Sites & cities that bear the name of Basel


Today in : Switzerland
First trace of activity : ca. 2nd century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Arialbinnum?, Basle, Bâle, Basilea

Description : Basel (Basle; French: Bâle ; Italian: Basilea ; Romansh: Basilea) is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the river Rhine. Basel is Switzerland's third-most-populous city (after Zürich and Geneva) with about 200,000 inhabitants. The official language of Basel is (the Swiss variety of Standard) German, but the main spoken language is the local Basel German dialect. Basel was the seat of a Prince-Bishopric starting in the 11th century, and joined the Swiss Confederacy in 1501. The city has been a commercial hub and an important cultural centre since the Renaissance, and has emerged as a centre for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries in the 20th century. In 1897, Basel was chosen by Theodor Herzl as the location for the first World Zionist Congress, and altogether the congress has been held there ten times over a time span of 50 years, more than in any other location. There are traces of a settlement at the nearby Rhine knee from the early La Tène period (5th century BC). In the 2nd century BC, there was a village of the Raurici at the site of Basel-Gasfabrik(to the northwest of the Old City, and likely identical with the town of Arialbinnum that was mentioned on the Tabula Peutingeriana). The unfortified settlement was abandoned in the 1st century BC in favour of an oppidum on the site of Basel Minster, probably in reaction to the Roman invasion of Gaul. In Roman Gaul, Augusta Raurica was established some 20 km (12 mi) from Basel as the regional administrative centre, while a castrum (fortified camp) was built on the site of the Celtic oppidum. In AD 83, the area was incorporated into the Roman province of Germania Superior. Roman control over the area deteriorated in the 3rd century, and Basel became an outpost of the Provincia Maxima Sequanorum formed by Diocletian. Basilia is first named as part of the Roman military fortifications along the Rhine in the late 4th century. The Germanic confederation of the Alemanni attempted to cross the Rhine several times in the 4th century, but were repelled; one such event was the Battle of Solicinium (368). However, in the great invasion of AD 406, the Alemanni appear to have crossed the Rhine river a final time, conquering and then settling what is today Alsace and a large part of the Swiss Plateau. The Duchy of Alemannia fell under Frankish rule in the 6th century. The Alemannic and Frankish settlement of Basel gradually grew around the old Roman castle in the 6th and 7th century. It appears that Basel surpassed the ancient regional capital of Augusta Raurica by the 7th century; based on the evidence of a gold tremissis (a small gold coin with the value of a third of a solidus) with the inscription Basilia fit, Basel seems to have minted its own coins in the 7th century. Basel at this time was part of the Archdiocese of Besançon. A separate bishopric of Basel, replacing the ancient bishopric of Augusta Raurica, was established in the 8th century. Under bishop Haito (r. 806–823), the first cathedral was built on the site of the Roman castle (replaced by a Romanesque structure consecrated in 1019). At the partition of the Carolingian Empire, Basel was first given to West Francia, but it passed to East Francia with the treaty of Meerssen of 870. Basel was destroyed by the Magyars in 917. The rebuilt town became part of Upper Burgundy, and as such was incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire in 1032.

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