HEILBRONN, a town of Germany, in the kingdom of Wiirttemberg, situated in a pleasant and fruitful valley on the Neckar, 33 m. by rail N. of Stuttgart, and at the junction of lines to Jagdsfeld, Crailsheim and Eppingen. Pop. (1905), 40,026. In the older part of the town the streets are narrow, and contain a number of high turreted houses with quaintly adorned gables. The old fortifications have now been demolished, and their site is occupied by promenades, outside of which are the more modern parts of the town with wide streets and many handsome buildings. The principal public buildings are the church of St Kilian (restored 1886-1895) i n the Gothic and Renaissance styles, begun about 1019 and completed in 1529, with an elegant tower 210 ft. high, a beautiful choir, and a finely carved altar; the town hall (Rathaus), founded in 1540, and possessing a curious clock made in 1580, and a collection of interesting letters and other documents; the house of the Teutonic knights (Deutsches Haus), now used as a court of law; the Roman Catholic church of St Joseph, formerly the church of the Teutonic Order; the tower (Diebsturm or Gotzens Turm) on the Neckar, in which Gotz von Berlichingen was confined in 1519; a fine synagogue; an historical museum and several monuments, among them those to the emperors William I. and Frederick I., to Bismarck, to Schiller and to Robert von Mayer (1814-1878), a native of the town, famous for his discoveries concerning heat. The educational establishments include a gymnasium, a commercial school and an agricultural academy. The town in a commercial point of view is the most important in Wiirttemberg, and possesses an immense variety of manufactures, of which the principal are gold, silver, steel and iron wares, machines, sugar of lead, white lead, vinegar, beer, sugar, tobacco, soap, oil, cement, chemicals, artificial manure, glue, soda, tapestry, paper and cloth. Grapes, fruit, vegetables and flowering shrubs are largely grown in the neighbourhood, and there are large quarries for sandstone and gypsum and extensive salt-works. By means of the Neckar a considerable trade is carried on in wood, bark, leather, agricultural produce, fruit and cattle.
Heilbronn occupies the site of an old Roman settlement; it is first mentioned in 741, and the Carolingian princes had a palace here. It owes its name originally Heiligbronn, or holy spring to a spring of water which until 1857 was to be seen issuing from under the high altar of the church of St Kilian. Heilbronn obtained privileges from Henry IV. and from Rudolph I. and became a free imperial city in 1360. It was frequently besieged during the middle ages, and it suffered greatly during the Peasants' War, the Thirty Years' War, and the various wars with France. In April 1633 a convention was entered into here between Oxenstierna, the Swabian and Prankish estates and the French, English and Dutch ambassadors, as a result of which the Heilbronn treaty, for the prosecution of the Thirty Years' War, was concluded. In 1802 Heilbronn was annexed by Wiirttemberg.
See Jager, Geschichte von Heilbronn (Heilbronn, 1828) ; Kuttler, Heilbronn, seine Umgebungen und seine Geschichte (Heilbronn, 1859) ; Diirr, Heilbronner Chronik (Halle, 1896); Schliz, Die Entstehung der Stadtgemeinde Heilbronn (Leipzig, 1903); and A. Kiisel, Der Heilbronner Konvent (Halle, 1878).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)