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The New Student's Reference Work/Frankfort-on-the-Main

Frankfort-on-the-Main, a city of Prussia, once a free city, is situated on the right bank of the Main, 22 miles from its junction with the Rhine at Mainz. There are seven bridges across the Main at Frankfort, one of them built in 1342. The city has been extended and improved, the fortifications being replaced by ornamental promenades and the river bordered by broad quays. One of the squares is adorned with a statue of Goethe, its most celebrated citizen, and the Gutenberg monument commemorates the invention of printing. The exchange, opera-house, museums, art-galleries, public library, two conservatories of music and the central station, one of the largest and handsomest railroad-stations in Europe, are among the modern buildings. Frankfort is a wealthy city, having always had a large trade in iron and steel-goods, leather, skins, coal, wine and beer, sewing machines, soap and perfumery. Its chief importance, however, is due to its being one of the money-markets in the world. It was the home of the Rothschilds, and their ancestral house is now the sole relic of the famous Jew-street of Frankfort. It is said to owe its name to Charlemagne, who here led his Franks across a ford of the river Main; and from 843 to 889 it was the capital of his kingdom. It was the first free city of the German empire, and the most important. It was long famous as the place of the election of the German emperors, and the town-house contains the imperial hall where each newly elected emperor held a public banquet. The coronation took place in the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew, which also contains the chapel in which the electors voted. The North German Diet met at Frankfort from 1816 to 1866. Frankfort became Protestant in 1530; lost its independence in the Confederation of the Rhine; became free again in 1816; but in 1866 was taken by Prussia. The peace of Frankfort, which ended the Franco-German War, was signed here in May, 1871. Population 414,598.