1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Schaffhausen (town)

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SCHAFFHAUSEN, the capital of the Swiss canton of that name, situated entirely (for its suburb, Feuerthalen, is in the canton of Zürich) on rising ground above the right bank of the Rhine. Its streets are narrow (save in the modern quarters), while it is dominated by the fortress of Unnoth (wrongly called Munoth). It is by rail 31 m. W. of Constance and 59 m. W. of Basel. It is a city of contrasts, medieval architecture of the true Swabian type and modern manufactures mingling curiously together. Three of the sixteen town gates survive, and many Jld houses, though few have preserved traces of the frescoes which formerly adorned their external walls. The chief ancient building in the town is the Münster (now Protestant) of All Saints, formerly a Benedictine monastery. It was consecrated in 1052, and is a good specimen of the “sternest and plainest Romanesque, finished with a single side tower near the east end, that is architecturally connected both with Italian campaniles and the so-called Anglo-Saxon towers of England” (E. A. Freeman). Close to it is deposited the famous 15th-century bell that suggested Schiller’s Song of the Bell and the opening of Longfellow’s Golden Legend. The castle of Unnoth, above the town, dates in its present form from the second half of the 16th century. It has enormously thick case mates and a tower, the platform of which (now used as a restaurant) is reached by a spiral ascent. The museum contains antiquarian and natural history collections, as well as the town library, which possesses the MSS. and books of the Swiss historian J. von Müller (q.v.). A monument to his memory is on the promenade of the Fasenstaub, west of the town. Opposite is a building constructed in 1864 by a citizen (G. C. im Thurn) who had made his fortune in London. It is named after him the Imthurneum, and houses a theatre, a picture gallery, concert rooms and the school of music. There are a number of factories in the town, while at Neuhausen, its suburb, are aluminium works, railway rolling stock works and a manufactory of playing cards and railway tickets. Industrial development has been furthered by the hydraulic works for the utilization of the forces in the Rhine; founded 1863–1866 by H. Moser (1805–1874), a wealthy citizen, these are now the property of the town and since 1900 are worked by electricity. In 1900 the town had 15,275 inhabitants (14,684 German-speaking), while there were 11,144 Protestants, 4085 Roman Catholics and 21 Jews.

The spot is first mentioned in 1045, “Villa Scafhusun,” while in 1050 we hear of the “ford” there across the Rhine. Hence it is probable that the name is really derived from scapha, a skid, as here goods coming from Constance were disembarked in consequence of the falls of the Rhine a little below. Some writers, however, prefer the derivation from Schaf (a sheep), as a ram (now a sheep) formed the ancient arms of the town, derived from those of its founders, the counts of Nellenburg. About 1050 those counts founded here the Benedictine monastery of All Saints, which henceforth became the centre of the town. Perhaps as early as 1190, certainly in 1208, it was an imperial free city, while the first seal dates from 1253. The powers of the abbot were gradually limited and in 1277 the emperor Rudolf gave the town a charter of liberties. It ran considerable risk of becoming a part of the private estates of the Habsburgs, as the emperor Louis of Bavaria pledged it in 1330 to that family, which held it till Duke Frederick with Empty Pockets was placed under the ban of the empire in 1415, its freedom being finally purchased in 1418, while from 1411 the trade gilds ruled the town. But it was much harassed by the neighbouring Austrian nobles, so that in 1454 it made an alliance with six of the Swiss confederates (Uri and Unterwalden coming in in 1479), by whom it was received as an “ally,” being finally admitted a full member in 1501. The Reformation was adopted in 1524, finally in 1529. The town suffered much in the Thirty Years’ War from the passage of Swedish and Bavarian troops. It was not till the early 19th century that the arrested industrial development of the town took a fresh start.

Authorities.—F. L. Baumann, Das Kloster Allerheiligen in Schaffhausen (vol. iii. of the “Quellen z. Schweizer Geschichte”) (Basel, 1881); Beiträge z. vaterländisch. Geschichte (5 parts, 1863–1884); E. Im-Thurn, Der Kanton Schaffhausen (St Gall and Bern, 1840); A. Pfaff, Das Staatsrecht d. alten Eidgenossenschaft (Schaffhausen, 1870) (pp. 89-97 contain a history of Schaffhausen). In 1901 there appeared at Schaffhausen two elaborate historical “ Festschriften, " one for the canton and one for the town, while in 1906–1907 there were published at Schaffhausen two parts (from 987 to 1530) of an official Urkundenregister für den Kanton Schaffhausen.  (W. A. B. C.)