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Basel

switzerland founded city canton

Basel (pop. 174,600), second largest city in Switzerland, capital of the half-canton of Basel Stadt. The city is Switzerland's only river port, located on the Rhine, its major trans-European railhead, and one of its most important commercial, industrial, and financial centers. Situated at the junction of the French and German borders, Basel is a key distribution center for raw materials and manufactured products between northern and central Europe. The most important industries are chemical, electrical, and machine engineering.

Founded by the Romans, Basel joined the Swiss confederation as a canton in 1501. It later became the center of the Protestant Reformation, Luther's writings being printed here. The city's ancient cathedral (founded 1019) housed the great ecumenical council of 1431–48, and Erasmus is buried there. Switzerland's oldest university, founded in 1459, is in Basel.

See also: Switzerland.

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