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The mineral wealth of Baden is not great; but iron, coal, zinc and lead of excellent quality are produced, and silver, copper, gold, cobalt, vitriol and sulphur are obtained in small quantities. Peat is found in abundance, as well as gypsum, china-clay, potters' earth and salt. The mineral springs of Baden are very numerous and have acquired great celebrity, those of Baden-Baden, Badenweiler, Antogast, Griesbach, Freiersbach and Petersthal being the most frequented.

In the valleys the soil is particularly fertile, yielding luxuriant crops of wheat, maize, barley, spelt, beans, potatoes, flax, hemp, hops, beetroot and tobacco; and even in the more mountainous parts rye, wheat and oats are extensively cultivated. There is a considerable extent of pasture land, and the rearing of cattle, sheep, pigs and goats is largely practised. Of game, deer, wild boars, hares, snipe and partridges are fairly abundant, while the mountain streams yield trout of excellent quality. The culture of the vine increases, and the wines, which are characterized by a mildness of flavour, are in good demand. The gardens and orchards supply great abundance of fruits, especially almonds and walnuts; and bee-keeping is common throughout the country. A greater proportion of Baden than of any other of the south German states is occupied by forests. In these the predominant trees are the fir and pine, but many others, such as the chestnut, are well represented. A third, at least, of the annual supply of timber is exported.

Population.—At the beginning of the 19th century Baden was only a margraviate, with an area little exceeding 1300 sq. m., and a population of 210,000. Since then it has from time to time acquired additional territory, so that its area now amounts to 5823 sq. m., and its population (1905) to 2,009,320, of whom about 60% are Roman Catholics, 37% Protestants, 1½% Jews, and the remainder of other confessions. Of the population, about one-half may be classified as rural, i.e. living in communities of less than 2000 inhabitants; while the density of the population is about 330 to the square mile. The country is divided into the following districts, with the respective chief towns and populations as shown:—

District. Chief towns. Pop. (1905)
(1) Mannheim Mannheim 162,607
  Heidelberg 49,439
(2) Karlsruhe Karlsruhe 111,200
  Pforzheim 59,307
(3) Freiburg-im-Breisgau Freiburg 74,102
(4) Constance Constance 24,818

The capital of the duchy is Karlsruhe, and among important towns other than the above are Rastatt, Baden-Baden, Bruchsal and Lahr. The population is most thickly clustered in the north and in the neighbourhood of the Swiss town of Basel. The inhabitants of Baden are of various origin—those to the north of the Murg being descended from the Alemanni and those to the south from the Franks, while the Swabian plateau derives its name and its population from another race. (See Württemberg.)

Industries.—Of the area, 56.8% is cultivated and 38% forest, but the agricultural industry, which formerly yielded the bulk of the wealth of the country, is now equalled, if not surpassed, by the industrial output, which has attained very considerable dimensions. The chief articles of manufacture are machinery, woollen and cotton goods, silk ribbons, paper, tobacco, leather, china, glass, clocks, jewellery and chemicals. Beet sugar is also largely manufactured, and the inhabitants of the Black Forest have long been celebrated for their dexterity in the manufacture of wooden ornaments and toys, musical boxes and organs.

The exports of Baden, which coincide largely with the industries just mentioned, are of considerable importance, but the bulk of its trade consists in the transit of goods. The country is well furnished with roads and railways, the greater proportion of the latter being in the hands of the state. A line runs the whole length of the land, for the most part parallel with the Rhine, while branches cross obliquely from east to west. Mannheim is the great emporium for the export of goods down the Rhine and has a large river traffic. It is also the chief manufacturing town of the duchy and the seat of administrative government for the northern portion of the country.

Education and Religion.—The educational establishments of Baden are numerous and flourishing, and public education is entirely in the hands of the government. There are two universities, the Protestant at Heidelberg and the Roman Catholic at Freiburg-im-Breisgau, and a celebrated technical college at Karlsruhe. The grand-duke is a Protestant; under him the Evangelical Church is governed by a nominated council and a synod consisting of the “prelate,” 48 elected, and 7 nominated lay and clerical members. The Roman Catholic archbishop of Freiburg is metropolitan of the Upper Rhine.

Constitution and Government.—The government of Baden is an hereditary monarchy, with the executive power vested in the grand-duke, while the legislative authority is shared by him with a representative assembly (Landtag) consisting of two chambers. The upper chamber is composed of all the princes of the reigning family who are of full age; the chiefs of the mediatized families; the archbishop of Freiburg; the president of the Protestant Evangelical church; a deputy from each of the universities and from the technical high school, eight members elected by the territorial nobility for four years, three representatives of the chamber of commerce, two of that of agriculture, one of that of trades, two mayors of municipalities, one burgomaster of lesser towns, one member of a district council, and eight members (two of them legal functionaries) nominated by the grand-duke. The lower chamber consists of 73 popular representatives, of whom 24 are elected by the burgesses of certain towns and 49 by the rural communities. Every citizen of 25 years of age, who has not been convicted and is not a pauper, has a vote. The elections are, however, indirect; the citizens nominating the Wahlmänner (deputy electors) and the latter electing the representatives. The chambers meet at least every two years. The members of the lower chamber are elected for four years, half the number retiring at the expiration of every two years. The executive consists of four departments of state—those of the interior, of foreign affairs and of the grand-ducal house, of finance, and of justice, ecclesiastical affairs and education. The chief sources of revenue are direct and indirect taxes, domains and railways. The last are worked by the state, and the sole public debt, amounting to about 22 millions sterling, is attributable to this head. The supreme courts of justice of the duchy are in Karlsruhe, Freiburg, Offenburg, Heidelberg, Mosbach, Waldshut, Constance and Mannheim, whence appeals lie to the Reichsgericht (supreme tribunal of the empire) in Leipzig. By virtue of a convention with Prussia, of 1871, the Baden army forms a portion of the Prussian army.

History.—During the middle ages the district which now forms the grand-duchy of Baden was ruled by various counts, prominent among whom were the counts and dukes of Zähringen. In 1112 Hermann, a son of Hermann, margrave of Verona (d. 1074), and grandson of Bertold, duke of Carinthia and count of Zähringen, having inherited some of the German estates of his family, called himself margrave of Baden, and from this date the separate history of Baden may be said to begin. Hermann appears to have called himself by the title of margrave, and not the more usual title of count, owing to the connexion of his family with the margraviate of Verona. His son and grandson, both named Hermann, added to their territories, which about 1200 were divided, and the lines of Baden-Baden and Baden-Hochberg were founded, the latter of which was divided about a century later into the branches of Baden-Hochberg and Baden-Sausenberg. The family of Baden-Baden was very successful in increasing the area of its possessions, which after several divisions were united by the margrave Bernard I. in 1391. Bernard, a soldier of some renown, continued the work of his predecessors, and obtained other districts, including Baden-Hochberg, the ruling family of which died out in 1418.

During the 15th century a war with the count palatine of the Rhine deprived Margrave Charles I. (d. 1475) of a part of his territories, but these losses were more than repaired by his son and successor, Christopher I. In 1503 the family of Baden-