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Wuppertal History, Germany

Wuppertal history, even if not very long, it is quite interesting. Wuppertal’s unique topography bestowed as many advantages on the city as it posed challenges, making for many interesting happenings in the course of Wuppertal history.

Wuppertal dates back only to 1929, when the city was carved out by uniting neighboring communities like Barmen, Beyenburg, Cronenberg, Elberfeld, Langerfeld, Ronsdorf and Vohwinkel. Nevertheless, the region was quite well-known even in the 19th century – by then the individual townships had already gained reputation as leading commercial/industrial centers and the Barmen-Elberfeld area (merged around 1850) had become the leading industrial hub of Northwestern Germany. During this phase, the region also experienced an increase in population as people started settling in the vicinity; the bourgeois villas of Brill are the best example of settlements from those times.

The turn of the century saw the townships of the region being overshadowed by more potent industrialized centers like Cologne, Dusseldorf and the Ruhr area; still the region continued to develop at its own pace and way. A number of Wuppertal’s now-famous sites were built during this period. The year 1901 saw the introduction of the suspended monorail system ‘Schwebebahn’, which proved very beneficial for a hillside community. All the while, the region’s industries were luring people (especially working-class people) in hordes. By the 1920s, the situation required separate working-class districts like Olberg to be established, ultimately leading to the region’s incorporation as a city in 1929.

Wuppertal History – The City and its Beginnings

Incorporated in 1929, the city was initially named Barmen-Elberfeld; but a year later, in 1930, it was given its present name of Wuppertal (or Wupper Valley) because the city is nestled in the steep valley of the Wupper River. This initial phase of Wuppertal history saw the city becoming a part of the Rhine Province of the Free State of Prussia within the German Empire.

As part of the Prussian Rhine Province, Wuppertal made immense progress and became a center of cotton-weaving and dye-making. Wuppertal also became famous for calico-printing. This city also experienced all-round development, but it was not to last for long as WWII was knocking at the doors.

Wuppertal History during and after the Second World War

As the Second World War began, Wuppertal (like other industrial/commercial centers) became the target of Allies’ attacks. The attacks wrought havoc and by the end of the war about two-fifth of the city was destroyed. The end of WWII in 1945 saw Wuppertal becoming a part of the British Zone of Occupation and when the Prussian Rhine Province was divided in 1946, Wuppertal became a city of the North Rhine-Westphalia state of British-occupied Germany. After the division of Germany and the creation of West and East Germany in 1949, Wupperrtal became a West German city and it continued to be so until 1990 when the two Germanys were reunited.

Present-day Wuppertal is a major industrial center of the North Rhine-Westphalia State of the Federal Republic of Germany.

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