Frankfurt am Main, or Frankfurt, is the most populous city in the state of Hesse in Germany. The city is located on the River Main. Roman settlements were established in the area as early as the first century. The Alemanni and Franks lived in the area and by 794 Charlemagne had presided over an imperial assembly and church synod where “Franconofurd”(Frankfurt) was first mentioned. Frankfurt became one of the most important cities in the Holy Roman Empire. From 855, German emperors and kings were crowned in Aachen, but after 1562 emperors and kings were crowned in Frankfurt. Maximilian II was the first to be crowned in Frankfurt. The tradition ended in 1792 with Franz II. In 1372, Frankfurt became an Imperial Free City. During the Thirty Years’ War, Frankfurt managed to remain neutral. The city was devastated by the bubonic plague that occurred at the same time of the war. After the Thirty Years’ War, the city regained its wealth.
After the French Revolution, Frankfurt was occupied and bombed several times by French forces. Frankfurt remained a free city until the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire in 1805/06. From that point, Frankfurt became a part of the principality of Aschaffenburg under the Fürstprimas Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg and was incorporated into the confederation of the Rhine. Dalberg adopted the title of a Grand Duke of Frankfurt in 1810. The Congress of Vienna dissolved the grand-duchy after Napoleon’s defeat and abdication and Frankfurt became a sovereign state. The city entered the German Confederation as a free city. After the Franco-Prussian War in 1866, Frankfurt lost its independence as Prussia annexed several smaller states. Frankfurt was incorporated into Hesse-Nassau.
In 1914, citizens founded the University of Frankfurt, which would later be renamed Goethe University Frankfurt. Frankfurt was occupied from April 6 to May 17, 1920 by French troops after the Ruhr uprising. In 1924, Ludwig Landmann, the first Jewish mayor of the city, was elected. He led a significant expansion during his time in office, but during the Third Reich the synagogues in the city were demolished. During World War II, Frankfurt was severely bombed and approximately 5,500 citizens were killed. Frankfurt became a ground battlefield on March 26, 1945 as the Allies advanced into Germany and were forced to take the city. The United States 5th Infantry Division and the 6th Armored Division captured Frankfurt after several days of fighting, and it was declared largely secure on March 29, 1945. After World War II ended Frankfurt became a part of the newly founded state of Hesse, which consisted of the Prussian Hesse provinces and Hesse-Darmstadt. Frankfurt was a part of the American Zone of Occupation of Germany. Originally, Frankfurt had been chosen to become the provisional capital city for West Germany in 1949, but Bonn was chosen instead. In the 1960s, Frankfurt reemerged as Germany’s transportation center due to Frankfurt Airport and in the 1970s the city built one of Europe’s most efficient underground transportation systems.
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