Friedrichshafen

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Friedrichshafen is a town on the northern side of Lake Constance (the Bodensee) in Southern Germany, near the borders with Switzerland and Austria. It is the district capital (Kreisstadt) of the Bodensee district (Landeskreis) in the federal state (Bundesland) of Baden-Württemberg. Friedrichshafen has a population of c. 58,000.

Contents

History

19th century

Friedrichshafen was established in 1811 as part of the new Kingdom of Württemberg, an ally of France during the Napoleonic Wars. It was named for King Frederick I of Württemberg, who privileged it as a free port and transshipment point for the kingdom's Swiss trade. Friedrichshafen was created from the former city of Buchhorn, whose coat of arms it adopted. The new city also incorporated the former village of Hofen, whose monastery was refurbished to serve as the summer residence of the Württemberger kings.

King William I continued improving the city, including the purchase of the steamship Wilhelm. Ministers and senior officials built villas around the royal castle, and many foreign tourists visited the city as well, including Tsar Alexander II of Russia. The first track laid by the Royal Württemberg State Railways connected the port to Ravensburg in 1847. Heilbronn was connected in 1850, and a ferry to Romanshorn, Switzerland, began operating in 1869. Despite their previous opposition to Prussia, under the federal structure of the German Empire, Württemberg and Friedrichshafen continued to enjoy some special privileges following their incorporation into Germany following the Franco-Prussian War.

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