More than twice as old as Nuremberg or Munich, Augsburg was founded in 15 B.C. by the Roman commanders Drusus and Tiberius. Under the orders of their stepfather Emperor Augustus, they enslaved the Celts and Alp-dwellers and founded the military camp Augusta Vindelicum on the site of current-day Augsburg. The camp soon became the capital of the Roman province Raetia.
Augsburg’s early development of was molded by its 400-year affiliation with the Roman Empire. Critical to its ascent were its military importance in the Roman Empire as well as its favorable location at the convergence of the Alpine rivers Lech and Wertach with direct access to the most important Alpine passes. Consequently, Augsburg was situated at the intersection of many important European east-west and north-south connections. Out of these Roman roads emerged the trade routes of the Middle Ages.
In the 13th century, Augsburg became a Free Imperial City and remained so for the next 500 years. Augsburg has been the seat of a bishop for over 1250 years.
The peak boom years were reached in the 15th and 16th centuries through the bank and metal businesses of the merchant families Fugger and Welser. The financial power of these families fostered Augsburg’s position as a cosmopolitan city, as a city of emperors and parliaments. It was a creative center for famous painters, sculptors and musicians. Augsburg is the birthplace of the painter family Holbein, the composer Leopold Mozart and the playwright Berthold Brecht. Rococo became so prevalent in that it became known as “Augsburg style”.
After the Thirty Years’ War, the decorative arts came into fruition. Gold- and silversmiths as well as copper engraving and lithography flourished. At the end of the 18th century, the textile industry began its rise to prominence followed by machine manufacturing. Groundbreaking innovations in industry leant Augsburg international standing.
Rudolf Diesel constructed the first internal combustion engine here, Linde built the first refrigerator, Messerschmitt created the first mass-produced jet airplane. Today, with its rich heritage, Augsburg and the region are centers for industry, science, art and culture. Augsburg has circa 275,000 inhabitants, is a university city and is the third largest economic- and industrial center in Bavaria. The city of Augsburg and its surrounding rural areas offer attractive business and industry zones and are the headquarters of research institutions and technology concerns.
Augsburg is the only German city with its own legal holiday, the Peace of Augsburg, celebrated on August 8 of every year. This gives Augsburg more legal holidays than any other region or city in Germany.