City of Memmingen:History

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Stadtarchiv Memmingen
Ulmer Straße 19
87700 Memmingen

Tel.: 08331/850-143
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stadtarchiv(at)memmingen.de

History and stories

Time travel in Memmingen

 

1128: The first documentary mention of Memmingen as "mammingin" n the confirmation of a deed of gift for Ochsenhausen monastery.

From Mammo via Mammingin to Memmingen

The development of the name makes it easy to surmise how the town has changed over the centuries: from a small settlement in late Roman times, Memmingen matures to a free imperial town, to an urban gem in the Swabian Bavarian alpine upland.

Market rights and a coat of arms lay the foundation for the citizens of Memmingen to successfully and influentially shape the late middle ages and early modern age: Memmingen merchants send the first German merchant ship overseas as early as 1506, diplomats of the citizenry are represented in all imperial assemblies, their artists and scientists move in circles which contain the likes of distinguished personalities such as Dürer or Gutenberg.

Reformation

This success gave the Memmingen middle classes a sense of self-confidence, which later had consequences in the first quarter of the 16th century: Along with Zurich, Geneva and Wittenberg, the town becomes a centre for the Reformation – Memmingen becomes Protestant.

The atmosphere in Memmingen is defined by civic pride and the need for self-rule. This causes the rebellious peasants to choose Memmingen as their gathering centre in 1525: Here, the 12 peasant articles are drafted which become Europe’s first declaration of human rights.

Flourishing in the mediaeval trading town

The architectural masterpieces of this time still indicate nowadays that the mediaeval trading town flourished both economically and culturally. Its upsurge ended due to the 30-year war, during which the citizens had to endure three escalades. After this turning point, Memmingen loses more and more of its influence in politics and economics. However, it is only at the beginning of the 19th century that time has finally run out for the free imperial town – Memmingen becomes Bavarian.

Civil virtues

Fifty years later, the people of Memmingen remember their old civil virtues and take matters into their own hands again: they initiate and finance the building of the railway and thus pave the road to new economic boom. In this way, the people of Memmingen – acting on their own initiative - open up new vistas in the past as well as in the present to safeguard and improve their town and to shape the future together.