It is the birthplace of the former German chancellor Helmut Kohl and the philosopher Ernst Bloch. In antiquity, Celtic and Germanic tribes settled in the Rhine Neckar area. The Middle Ages saw the foundation of some of Ludwigshafen's future suburbs, including Oggersheim, Maudach, Oppau and Mundenheim; most of the area, however, remained swampland, its development hindered by seasonal flood of the Rhine river.The Rhine Neckar region was part of the territory of the Prince-elector of the Kurpfalz, or Electorate of the Palatinate, one of the larger states within the Holy Roman Empire.The Bavarian king, Ludwig I, set forth plans to rename the settlement after himself and to start construction of an urban area as a Bavarian rival to Mannheim on the opposite bank.During the failed German revolution of 1848 rebels captured Ludwigshafen, but they were bombarded from Mannheim (rumours said the Mannheimers didn't aim at the revolutionaries, but on the rival harbour's infrastructure), and Prussian troops quickly expelled the revolutionaries.
After several discussions, BASF decided to move its factories from Mannheim to the Hemshof district, which belonged to Ludwigshafen.In the area between the city centre and those two suburbs new quarters (“North” and “South”) were built after (then) modern urban development plans.Because the ground was marshy and too low to be protected from Rhine floods, all the new houses were built on raised ground, sometimes as high as 5 metres above the original ground.In the 17th century the region was devastated and depopulated during the Thirty Years' War, and also in King Louis XIV of France´s wars of conquest in the later part of the century.It was only in the 18th century that the settlements around the Rheinschanze began to prosper, profiting from the proximity of the capital Mannheim.
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Their activities marked the beginning of the civilian use of the Rheinschanze.The year 1844 was the official birth of Ludwigshafen, when Lichtenberger sold this property to the state of Bavaria (Bayern), and the military title of the fortress was finally removed.Visitors can see the original ground level in many backyards of Ludwigshafen, which are sometimes two floors below street level.During World War I (1914-1918), Ludwigshafen's industrial plants played a key role in Germany's war economy, producing chemical ingredients for munitions, as well as much of the poison gas used on the Western Front.War returned to the Ludwigshafen area with the armies of the French Revolution.
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