Schwerin shvārēn´ [key], city (1994 pop. 122,189), capital of Mecklenburg–West Pomerania state, N central Germany, on Schwerin Lake. It is the commercial, industrial, and transportation center of an agricultural and dairying region. Manufactures include chemicals, pharmaceuticals, wood products, agricultural machinery, plastics, cables, cranes, ceramics, and tobacco products. Originally a Wendish settlement, Schwerin was chartered in 1161 by Henry the Lion and shortly thereafter became an episcopal see. It was the capital of the county of Schwerin and with it passed to Mecklenburg (see Mecklenburg–West Pomerania) in 1358. In the early 17th cent. the city became the capital of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. It was occupied (1624–31) in the Thirty Years War by imperial troops under Wallenstein. The Peace of Westphalia (1648) secularized the bishopric and gave its territories to the duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Schwerin became the capital of the former state of Mecklenburg in 1934. From 1952 to 1990 it was the capital of the Schwerin district of East Germany. In 1990 the advent of reunification brought the city back to its former status. Noteworthy buildings include the Gothic Protestant cathedral (14th–15th cent.) and the former grand ducal palace, built (19th cent.) on an island in Schwerin Lake.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: German Political Geography