Bremen ~ City-state


BREMEN ~ City-state.

See also BREMEN ~Archbishopric

Bremen 012

Bremen 012 (Photo credit: nephthys51)

City and port on the estuary of the Weser in northwestern Germany, and once the seat of an Archbishop.   It is today a Land in the Federal Republic of Germany.

The city was one of the most powerful in later medieval Germany, being a member of the Hanseatic League for a few years in the 1280s and permanently from 1358.  It had become virtually free of the domination of the Archbishop during the 13th century, but it was not an Imperial Free City at the time of its greatest wealth.

That status came in 1646.   The peace negotiations to end the Thirty Years’ War made it clear that Sweden wished to acquire the Archbishopric of Bremen and also the Bishopric of Verden higher up the Weser.   By making Bremen a Free City the Emperor foiled Swedish hopes of obtaining the city.   Although the Swedes tried to seize Bremen in 1666, they failed.   The city of Bremen was a member of the Lower Saxon Circle.

In 1803 Bremen escaped mediatisation, though it was later occupied by French troops and in 1810 annexed to the French Empire, where it became the capital of the Department of the Bouches-du-Weser.    Its independence was restored, and in 1815 the city of Bremen became a member of the German Confederation, in 1866 of the North German Confederation and hence of the German Empire in 1871.    It remained a Free State in the Weimar Republic.

In 1945 it and some of the land around it formed part of the American Zone of Germany, the rest of which lay in central and southern Germany, giving the Americans a seaport under their full control.   Bremen’s outlier port of Bremerhaven, so important to the Americans at that time, had become a detached part of the City in 1827.

Bremen became a Land in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949 as the Freie Hansestadt Bremen.   It is the smallest of the Länder in both area and population.   The Bürgerschaft, like the equivalent elected assemblies in the other two city-states (Stadtstaaten), combines the functions of  Land parliament and city council, but in Bremen’s case, the detached area of Bremerhaven has its own council for local matters, for which there is no parallel in either Berlin or Hamburg.

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