Kiel kēl [key], city (1994 pop. 248,930), capital of Schleswig-Holstein, N central Germany, on Kiel Bay, an arm of the Baltic Sea. Situated at the head of the Kiel Canal, the city was Germany's chief naval base from 1871 to 1945, when the naval installations were dismantled. Kiel is now a shipping and industrial center; the major industries are shipbuilding and engineering. There are large shipyards and factories that manufacture textiles, metal products, and printed materials. It is the largest and economically the most important city in Schleswig-Holstein. Chartered in 1242, Kiel joined the Hanseatic League in 1284. It became the residence of the dukes of Holstein. Kiel passed to Denmark in 1773; with Holstein it was annexed by Prussia in 1866. The sailors' mutiny that began at Kiel at the end of World War I touched off a socialist revolution in Germany. In World War II the city suffered severe damage from Allied air attacks. The city is the seat of a university (founded 1665) and several museums, including the oldest art gallery and botanical gardens in Germany. The sailing and yachting events of the 1972 Olympic summer games were held there. The city holds a yearly regatta that draws visitors from around the world.

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