History of Frankfurt As the legend has it, when the Saxons defeated Charlemagne, King of the Franks, in the 8th Century CE, he fled westward with his troops, only to have his path blocked by the River Main. Suddenly, a deer sprang out of the forest and crossed the river by a ford (Furt). The Franks (Franken) followed the deer across the river and thus escaped slaughter by the Saxons. Overjoyed at their salvation, Charlemagne built a town to protect the ford. This town was named Frankfurt. Each and every resident of Frankfurt knows the story of the king and the deer, but the origins of the town go back much farther. Archaeologists have discovered the foundations of buildings which date back over 7,000 years! Frankfurt was occupied by the Romans in the first few centuries CE, then by the Alemanians and later by Charlemagne's Franks. In around 700 CE, a stone church and a palace were built on the site of today's cathedral, the Dom. Documents dating from 1140 describe Frankfurt as an important trading town. Frankfurt became the venue for an annual trade fair in 1240, and a spring trade fair was established after 1330. Frankfurt's first book fair was held in 1480. Frankfurt was also the venue for the election and crowning of Germany's kings, with the first king elected here in 1147. Frankfurt became a free town in 1372, and a total of 10 kings and emperors were crowned in the Dom after 1562. By the early 14th Century, Frankfurt's population had grown to over 10,000 and the town was bursting at the seams. A new city wall with moats and fortresses was built in 1333, and the Zum Römer house was acquired by the city in 1405 for use as a town hall. In 1533, Protestant Frankfurt joined forces with the Lutherans, and was consequently invaded by the Emperor's army. Once the freedom of religion was established in the Edict of Augsburg (1555), Frankfurt was allowed to call itself a "Protestant-free city". Social unrest and the "Milk Rebellion" of 1614 made the Patricians flee the town. The Jewish ghetto (near the Old Jewish Cemetery) was plundered and the Jewish community tormented. On the August 28, 1749, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt (see Goethe's House) and spent his formative years studying law in the city. In 1782, the first municipal theatre was opened here. After the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, Frankfurt sided with the royalists and was brutally savaged by Napoleon's troops in the following years. After the collapse of Napoleon's Empire in 1814, the "free city" became the permanent seat of the Council of the German Federation. The first German National Assembly met in the Paulskirche on May 18, 1848. But the passing of a constitution and the choosing of a new German Emperor failed, and the people's rebellion that followed was bloodily suppressed by Prussian troops. During the Prussian-Austrian War, Prussian troops occupied neutral Frankfurt in the 1860s and burnt the cathedral to the ground. The founding of the Second German Reich in 1870-71 led to a major economic boom in Frankfurt: bridges were built, sewage and water systems installed and industrial enterprises founded. Fantastic buildings such as the Alte Oper, Hauptbahnhof and Städel were erected. The city increased in size and swallowed up many of the surrounding villages and towns. The First World War left Frankfurt largely untouched. Frankfurt University was founded in October 1914 and the trade fair was reestablished in 1920. In the following years, the Waldstadion stadium, racetrack, main market hall and an airport were built. The 1930s global depression took its toll on the city. On March 12 1933, the Nazis came to power. The deportation and extermination of Frankfurt's Jewish community began in 1941. Frankfurt was heavily bombed by the Allies during the latter years of the War, which ended when American troops moved into Frankfurt on March 26, 1945.turkeyarena.com In the rebuilding period which followed the War, Frankfurt received a new face. Over 150,000 flats were built, as too were industrial complexes and hundreds of high-rises in the Banking Quarter. In 1949, Frankfurt lost out to Bonn in the race to become the capital of West Germany. But this did nothing to halt the city's rapid development into an international economic metropolis. With over 400 banks (including the headquarters of the German Bundesbank and the European Central Bank) and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, Frankfurt has become one of the world's most important financial centers.