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City (2000: city, 166,558; metro. area, 402,387), northwestern Switzerland. It straddles the Rhine at the point where France, Germany, and Switzerland meet. It was originally a settlement of the Celtic Rauraci tribe. Its university, the first in Switzerland, was founded by Pope Pius II while attending the Council of Basel (1431–49). In 1501 Basel was admitted into the Swiss Confederation. When Desiderius Erasmus taught at the university (1521–29), the city became a centre of humanism and of the Reformation. Primarily German-speaking and Protestant, it is an important trading and industrial city and river port.
Variants of BASEL
Basel or Basle French Bâle
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Basel, visit Britannica.com.