Constance, Or Costnitz
CONSTANCE, or COSTNITZ, a city of the grand duchy of Baden, and the chief town of a circle of its own name, formerly called the See Kreis, or Lake Circle, is situated on the southern or Swiss side of the Rhine, at its exit from the Lake of Constance, 30 miles east of Schaffhausen by railway. It stands 1298 feet above the level of the sea. The older portion of the city is still surrounded by its ancient walls, but beyond their limits lie extensive suburbs, of which the most remarkable are Briffil, Kreuzliugen, Paradies, and Petershausen. The last of these, which has grown up round a free imperial abbey, is situated on the other side of the river, and communicates with the city by means of a long covered bridge raised on stone piers. A large number of the buildings of Constance are of medival origin, and several are of high interest both to the historian and antiquary. Most remarkable are the minster, originally founded in 1048, but dating in its present form mainly from the beginning of the 16th century ; St Stephen's Church, belonging to the 14th ; the old Dominican convent on the island of Genf (now a cotton-printing factory) ; the Kaufhans, or public mart, in the hall of which sat the famous council of 1414-1418 ; and the old chancery or town-hall, erected in 1503. Besides the various administrative offices of the circle the town further possesses a gymnasium, a lyceum, various collections of antiquities, a public callection of books and pictures in the JVessenberg Haus, and a valuable series of archives. Since the introduction of steam-boat and railway communication the commercial prosperity of the city has greatly increased. It now cuntains cotton-factories, linen-factories, carpet-looms, and breweries, maintains a considerable activity in printing and publishing, and has a vigorous and varied local trade. Population in 1864; 8516 ; in 1872, 10,061.
Constance probably dates from the 3d or 4th century ; but it first began to be of importance in the 6th, when it became the seat of the bishop who had previously been settled. at Winclisch or Vindonissa in Aargau. It afterwards obtained the rank of an imperial city, and rose to be one of the largest and most flourishing municipalities in Germany. From 1414 to 1418 it was the seat of the great ecclesiastical council which, under the presidency of the emperor Sigismund, and consisting of 26 princes, 140 counts, more than 20 cardinals, 20 archbishops, 91 bishops, 600 prelates and doctors, and about 4000 priests, constituted itself the highest authority in the church, condemned. to death the reformers Huss andJerome of Prague, expelled the three rival popes John XXIII., Gregory XII., and Benedict X111., and elected Martin V. as the legitimate successor of St Peter. Constance joined the Smalkaldic League and refused to accept the "Interim." It was accordingly deprived of its imperial privileges, and in 1549 was presented by the emperor to his brother, the Archduke Ferdinand, in whose territory it remained till 1805, when it was acquired by Baden. The bishopric, which was secularized in the latter year, had become the largest in all Germany, stretching over a great part of Wiirtemberg, Baden, and Switzerland, and containing 350 conventual establishments and 1760 parsonages.