OSNABRUCK, a town and episcopal see of Germany, in the Prussian province of Hanover, situated on the Hase, 70 m. VV. of the city of Hanover, 31 m. by rail N.E. of Mtinster, and at the junction of the lines Hamburg-Cologne and BerlinAmsterdam. Pop. (1905) 59,580. The older streets contain' many interesting examples of Gothic and Renaissance domestic architecture, while the substantial houses of the modern quarters , testify to the present prosperity of the town. The old fortifications have been converted into promenades. The Roman Catholic cathedral, with its three towers, is a spacious building of the 13th century, partly in the Romanesque and partly in the Transitional style; but it is inferior in architectural interest to the Marienkirche, a fine Gothic structure of the 14th and 15th centuries. The town hall, a 15th-century Gothic building, contains portraits of some of the plenipotentiaries engaged in concluding the peace of Westphalia, the negotiations for which were partly carried on here from 1644 to 1648. Other important buildings are the museum, erected in 1888-1889 and containing scientific and historical collections; the episcopal palace and the law courts. The lunatic asylum on the Ger-- trudenberg occupies the site of an ancient nunnery. The town has an equestrian statue of the emperor William I., a statue of Justus Moser (i 720-1 794) and a memorial of the war of 1S70-1871. Linen was formerly the staple product, but it no longer retains that position. The manufactures include machinery, paper, chemicals, tobacco and cigars, pianos and beer. Other industries are spinfiing and weaving. The town has large iron and steel works and there are coal mines in the neighbourhood. A brisk trade is carried on in grain and wood, textiles, iron goods and Westphalian hams, while important cattle and horse fairs are held here.
Osnabriick is an ancient place and in 888 received the right to establish a mint, a market and a toll-house. Surrounded with walls towards the close of the nth century, it maintained an independent attitude towards its nominal ruler, the bishop, and joined the Hanseatic League, reaching the height of its prosperity in the 15th century. The decay inaugurated by the dissensions of the Reformation was accelerated by the ravages of the Thirty Years' War, but a new period of prosperity began about the middle of the 18th century. The bishopric of Osnabriick was founded by Charlemagne about 800, after he had subdued the Saxons. It embraced the district between the Ems and the Hunte, and was included in the archbishopric of Cologne. By the peace of Westphalia it was decreed that it should be held by a Roman Catholic and a Protestant bishop alternately, and this state of affairs lasted until the secularization of the see in 1803. In 1815 the bishopric was given to Hanover. The last bishop was Frederick, duke of York, a son of the English king George III. Since 1857 Osnabriick has been the seat of a Roman Catholic bishop.
See Friederici and Stieve, Geschichle der Stadt Osnabriick ( Osnabriick, 1816-1826); Wurm, Osnabriick, seine Ceschichte seine Bauund Kiinstdenkmdler (Osnabriick, 1906); and Hoffmeyer, Ceschichte der Stadt und des Regierungsbezirks Osnabriick (Osnabriick, 1904). See also the Osnabriicker CeschichtsquclUn (Osnabriick, 1891 fol.); the Osnabriicker Urkundenbuch, edited by F. Philippi and M. IBar (Osnabriick, 1892-1902); and the pubHcations of the Verein fiir Ceschichte und Landeskunde von OsnabrUck (Osnabriick, 1882 (ol.). For the history of the bishopric see J. C. Moller, Ceschichte der Weihbischofe von Osnabriick (Lingcn, 1887); and C. Sttive, Ceschichte des Ilochstifts Osnabriick (Jena, 1872-1882).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)