MANNHEIM, a town of Germany, in the grand-duchy of Baden, lying on the right bank of the Rhine, at its confluence with the Neckar, 39 m. by rail N. of Karlsruhe, 10 m. W. of Heidelberg and 55 m. S. of Frankfort-on-Main. Pop. (1900). 141,131; (1905), 162,607 (of whom about 70,000 are Roman Catholics and 6000 Jews). It is perhaps the most regularly built town in Germany, consisting of twelve parallel streets intersected at right angles by others, which cut it up into 136 square sections of equal size. These blocks are distinguished, after the American fashion, by letters and numerals. Except on the south side all the streets debouch on the promenade, which forms a circle round the town on the site of the old ramparts. Outside this ring are the suburbs Schwetzinger-Vorstadt to the south and Neckar- Vorstadt to the north, others being Lindenhof, Miihlau, Neckarau and Kaferthal. Mannheim is connected by a handsome bridge with Ludwigshafen, a rapidly growing commercial and manufacturing town on the left bank of the Rhine, in Bavarian territory. The Neckar is spanned by two bridges.
Nearly the whole of the south-west side of the town is occupied by the palace (1720-1759), formerly the residence of the elector palatine of the Rhine. It is one of the largest buildings of the kind in Germany, covering an area of 15 acres, and having a frontage of about 600 yards. It has 1500 windows. The left wing was totally destroyed by the bombardment of 1795, but has since been restored. The palace contains a picture gallery and collections of natural history and antiquities, and in front of it are two monumental fountains and a monument to the emperor William I. The large and beautiful gardens at the back form the public park of the town. Among the other prominent buildings are the theatre, the arsenal, the synagogue, the " Kaufhaus," the town-hall (Rathaus, 1771) and the observatory. A newer building is the fine municipal Festhalle with magnificent rooms. The only noteworthy churches are the Jesuit church (1737- 1760), the interior of which is lavishly decorated with marble and painting; the Koncordienkirche and the Schlosskirche. In front of the theatre are statues of Schiller, August Wilhelm Iffland the actor, and Wolfgang Heribert von Dalberg (1750- 1806), intendant of the theatre in the time of Schiller. Mannheim is the chief commercial town on the upper Rhine, and yields in importance to Cologne alone among the lower Rhenish towns. It stands at the head of the effective navigation on the Rhine, and is not only the largest port on the upper course of that stream, but is the principal emporium for south Germany for such commodities as cereals, coal, petroleum, timber, sugar and tobacco, with a large trade in hops, wine and other south German produce. Owing to the rapid increase in the traffic, a new harbour at the mouth of the Neckar was opened in 1898. The industries are equal in importance to the transit trade, and embrace metalworking, ironfounding and machine building, the manufacture of electric plant, celluloid, automobiles, furniture, cables and chemicals, sugar refining, cigar and tobacco making, and brewing.
Mannheim is the seat of the central board for the navigation of the Rhine, of a high court of justice, and of the grand ducal commissioner for north Baden.
History. The name of Mannheim was connected with its present site in the 8th century, when a small village belonging to the abbey of Lorsch lay in the marshy district between the Neckar and the Rhine. To the south of this village, on the Rhine, was the castle of Eicholzheim, which acquired some celebrity as the place of confinement assigned to Pope John XXIII. by the council of Constance. The history of modern Mannheim begins, however, with the opening of the 17th century, when the elector palatine Frederick IV. founded a town here, which was peopled chiefly with Protestant refugees from Holland. The strongly fortified castle which he erected at the same time had the unfortunate result of making the infant town an object of contention in the Thirty Years' War, during which it was five times taken and retaken. In 1688 Mannheim, which had in the meantime recovered from its former disasters, was captured by the French, and in 1689 it was burned down. Ten years later it was rebuilt on an extended scale, and provided with fortifications by the elector John William. For its subsequent importance it was indebted to the elector Charles Philip, who, owing to ecclesiastical disputes, transferred his residence from Heidelberg to Mannheim in 1720. It remained the capital of the Palatinate for nearly sixty years, being especially flourishing under the elector Charles Theodore. In 1794 Mannheim fell into the hands of the French, and in the following year it was retaken by the Austrians after a severe bombardment, which left scarcely a single building uninjured. In 1803 it was assigned to the grand duke of Baden, who caused the fortifications to be razed. Towards the end of the 18th century Mannheim attained great celebrity in the literary world as the place where Schiller's early plays were performed for the first time. It was at Mannheim that Kotzebue was assassinated in 1819. During the revolution in Baden in 1849 the town was for a time in the hands of the insurgents, and was afterwards occupied by the Prussians.
See Feder, Geschichte der Stadt Mannheim (1875-1877, 2 vols., new ed. 1903); Pichler, Chronik des Hof-und National Theaters in Mannheim (Mannheim, 1879); Landgraf, Mannheim und Ludwigshafen (Zurich, 1890); Die lairthschaftliche Bedeutung Mannheims, published by the Mannheim Chamber of Commerce (Mannheim, '905); the Forschungen zur Geschichte Mannheims und der Pfalz, published by the Mannheimer Altertumsverein (Leipzig, 1898); and the annual Chronik der Hauptstadt Mannheim (1901 seq.).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)