
In the 18th century, the city lost its medieval appearance, as the city walls, which had become superfluous due to the war, were torn down. After the state road to Mannheim was built in 1722 (today the B 38), the northern city wall was broken through in 1723.
The entire left bank of the Rhine was occupied by French troops after 1792 and integrated into the French state in 1798. Neustadt became the administrative seat (chef-lieu) of a canton in the Donnersberg department. A Neustadt peace court was set up as part of the judicial organization of the Left Bank of the Rhine. Napoleon passed the city in 1808 on his way back from Erfurt to Paris and was ceremoniously received. In 1813, parts of Napoleon's army, defeated in the Battle of Leipzig, marched through the city.
After the Congress of Vienna held in 1815, Neustadt first came to Austria and a year later on the basis of a state treaty to the Kingdom of Bavaria, with which it remained until the end of the Second World War; it belonged to the Rhine district, which from 1837 was called Pfalz or Rheinpfalz. When it was reorganized in 1818, the city became the seat of a regional commissioner (called district office from 1862 and district from 1939). In 1832 the Hambach Festival took place near Neustadt. In 1847 Neustadt received a rail connection from the Palatinate Ludwig Railway.
In 1920 the city, as well as six other Palatinate cities, left its district office and became a district direct city.
Since 1927 Neustadt was the seat of the Gauleitung of the NSDAP. During the Nazi era, the city retained this function de facto until 1945, although in 1939 Kaiserslautern was proclaimed the "Gau capital" and the state authority, which was formed in 1940 from the Palatinate and Saarland administrations in Speyer and Saarbrücken and headed by the Gauleiter in personal union , was also not based in Neustadt. In March 1945 Neustadt was occupied by US troops as part of Operation Undertone.
The city became part of the French occupation zone after World War II. The establishment of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate was ordered on August 30, 1946 as the last state in the western occupation zones by regulation number 57 of the French military government under General Marie-Pierre Kœnig. It was initially referred to as the “Rhineland-Palatinate Land” or “Land Rheinpfalz”; the name Rhineland-Palatinate was only established with the constitution of May 18, 1947.
The city received its function as the regular Palatinate administrative seat on September 8, 1945; in 1946 it became the seat of the Palatinate administrative district.
In the course of the first Rhineland-Palatinate administrative reform on June 7, 1969, the previously independent communities of Geinsheim, Gimmeldingen, Haardt an der Weinstrasse, Hambach an der Weinstrasse, Königsbach an der Weinstrasse, Lachen-Speyerdorf, Mußbach an der Weinstrasse and Diedesfeld were incorporated. Duttweiler followed on March 16, 1974.