Introduction of Basel
City and canton on both banks of the Rhine River, 43 mi N of Bern. An early episcopal see after the fall of Rome, it became a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire and was the site of the Council of Basel from 1431 to 1449. It was later a center of Renaissance humanism. Erasmus wrote and edited here until the city became Protestant in 1523. Froben and Amerbach established publishing houses, and Beatus Rhenanus led a team of scholar-editors here. A member of the Swiss Confederation since 1501, the city was split into two small cantons by a revolt in 1833, with the agricultural section becoming the present Basel-Land and the city proper becoming almost coextensive with Basel-Stadt. The metropolitan area, extending into France and Germany is a major center for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.