Krefeld, also called the “Velvet and Silk City”, is a German city situated in North Rhine-Westphalia, to the northwest of Düsseldorf.
The city was founded by the Roman legions from the military camp of Gelduba. It was documentary attested for the first time in 1105 and named Krinvelde. Uerdingen, a district of the city of Krefeld, was initially attested as a city in 1255, being more important than Krefeld.
Krefeld started to develop in the 17th century, but it suffered the horrors of the Thirty Years War.
In 1683 due to overpopulation, thirteen families (Quakers and Mennonites) members of different religious movements left Krefeld and crossed the Atlantic to the New World. Over time, the various dialects spoken by these immigrants fused into a unique dialect known as Pennsylvania Dutch or Pennsylvania German. The Pennsylvania German ethnic identity was set in Germantown (now incorporated in Philadelphia).
Unlike Krefeld, Uerdingen was less fortunate being completely destroyed in the Thirty Years’ War by troops from Hesse and almost ceased to exist.
Krefeld passed to the Kingdom of Prussia (a German kingdom between 1701 and 1918) after the death of William III of Orange in 1702. In 1758 took place the Battle of Krefeld between a Prussian-Hanoverian army and a French army, during the Seven Years’ War.
In 1815 Krefeld and Uerdingen were included in the Prussian Province of Jülich-Cleves-Berg which became in1822 the Rhine Province) the westernmost province of the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1872 Krefeld was an independent city in Rhenish Prussia. During the occupation of the Rhineland in the First World War Krefeld became the base of the Belgian Army. In 1929 Krefeld and Uerdingen merged to form Krefeld-Uerdingen and in 1940 the name was shortened to simply Krefeld. After World War II the town became part of the new state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
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