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Definition of BASEL
former canton NW Switzerland, now divided into two half cantons: Ba·sel–Land\ˈbä-zəl-ˌlänt\ (∗ Liestal area 165 sq miles or 429 sq kilometers, pop 261,400) & Ba·sel–Stadt\-ˌshtät\ (∗ Basel area 14 sq miles or 36 sq kilometers, pop 186,700)
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.