Gregory Brown
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French Mayence,

city, capital (1945) of Rhineland-Palatinate Land (state), west-central Germany, port on the left bank of the Rhine opposite Wiesbaden and the mouth of the Main River. It was the site of a Celtic settlement where the Romans established (14–9 BC) a military camp, known as Mogontiacum (Moguntiacum) after the Celtic god Mogo. The town that developed became the capital of Germania Superior until the Romans abandoned the area c. 451. A new town arose in the 6th century, which became a bishopric (747) and the ecclesiastical centre of Germany under St. Boniface and an archbishopric (775–80).

The community grew rapidly, gaining certain rights of self-government in 1118 and becoming a free city in 1244. As “Golden Mainz,? it was the centre of a powerful league of Rhenish towns in 1254. The archbishops became chancellors and electors of the Holy Roman Empire in the 14th century. Mainz is noted as the birthplace of Johannes Gutenberg, who invented the art of printing with movable type there c. 1440. Following an economic decline, climaxed by warfare between two rival archbishops in 1462, its citizens were deprived of their privileges. Many craftsmen were driven into exile, spreading the knowledge of the art of printing.

Although the city was occupied by the Swedes and the French during the Thirty Years' War, it remained a flourishing commercial and cultural centre until it was reoccupied in 1792 by the French. It was successfully besieged by the Prussians and Austrians (1793) but was ceded to France by the treaties of Campo Formio (1797) and Lunéville (1801). The French suppressed the archbishopric (replaced by a bishopric in 1801) and secularized the electorate in 1803. French dominance ended in 1816, when the city passed to Hesse-Darmstadt, becoming capital of the newly formed Rhenish-Hesse Province. It was a fortress of the German Confederation and later of the empire until 1918. Mainz was occupied by French troops after World Wars I and II. About 80 percent of the inner city was destroyed during World War II, but reconstruction was rapid and extensive. Mainz's right-bank suburbs were transferred to the state of Hessen in 1946.

Some remains of Roman times survive, and relics are housed in the Central Roman-Germanic Museum. St. Martin's Cathedral, originally erected 975–1009, has been repeatedly rebuilt, acquiring accretions of many later styles in addition to its original Romanesque architecture. Henry II, Conrad II, and Frederick II were crowned there. Other historic landmarks include the churches of St. Ignatius (1763–74), St. Stephen (1257–1328), and St. Peter (1748–56) and the Renaissance electoral palace (1627–78), all renovated after World War II.

A university city from 1477 until 1816, Mainz regained this status with the establishment in 1946 of Johannes Gutenberg University, with which special institutes are associated, including the Institute for Economic Research. Also in the city are the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry and the Academy of Sciences and Literature. Gutenberg is also honoured by the Gutenberg Monument (1837), the Gutenberg Museum, and the headquarters building of the International Gutenberg Society. There are museums of art, history, and natural history, as well as a diocesan museum. Mainz is the site of wine and pre-Lenten festivals.

Historically, the development of the city's commerce was hampered by its military importance and by its competition with nearby Frankfurt am Main and with Mannheim. It declined sharply under Napoleon in the early 19th century but later became the centre of the Rhenish wine trade. Although industrialization came late, its manufactures are highly diversified, including chemical and pharmaceutical products, machinery, glassware, and musical instruments. Pop. (1989 est.) 174,828.

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