The history of Nordhausen

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King Henry I built a castle in Nordhausen and named it Northusia in around 910. The first detailed description of Nordhausen was signed and dated May 13, 927. Queen Mathilde, the wife of King Henry I, established the Nordhausen Religious Foundation for women, a convent, in 961. In 1180, Henry the Lion destroyed Nordhausen, including the castle and the convent. A charter signed by Emperor Frederick II on July 27, 1220 declared Nordhausen an Imperial or Free Town (Freie Reichsstadt) of the Reich. Nordhausen developed into a town in the medieval sense, and the patricians formed a council. A democratic Nordhausen charter, dated 1351, included 18 patricians and 6 craftsmen in the council. The town had grown to about 3,000 residents by 1350.

The incorporation of the New Town (Neustadt) in 1365 was significant. In 1375, the burghers of Nordhausen discharged the aldermen, and as a result, the town had to adopt a new civic charter. From 1430 to 1432, the town was a member of the Hanseatic League. The visits of Martin Luther in 1516 and Thomas Müntzer in early 1522, as well as the popular uprising in 1524/1525, brought unrest to Nordhausen. On the advice of the council in 1524, the Reformation was established in Nordhausen. Major town fires in 1234, 1540, and 1612, the civil unrest of 1524/1525, the plague in 1348, the Thirty Years' War which raged around Nordhausen from 1636 to 1639, and natural disasters all left their mark on Nordhausen.

In 1705, the Prussians occupied Nordhausen, but after ten years of occupation, Nordhausen paid 50,000 taler to regain its freedom. In 1715, Nordhausen was once again a Free Town (Freie Reichsstadt), but it lost its independence a second time in 1802 when the town was given to Prussia. The "Nordhausen Korn" (schnaps) produced since 1507 and the Nordhausen chewing tobacco produced since 1817 made Nordhausen a prosperous and wealthy city. By 1802, the population had grown to 8,365 people.

In April 1945, shortly before the end of World War II, 78% of Nordhausen was destroyed by British bombing, in which around 8,800 people died. On April 11, the Americans occupied the city, and on July 2, the Red Army took over. Nordhausen has since been rebuilt and, particularly since German reunification, has had its ancient city center restored.

Nordhausen was part of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) from 1949-1990 and was administered within the Bezirk Erfurt. After the German reunification of 1990, Nordhausen was made part of the recreated state of Thuringia.