Gregory Brown
513 Agnes Arnold Hall
Department of Philosophy
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77204-3004


City, North Rhine-Westphalia Land (state), northwestern Germany. It lies along the Weser River, near a narrow defile known as the Porta Westfalica where the river quits the mountains and enters the North German Plain. The emperor Charlemagne (742-814) organized a military bishopric there in 800. The town struggled for independence from the bishopric, joined the Hanseatic League in the 13th century, and thrived as a trading centre. The bishopric was secularized in 1648, when it passed with the town to Brandenburg. Minden was fortified by Friedrich II. the Great (1712-1786) of Prussia in the mid-18th century. Although it was held briefly by the French in the Seven Years' War (1756-1763), it reverted to Prussia after the victory of the British and Hanoverians at the Battle of Minden in 1759. It passed to Westphalia in 1807 but became Prussian again in 1814. Historic buildings in the centre of the city, including the 11th-13th-century Gothic single-naved cathedral and the early Gothic town hall, were severely damaged in World War II. Both have been rebuilt. The medieval churches of St. Martin and St. Mary and a number of "Weser Renaissance" houses survived.

An important road and rail traffic centre, Minden is the junction of waterways where the remarkable Mittelland Canal aqueduct bridges the Weser. Textiles, furniture, chemicals, glass, ceramics, and heavy metals are important in the city's economy. Other significant economic activities are based on farming and cattle breeding in the surrounding area. Pop. (1992 est.) 78,909.

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