From the 30-Year War ...

Cityscape by Merian 17 century © Stadtarchiv Speyer

... until the Congress of Vienna (17th - 18th centuries)

Speyer stood astride the conflicting priorities of the two religions. The imperial city was a member of the federation of the Protestant Union, but as a diocesan city, it was also subject to the influence of the Catholic League.


Cityscape by Merian 17 century © Stadtarchiv Speyer During the 30-Year War, the city proved to be scarcely capable of defending itself but it became a refuge, military hospital, resupply camp and military encampment. One after another, Spanish, Swedish, French and imperial forces occupied Speyer. It was not until 1650 that the last foreign forces left but they left behind debt, hunger and plagues.

In 1689, during the War of Palatine Succession, Speyer experienced the biggest and most momentous destruction in its history at the hands of French soldiers. The entire city stood in flames, surviving residents were drivBombardment of Speyer in 1735 probably © Stadtarchiv Speyeren out and scattered in all directions to the Southwest. The damage was estimated at 3.3 million guilders. Ten years later, reconstruction slowly began. The baroque Holy Trinity Church, Town Hall, and Town Store all bear witness to this era.

In the War of Liberation against Napoleon, Austrian, French and German troops took turns occupying the city. It was not until the Congress of Vienna that the European world of states was organized anew. This produced stable power relationships, even in the Palatine region. For a few hours, Speyer stood once again in the spotlight of European politics. On June 27, 1815, Czar Alexander of Russia, Emperor Franz I of Austria and Prussia's King Friedrich Wilhelm III met in Allied Headquarters in the city.

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