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


City, North Rhine-Westphalia Land (state), western Germany, on the small Münster-Aa River and the Dortmund-Ems Canal. The community was first mentioned as Mimigernaford (“Ford over the Aa?) when Liudger (Ludger), a missionary sent by Charlemagne, founded a bishopric there in 804. It was renamed Münster in 1068 and was chartered in 1137. Münster's favourable position at the intersection of long-distance trade routes and its wool trade with England gave it early economic importance and contributed to its influential position in the Hanseatic League in the 13th and 14th centuries. The Anabaptists, who constituted the radical wing of the Reformers, proclaimed their “kingdom of a thousand years? there in 1534. In 1535 Münster was captured, and in 1536 the Anabaptists' “king,? John of Leiden (Jan Beuckelson), was executed with two of his accomplices; the iron cages in which their bodies were publicly exhibited still hang in the Gothic tower of St. Lambert's Church. A neutralized Münster was the scene of the peace congress (1645–48) that resulted in the Treaty of Westphalia. In 1815 Münster became the capital of Prussian Westphalia.

The city suffered widespread destruction in World War II, but most of its historic buildings have been restored or rebuilt, including the gabled houses and arcades of the Prinzipalmarkt, the Gothic town hall (1335) with its Friedenssaal (“Peace Hall?), the cathedral (1225–65), and several churches—St. Ludger's, St. Lambert's, the Church of Our Lady, St. Martin's, and St. Maurice's (all 13th–15th century). The work of Johann Conrad Schlaun, a Westphalian architect of the Baroque period, is evident in the Westphalian Wilhelm University of Münster (founded 1780, a full university from 1902; in the 18th-century an episcopal palace), the bailiff's high court, and several churches. Notable modern structures include the state Chamber of Commerce building, municipal administrative offices, the theatre, the railway station (1956), and the Münsterland Hall.

The centre of Westphalian culture, Münster has several cultural and scientific museums, as well as technical institutes and schools for the arts. The city's industries include the manufacture of machinery and textiles. Münster is also the centre of the Westphalian cattle-breeding market. Pop. (1993 est.) 267,072.

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