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Previous history the arrival of the Christian faith

The Saxons starting from this period turned masterful of land and there they stayed until Charles the Great' time, when this finally, after a long and bloody war, He defeated this people. Later, they were these last ones defeated by Charles the Great, this in the end of the century eighth, and this way, these Saxons, they were converted to the Christianity.


After the beginning of the Christian period

The old monastery of St. Ludger in Helmstedt is an existential proof of the history of the faith and Christian culture in that area. Charles the Great had given permission to São Ludger, bishop of Münster, for him to establish a monastery in Helmstedt area and it also granted a great extension of lands for the for the monks. The city grew in the roundness of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Ludger, founded about the year of 789, as a missionary station. The place began to present characteristics of a village, in the measure in that went happening the farmers' establishments and the first foundations built that they characterize a village nucleus, in the surroundings of the abbey. Helmstedt was mentioned for the first time in the year of 952 (helmonstede); It turned a city in 1247 and belonged to the Abbey of Werden up to the 1490, when it was bought by the Dukedom Brunswick-Luneburg (Braunschweig-Lüneburg).
Helmstedt is the oldest city of the Dukedom Brunswick. The origin of the name of the city has some explanations. However, the more accepts, it attributes the name as a derivation of the name of the existent elevation in that land (Der Elm, Elm Tal).


About the year of 1181 it was founded the monastery of Marienberg and the Church of St. Stephani began to be built in the first half of this century.

Under Otto IV's reign the city was victim of the revenge of Archbishop Ludolf of Magdeburg. There was him leaning the coronation of Phillip of Swabia, which had struggled with duke Otto for the crown. Henry (Heinrich Der Lange), brother of Otto and also, Archbishop of Cologne, He punished archbishop Ludolf Von Kroppenstedt for the form for which invaded the summer castle of Henry The Lion (Heinrich Der Löwen). In the year of 1190, the Archbishop Ludolf spills hers rage against Otto's domains. The villages around of Helmstedt, they were transformed in ashes and the city was plundered by soldiers. The monastery of St. Ludger was consumed by the fire. Helmstedt resurged of the ashes, larger than before, for the first time the city was fortified and enclosed for walls, included the church St. Stephani.

The beginning of the construction of the great wall (Helmstedter Hausmann), for the protection of the city, begins in 1230. Also in this period, the church St Stephan is reconstructed, now in Gothic style. The church was consecrated in 1300. Already in the year of 1247, Helmstedt receive the city status and this way, it is accepted as member of the German Federation of the mercantile hanseatic cities.
In the years from 1347 to 1351, the great plague (Schwarze Tod) arrival of the European east, arrived to the dukedom of Brunswick. Real numbers don't exist, but it is considered that the mortality rate has reached something in lathe, of a third of the population. The epidemic punished the city in two occasions again, in 1472 and 1506, but on these, the mortality was smaller.

In 1530, the first evangelical conference happens at the church St Stephan. The Luther´s reform found followers in a premature way in the city, but she happened against the resistance of the Abbey of St. Ludger and Catholic Duke Henry (Heinrich). In the year of 1547 he tried the force to reestablish the Christian faith in Brunswick and the same in Helmstedt. With Duke Julius, the reform was extended to the dukedom Brunswick, in the year of 1568.

The University of Helmstedt was founded in 1576 by Duke Julius from Brunswick and Luneburg, Prince of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel. It was the most important university Protestant of German Nations. Sometimes, even 15.000 students studied here. Giordano Bruno was one of the important masters that there taught.
During the French government's times, the king of Westphalia, Jerome Bonaparte closed the university in 1810. This event was a delay in the local development.

Through an action of the Dukedom of Brunswick in the year of 1833, five administrative Offices were created: Helmstedt, Schoeningen, Koenigslutter, Vorsfelde and Calvoerde. The city won new economical pulse, first for the opening of the railroad Helmstedt-Jerxheim in the year 1858 and especially for the grating-connection to the route Brunswick-Helmstedt-Magdeburg in the year 1872, and later, in 1874, through economical decisions taken by the Kaiser. The landscape and the structure of the city were modified after this period.

During First World War, Helmstedt stayed saved in reason of the conflict, this due to central geographical situation in the German empire. But, the inflation and the unemployment in the republic of Weimar affected the population of Helmstedt hardly.

With outbreak of the World War II, considerable limitations were imposed also on the urban life. From air raids, Helmstedt remained spared not. After the end of Second World War up to 1990, the city was the main crossing place between Republic of Federal Germany and a German Democratic Republic (The Border checkpoint Helmstedt–Marienborn). The expelled Germans and the refugees of east lands and the area of Soviet occupation after the war, it did with that the population of Helmstedt, near of 18000 inhabitants before the war, it higher for 30000 inhabitants.


 
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