The history of Nordhausen

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About 910 King Heinrich I. built a castle and named it Northusia. The first detailed description was signed and dated May 13, 927. Mathilde the wife of King Heinrich I., established the Nordhausen Religious Foundation for women, a convent in 961. In 1180 Heinrich der Loewe (the Lion) destroyed Nordhausen, including the Castle, and the Convent. A Charter signed by Emperor Friedrich II on July 27 1220 declared Nordhausen an Imperial or Free Town (Freie Reichsstadt) of the Reich. Nordhausen developed to a town in the Mediaeval sense, and the Patrician formed a council. A Democratic Nordhaeuser Charter, dated 1351, included in the council 18 Patricians and 6 Craftsman. The town had grown by 1350 to about 3,000 residents.

Significant is the incorporation of the New Town (Neustadt) in 1365. In 1375 the Burghers of Nordhausen discharged the Aldermen, and as a result of this action the Town had to adopt a new civic Charter. From 1430 to 1432 the town was a member of the Hanseatic league. The Visit of Martin Luther in 1516 and Thomas Muentzer in the beginning of 1522, and also the popular uprising in 1524/1525 brought unrest to Nordhausen.

On the advice of the Council in 1524, the Reformation was established in Nordhausen. Huge Town Fires in 1234, 1540 and 1612, the civil unrest of 1524/1525, the pestilence in 1348, the Thirty Years War which raged around Nordhausen from 1636 to 1639 and natural disasters left their mark on Nordhausen.

In 1705 the Prussians occupied Nordhausen, but after 10 years of occupation Nordhausen paid 50,000 Taler to once again establish their freedom.

In 1715 Nordhausen was once again a Free Town (Freie Reichsstadt), but lost its independence a second time in 1802, when the town was given to Prussia. The "Nordhaeuser Korn" (Schnaps) produced since 1507 and the Nordhaeuser Chewing Tobacco produced since 1817 made Nordhausen a prosperous and wealthy City. By 1802 the population had grown to 8,365 people.

In April of 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 11 April the Americans occupied the city, and on 2 July the Red Army took over. It has since been rebuilt, and, primarily since German reunification, had its ancient city center restored.

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