Rastatt - Encyclopedia

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RASTATT, a town of Germany, in the grand duchy of Baden, on the Murg, 4 m. above its junction with the Rhine and 15 m.

by rail S.W. of Karlsruhe. Pop. (1905) 14,404. The old palace of the margraves of Baden, a large Renaissance edifice in red sandstone, is now partly used for military purposes and contains a collection of pictures, antiquities and trophies from the Turkish wars. The chief manufactures are stoves, beer and tobacco. Until the end of the 17th century Rastatt was unimportant, but after its destruction by the French in 1689 it was rebuilt on a larger scale by Louis William, margrave of Baden, the imperial general in the Turkish wars. It was then the residence of the margraves until 1771. The Baden revolution of 1849 began with a mutiny of soldiers at Rastatt in May 1849, and ended here a few weeks later with the capture of the town by the Prussians. For some years Rastatt was one of the strongest fortresses of the German empire, but its fortifications were dismantled in 1890.

See Schuster, Rastatt, die ehemalige badische Residenz and Bundesfestung (Lahr, 1902); and Lederle, Rastatt and seine Umgebung (Rastatt, 1905).

Rastatt has been the scene of two congresses. At the first congress, which was opened in November 1713, negotiations were carried on between France and Austria for the purpose of ending the war of the Spanish succession. These culminated in the treaty of Rastatt signed on the 7th of March 1714. The second congress, which was opened in December 1797, was intended to rearrange the map of Germany by providing compensation for those princes whose lands on the left bank of the Rhine had been seized by France. It had no result, however, as it was ended by the outbreak of the European war, but it had a sequel of some interest. As the three French representatives were leaving the town in April 1799 they were waylaid, and two of them were assassinated by some Hungarian soldiers. The origin of this outrage remains shrouded in mystery, but the balance of evidence seems to show that the Austrian authorities had commanded their men to seize the papers of the French plenipotentiaries in order to avoid damaging disclosures about Austria's designs on Bavaria, and that the soldiers had exceeded their instructions. On the other hand, some authorities think that the deed was the work of French emigrants, or of the party in France in favour of war.

For fuller particulars of the two sides of this controversy see K. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Der Rastadter Gesandtenmord (Heidelberg, 1869); J. A. Freiherr von Helfert, Der Rastadter Gesandtenmord (Vienna, 1874); BOhtlingk, Napoleon and der Rastadter Gesandtenmord (Leipzig, 1883); and Zum Rastadter Gesandtenmord (Heidelberg, 1895); H. Huffer, Der Rastadter Gesandtenmord (Bonn, 1896); and H. von Sybel, in Band 39 of the Historische Zeitschrift.

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