GREIFSWALD, a town of Germany, in the Prussian province of Pomerania, on the navigable Ryk, 3 m. from its mouth on the Baltic at the little port of Wyk, and 20 m. S.E. from Stralsund by rail. Pop. (1875) 18,022, (1005) 23,750. It has wide and regular streets, flanked by numerous gabled houses, and is surrounded by pleasant promenades on the site of its old ramparts. The three Gothic Protestant churches, the Marienkirche, the Nikolaikirche and the Jakobikirche, and the town-hall (Rathaus) are the principal edifices, and these with their lofty spires are very picturesque. There is a statue of the emperor Frederick III. and a war memorial in the town. The industries mainly consist in shipbuilding, fish-curing, and the manufacture of machinery (particularly for agriculture), and the commerce in the export of corn, wood and fish. There is a theatre, an orphanage and a municipal library. Greifswald is, however, best known to fame by reason of its university. This, founded in 1456, is well endowed and is largely frequented by students of medicine. Connected with it are a library of 150,000 volumes and 800 MSS., a chemical laboratory, a zoological museum, a gynaecological institute, an ophthalmological school, a botanical garden and at Eldena (a seaside resort on the Baltic) an agricultural school. In front of the university, which had 775 students and about too teachers in 1904, stands a monument commemorating its four hundredth anniversary.
Greifswald was founded about 1240 by traders from the Netherlands. In 1250 it received a town constitution and Liibeck rights from Duke Wratislaw of Pomerania. In 1270 it joined the Hanse towns, Stralsund, Rostock, Wismar and Liibeck, and took part in the wars which they carried on against the kings of Denmark and Norway. During the Thirty Years' War it was formed into a fortress by the imperialists, but they vacated it in 1631 to the Swedes, in whose possession it remained after the peace of Westphalia. In 1678 it was captured by the elector of Brandenburg, but was restored to the Swedes in the following year; in 1713 it was desolated by the Russians; in 1715 it came into the possession of Denmark; and in 1721 it was again restored to Sweden, under whose protection it remained till 1815, when, along with the whole of Swedish Pomerania, it came into the possession of Prussia.
See J. G. L. Kosegarten, Geschichte der Universitdt Greifswald (1856); C. Gesterding, Beitrag zur Geschichte der Stadt Greifswald (3 vols., 1827-1829); and I. Ziegler, Geschichte der Sladt Greifswald (Greifswald, 1897).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)