Munich: History

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Munich History

Munich has a fascinating history which dates back to the settlement Munichen, which was founded in 1158 by Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony, and half a century later was granted city status and fortified. In 1327, the entire city was destroyed by fire but was successfully later rebuilt by Louis IV, the ruling Holy Roman Emperor of the time. In 1632 the city was brought under the control of Gustav II Adolph of Sweden as part of the Thirty Years' War, but in 1705 it was recaptured and brought under Habsburg rule. The city's first academic institution, the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, was founded in the city in 1759.

The city at this time was growing at a rapid rate and was one of the largest cities in mainland Europe. In 1806, it became the capital of the Bavarian monarchical state, with the state's parliament (the Landtag) sitting in the city along with the new archdiocese of Munich and Freising. Twenty years later another prestigious educational institution, the Landshut University, based itself in Munich.

In 1882 electric lighting was introduced to Munich and the city hosted Germany's first exhibition of electricity. Nineteen years later the Hellabrunn Zoo opened in the city. After World War I, the city was at the centre of the unrest that saw Adolf Hitler and National Socialism rise to power in Germany. In 1923 Hitler and his supporters, concentrated in his home town of Munich, staged the Beer Hall Putsch, an attempt at overthrowing the government of the time and gaining power for himself. The revolt was, however, a failure, resulting in Hitler's arrest and a crippled Nazi Party. However, the city became one of the strongholds of the Nazis again, who took power in Germany in 1933.

In 1938, the Munich Agreement was signed in the city, ceding the Sudetenland, previously a part of Czechoslovakia, to Germany, A year later, in 1939, an assassination attempt against Hitler took place in Munich, but failed. The city was very heavily damaged during World War II and, after American occupation in 1945, was rebuilt to a meticulous masterplan.

Today, Munich is one of the most visited cities in Germany, and is the headquarters of German company Allianz AG, the car manufacturer BMW and the technology firm Siemens AG.