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Sunday, 1 April 2012


Basel is the capital of Basel-Stadt demi-canton, Switzerland, situated on the Rhine at the point where the French, German, and Swiss borders meet.

Basel was a strong military station under the Romans.

Following the spread of the Black Death through Basel, the Jews were accused of having poisoned the wells, on account of the fact that they suffered a lower mortality rate than the local gentiles from the pestilence. The reasons for the lower death rate of Jews from the plague were in fact due to mandatory hygiene practices outlined in their scriptures.
On January 9, 1349 the Jewish population of Basel was rounded up and incinerated. Following the massacre, it was decreed that all Jews were banned from settling in the city of Basel for 200 years. However, the city's subsequent financial collapse necessitated their early re-admittance.

On October 18, 1356 the most significant earthquake to have occurred in Central Europe in recorded history destroyed Basel, and caused much destruction in a vast region extending into France and Germany.

Basel was one of the literary cent res of the Reformation period and many books were printed on its presses between 1468 and 1500, of which 324 are in the British Library.

Its university was founded in 1460 and became famous under the Dutch scholar Erasmus.

In 1501 Basel joined the Swiss confederation.

Source Hutchinson Encyclopedia © RM 2012. Helicon Publishing is division of RM.

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