From 1499 to 1679 - From humanism to the consequences
The Jewish community is brutally thrown out of Colmar and not allowed to return until the Revolution. Jews had been living in Colmar since the 13th century and were active in both the economic and cultural life of the city. A number of them were massacred during the plague of 1349.
The city´s statutes are changed and the number of guilds cut from twenty to ten.
Colmar finds itself in the middle of an intellectual, social and religious upheaval. It becomes a centre of Lutheran propaganda, with works pouring off the presses of the Farckall print shop. The city just managed to avoid the violent struggles of the Peasant war.
Paracelsis, the alchemist physician, finds refuge in Colmar before continuing on his wanderings.
The city acquires the nearby seigniory of Sainte-Croix-en-plaine.
After a number of scandals, the Magistrat or government of Colmar publishes a Klosterordnung that lays down the rules for the clerics living in the monasteries.
The Koïfhus in 1840, drawing by J. Rothmuller, lithograph by E. Simon fils, Strasbourg.
The German writer Georges Wickram, considered to be the originator of the popular novel in German, sets up a reputed singing school (Meistersingerschule) in Colmar.
Colmar is a pleasant city…
"It is situated on a fertile plain, far from the mountains, an hour along the track, with large quantities of wine and grain on either side, and the land is good for wheat, onions and other fruit of the garden. This city is in the centre of Alsace and is a single league away from Keisersperg, Ammersweiler, Rechenwyer and Rappoltzweyer, towns that make most excellent wine, the finest of all Alsace."
Sébastien Münster, Cosmographie, 1552
Colmar comes under the Lutheran reform. The public authorities offer the Protestant community use of the Franciscan church.
Mentelin´s Latin bible, 1459-1460.
First major book printed in Alsace. Colmar Municipal Library .
New fortifications, designed by Strasbourg architect Specklin, are built.
Colmar - imperial city
The free imperial city of Colmar. The illustrious magistrate offered us lunch and served us wine with toasts. Two ministers of the church sat at the meal, in the name of the City.
The city is well fortified; it is surrounded by a double moat and a double rampart and possesses an elegant arsenal.
Wolfgang Meyer, minister in Basel and Mulhouse, 1618
The Thirty Years War is in full sway and Protestantism is banned in Colmar. It will be re-introduced in 1632, under the Swedish occupation.
The Treaty of Rueil, signed on 1 August 1635, places Colmar under the protection of the King of France. The city keeps its status of Imperial city, its franchises, privileges, rights and customs and, even better, when the war is over, it should be restored to its previous position, as set out in the elegant wording of the Treaty, "the said city shall be restored to the condition which it enjoyed before the beginning of the troubles of Germany and Bohemia in 1618".
The Treaty of Munster in Westphalia gives part of Alsace over to France. Colmar, like all the other cities of the Décapole, remains an Imperial city. The French troops move out of Colmar.
Title page of the Apologia
of the Imperical City of Colmar,
published by D. Imlin and J.B Schneider,
Domilliers, subdelegate of the Intendant, ca.1660
View of Colmar in 1630.
The Dutch War sees the city occupied by troops of the King of France. The fortifications are destroyed and Colmar becomes an open city.
"On Wednesday 30 August, the Royal retinue, with over 200 coaches, rode in. It was 11 in the morning. Louis XIV rode around the place. In Andolsheim, where the court dined, Mlle de Montpensier, the Duchess of Orleans, noted down the words of the King: ´Messieurs les Colmariens are no longer as glorious as they once were´".
The demolition work continued unabated, with over 4,000 men knocking the fortifications down. Sappers blew up the towers and walls. On Saturday 2 September, the King stopped off at Colmar, on his way back from Brisach, to see how the demolition was going. When cheered by the soldiers, he cried out "Courage, courage, mes enfants !"
Under the Treaty of Nijmegen, Colmar becomes a "Royal city of France".