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Worms

Worms (vôrms) [key], city (1994 pop. 79,155), Rhineland-Palatinate, SW Germany, on the Rhine River. It is an industrial city and a leading wine trade center. Manufactures include leather goods, textiles, electrical appliances, paints, ceramics, chemicals, and machinery. One of the most venerable historic centers of Europe, Worms was originally a Celtic settlement called Borbetomagus. It was captured and fortified by the Romans under Drusus in 14 B.C. and was known as Civitas Vangionum. It became the capital of the first kingdom of Burgundy in the 5th cent.; much of the Nibelungenlied is set in Worms at the Burgundian court. The city was an early episcopal see, and its bishops ruled some territory on the right bank of the Rhine as princes of the Holy Roman Empire until 1803, when the bishopric was secularized and passed to Hesse-Darmstadt. The city itself, however, early escaped episcopal control; in 1156, it was created a free imperial city. Numerous important meetings, including about 100 imperial diets, were held there. The best known of these meetings were the episcopal synod of 1076, which declared Pope Gregory VII deposed; the conference that led in 1122 to the Concordat of Worms; the diet of 1495 (see Maximilian I, emperor); and the diet of 1521 (see Worms, Diet of). The City suffered heavy damage in the Thirty Years War (1618–48). It was annexed by France in 1797 and passed to Hesse-Darmstadt at the Congress of Vienna (1814–15). Worms was occupied (1918–30) by French troops after World War I. The city was more than half destroyed in World War II, but was reconstructed after 1945. Worms had one of the oldest Jewish settlements in Germany. Its Romanesque-Gothic synagogue, founded in 1034, was destroyed by the Nazis in 1938 but was rebuilt after the war and reopened in 1961. Of note is the city's Romanesque cathedral (11th–12th cent.). Near Worms is the Liebfrauenkirche (13th–15th cent.), a church surrounded by vineyards, which gave its name to the area's noted white wine, Liebfraumilch.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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See more Encyclopedia articles on: German Political Geography


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