The history of Wesel, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

The history of Wesel begins around 3000-700 before Christ. Tool and cemetery finds in gravel pits point to a population of the area in the Stone Age and Bronze Age.

The first verifiable population on today’s Wesel city area arose after the migration of the peoples and attained its importance presumably at the time of Charlemagne, King of the Franks, that is in the year 800.
The name Wesel first appeared in a document dated 1 May 1065. In the book of documents is also a copy of documents from the 8th century in which the name Wesele appears.

At the beginning of the 12th century Wesel was already a transshipment point for goods from the Rhine to the Lippe and vice versa. With the elevation of Wesel in September 1241 by Count Dietrich, Wesel’s guarantee obtained a number of privileges, such as free inheritance, freedom at all sovereign customs posts, sole prosecution before the municipal court and a maximum of one day’s military service. The privileges were expanded until 1277.

While Wesel’s trade in the 13th century was limited to the purchase and sale of food and handicraft products such as salt, iron, wood, furs and wine, the great economic upswing in the 14th century achieved due to the processing of imported raw materials and the export of finished goods.

The good development of the economy made it possible to finance the large construction activity in Wesel, which began in the late Middle Ages. Two monumental town hall buildings alone within sixty years bear witness to the rapid development of the town. Shortly afterwards, several churches and the cathedral were built.

The favorable location of the town and its economic importance, however, also aroused desires that led to armed conflicts and were fatal to the town in the following decades.

In the years of the First World War from 1914-1918 Wesel was a military meeting point, thousands of soldiers went to war from here. But after the war was lost, the picture changed dramatically. In the bombing raids of the allied, the city was almost completely destroyed more than seventy years ago, 97 percent of the city center lay in ruins. The reconstruction of Wesel, vigorously pursued from the fifties onwards, gave the city a new face and was rebuilt to the Wesel of today.


My name is Xenia, I am from Germany and I am an intern at the Irish Mortgage Brokers.

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