1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Weissenburg

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[ 499 ]

WEISSENBURG, a town of Germany, in the imperial province of Alsace-Lorraine, district of Lower Alsace, on the Lauter, at the foot of the eastern slope of the Vosges Mountains, 42 m. N.E. of Strassburg by the railway Basel-Strassburg-Mannheim. Pop. (1900) 6946. The beautiful Roman Catholic abbey church of SS. Peter and Paul, dating from the 13th century, contains some fine early stained glass. The industries include the manufacture of paper, matches, stockings and beer, and hops and wine are also extensively cultivated. Weissenburg grew up round a Benedictine abbey which was founded in the 7th century by Dagobert II. and became the seat of a famous school. Here Otfrid, who was a native of the district, completed (c. 868) his Old High German Gospel book (see German Literature). The town became a free imperial city in 1305. It has been the scene of two memorable battles. The famous “Weissenburg lines,” consisting of entrenched works erected by Villars in 1706 along the Lauter, and having a length of 12 m., were stormed in October 1793 by the Prussians and Saxons under the Austrian general Wurmser. The Allies were in their turn dispossessed by Pichegru in December and forced to retreat behind the Rhine. These lines, as well as the fortifications of Weissenburg, are now dismantled. On the 4th of August 1870 the Germans under the crown prince of Prussia, afterwards the emperor Frederick, gained the first victory of the war over a French corps (part of the army commanded by MacMahon) under General Douay, who was killed early in the engagement.

[ 500 ] The name Weissenburg occurs in three other places; the town of Weissenburg-am-Sand in Bavaria (q.v.); a Swiss invalid resort in the Niedersimmental, above Lake Thun, with sulphate of lime springs, beneficial for bronchial affections; also a Hungarian comitat (Magyar Fejérvár), with Stuhlweissenburg as capital.