RATIBOR (Polish Raciborz), a town of Germany, in the Prussian province of Silesia, pleasantly situated on the left bank of the Oder at the point where the river becomes navigable, 13 m. from the Austrian frontier and 97 m. by rail S.E. of Breslau, on the main line to Oderberg. Pop. (1905) 32,690. The most prominent buildings are the handsome law-courts by Schinkel and the imposing château of the dukes of Ratibor, which occupies a commanding position on the right bank of the Oder. The town is the seat of various industries, the chief products of which are machinery, railway gear, iron wares, tobacco, cigars, paper, sugar, furniture and glass. Trade is carried on in these and in coal, wood and agricultural produce, while hemp and vegetables are largely grown in the environs.
Ratibor, which received municipal privileges in 1217, was formerly the capital of an independent duchy, 380 sq. m. in extent, which existed from 1288 to 1532, and afterwards passed successively into the hands of Austria and Prussia. In 1821 a small mediate principality was formed out of the old lordship of Ratibor and certain ecclesiastical domains, and was conferred upon Victor Amadeus, landgrave of Hesse-Rotenburg, as compensation for some Hessian territory absorbed by Prussia. The title of duke of Ratibor was revived in 1840 for his heir, Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfiirst (1818-1893).
See A. Weitzel, Geschichte der Stadt and Herrschaft Ratibor (2nd ed., Ratibor, 1881).
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