800 years. That’s how long a time the history of Berlin has spanned. And despite its long-winded history, the city that is known to the world today is in relatively good shape. In fact, the capital city of Germany which also has the largest population is a thriving metropolis which melds hints of the past while providing glimpses of the future.
Berlin History: Key Dates in the City’s Past
To have an idea about the eight-century history that Berlin has gone through, here are some of the key dates in the city’s past which are worth recalling:
- It was during this century that a couple of neighboring towns involved in trading, called Berlin and Coelln, joined forces to form a district called Mitte or center.
- Prussian “Soldier King” Frederick William I developed the city and made Berlin its capital.
- It was during this year that there was a Napoleonic occupation of Berlin which led to the formation of a powerful liberal reform movement.
- William I became the emperor of the Second German Reich and Berlin became its capital.
- After the First World War, Berlin has grown to be a center for the arts, entertainment and it has also established itself as a force to reckon with in industrial manufacturing. During the Nazi era, Berlin remained as the capital of Germany.
A Glimpse at Berlin’s Dark History
The period after the First World War was the ‘highlight’ of Berlin’s dark history. Under the Nazi rule, more than 60,000 Berlin Jews died during the Holocaust. This comprised nearly half of the city’s population back then. Aside from those who died, thousands of other fled the country
In 1961, the famous Berlin Wall was built to prevent East Berliners from fleeing to the western part of the city which is more prosperous.
After the Second World War, Berlin emerged as being a city comprised of no more than a rubble with only half of the population left. Those were born early enough would already remember how the Potsdam Agreement divided the city of Berlin into four parts ruled by the Allies: the United States, Britain, France and USSR.
Finally, in 1989, the fall of the Berlin wall occurred. The Berlin that the current generation of Berliners know today is still very much a work in progress when it comes to its being the capital of a democratic state.