The New International Encyclopædia/Rügen

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RÜGEN, rụ'gen. The largest of the islands of Germany, situated in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Pomerania, from which it is separated by the Strelasund, one mile wide (Map: Germany, E 1). It is 33 miles long from north to south, and 26 miles wide, and has an area of 362 square miles. It is of extremely irregular shape, the northeastern portion being separated from the remainder by a deep and irregular inlet known as the Jasmunder Bodden. It is level in the west and hilly in the east, nearly the whole eastern coast consisting of steep chalk cliffs rising in one place to a height of 528 feet. The scenery is pleasing, and, together with the good sea-bathing, attracts many visitors. The soil is fertile, producing grain and rape-seed; cattle-raising and herring fisheries are also important. Population, in 1900, 46,270. The chief town is Bergen. Rügen was taken possession of by Valdemar I. of Denmark in 1168, and was united with Pomerania in 1325. In 1648 it passed to Sweden, and in 1815 was acquired by Prussia, to which it still belongs.