Kassel

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Kassel (German pronunciation: [ˈkasəl]; until 1926 officially Cassel)[2] is a town located on the Fulda in northern Hesse, Germany, one of the two origins of the Weser river. It is the administrative seat of the Kassel administrative region (Regierungsbezirk) and of the district (Kreis) of the same name. In 2007 the town had approximately 198,500 inhabitants and has a total area of 107 square kilometers (41 square miles).[citation needed] Kassel is the largest town in the north of Hesse (Nordhessen).

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History

The city's name is derived from the ancient Castellum Cattorum, a castle of the Chatti, a German tribe that had lived in the area since Roman times.

Kassel was first mentioned in 913 AD as the place where two deeds were signed by king Conrad I. The place was called Chasella and was a fortification at a bridge crossing the Fulda river. A deed from 1189 certifies that Kassel had city rights, but the date of their conveyance is not known.

In 1567, the landgraviate of Hesse, until then centered in Marburg, was divided among four sons, with Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel) becoming one of its successor states. Kassel was its capital and became a center of Calvinist Protestantism in Germany. Strong fortifications were built to protect the Protestant stronghold against Catholic enemies. In 1685, Kassel became a refuge for 1700 Huguenots who found shelter in the newly established borough of Oberneustadt. Landgrave Charles, who was responsible for this humanitarian act, also ordered the construction of the Oktagon and of the Orangerie. In the late 18th century, Hesse-Kassel became infamous for selling mercenaries (Hessians) to the British crown to help suppress the American Revolution and to finance the construction of palaces and the landgrave's opulent lifestyle.

In the early 19th century, the Brothers Grimm lived in Kassel and collected and wrote most of their fairy tales there. At that time, around 1803, the landgravate was elevated to a principality and its ruler to Prince-elector. Shortly after, it was annexed by Napoleon and in 1807 it became the capital of the short-lived Kingdom of Westphalia under Napoleon's brother Jérôme. The electorate was restored in 1813.

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