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The city of Frankfurt, known officially as Frankfurt am Main, is situated on the River Main, which is a tributary of the Rhine in the state of Hesse.

There were Roman settlements in what is now Frankfurt as far back as the first century, occupied by Franks and Alemanni, both of which were confederations of Germanic tribes.

In 794, Charlemagne convened and presided over an imperial assembly known as the Council of Frankfurt to address concerns about the Spain's Adoptionist movement and the Second Council of Nicaea and numerous other theological positions. It was for this reason the name Franconofurt was mentioned in writing for the first time. Charlemagne's son Louis the Pious chose Frankfurt as his seat, expanded the palatinate and built a bigger palace. In 838, Louis had the entire city encircled by walls and moats.

Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 800, which made Frankfurt an important city, and in short order, a royal settlement grew up around the city, which became the royal residence of the East Frankish kings from the ninth century into the middle ages. Frankfurt became the capital of East Francia and the principal seat of the eastern realm after the Treaty of Verdun in 843. Emperors and kings often stayed in the city, and church councils and Imperial Diet were held there.

In 1146, the pope sent the French abbott Bernard of Clairvaux out to preach thee Second Crusade. Bernard arrived at a Frankfurt in 1147 and called various men, among them Hohenstaufen King Conrad III, to the Crusade. Prior to Conrad's departure for Jerusalem, he chose his ten-year-old son as his heir. Sadly, the boy died shortly thereafter. Because of this, an election to replace the heir was held five years later in Frankfurt, the Hohenstaufen ruler Frederick Barbarossa was elected king Frederick I. Frankfurt was thereafter the customary place for elections and coronation. In 1356, the Golden Bull of Emperor Charles IV, the equivalent of the constitution of the Holy Roman Empire, named Frankfurt as the permanent place for the election of German kings.

In 1372, Frankfurt became a free imperial city, which is to say, a city subject to the authority of the German king, a status retained by the city until 1806, at which time Napoleon I designated it the seat of government. It became the capital of the Grand Duchy of Frankfurt, which was a confederacy created in 1810 by Napoleon, consisting of all of Germany except for Prussia and Austria, as well as the kingdoms of Wurttemberg and Bavaria, Saxony, and the states of Hesse-Darmstadt, Nassau, Baden, and Berg. The Grand Duchy failed in 1813 when the military turned its loyalty to the Anglo-Prussia alliance.

Frankfurt once again became a free city when Napoleon fell in 1815, and in 1848-49, the Frankfurt National Assembly met in the city. Frankfurt am Main was the seat of the German Federal Diet, or Bundestag, hence making it the capital of Germany in 1816. Frankfurt was conquered and annexed by Prussia after the Seven Weeks' War in 1866, losing the city's status as a free city.

Frankfurt's Old Town was the largest medieval city in Germany, but during the Second World War, it was virtually destroyed by Allied bombing campaigns. It has since been rebuilt with more modern buildings mixed in with the rebuilt older buildings.

Today, it is a leading center of high technology, finances, and commerce. And of course, its quality sausages, known as frankfurters, live on.



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