ALTONA, the richest and most populous city of the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein, is situated on the north bank of the Elbe, so close to Hamburg that the two cities are virtually one. The rise of Altona to its present position has been rapid, at least for a continental city, and is mainly due to the fostering care of the Danish government, who established it as a rival to Hamburg. In 1640, when it became the property of Denmark, it was a small fishing village; in 1871 it contained 74,131 inhabitants. After the war of 1864 it ceased to belong to Denmark, and eventually became part of Prussia, although, with Hamburg, it is not included in the Zollverein. It carries on a large trade with Britain, France, the West Indies, and other countries; but it has by no means succeeded in depriving Hamburg of its commercial pre-eminence - great part of the business of Altona being, indeed, transacted on the Hamburg exchange. Tobacco is probably the chief manufacture, but there are also breweries, tanneries, oil-works, soap-works, and linen factories. Altona is a well-built modern town, really dating from 1713 (when the Swedes burnt it to the ground), with a higher situation than that of Hamburg, and consequently a purer and healthier atmosphere. It contains an observatory of some celebrity, several churches, two synagogues, a gymnasium, and an infirmary. It is the terminus of the Altona-Kiel Railway, which places it in connection with the principal towns of Schleswig-Holstein.