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Rare plan of Hunningen on the Rhine River, published in London by John Luffman.

The text at the bottom notes:

The Fortress of Hunningen was constructed by Vauban, in 1679, by order of Louis Fourteenth.  It is situated in Alsace, at a short distance from Basle.  Latitude 47. 42 N. Longe. 11.40 E. of London.


Huningue was first mentioned in a document in 826. Huningue was wrested from the Holy Roman Empire by the Duke of Lauenburg in 1634 by the Treaty of Westphalia, and subsequently passed by purchase to Louis XIV. Louis XIV tasked Vauban with the construction of Huningue Fortress, built by Tarade from 1679 to 1681 together with a bridge across the Rhine.  Construction of the fortress required the displacement of the population on the island of Aoust and the surrounding area.

The fortress became embroiled in the Salmon War of 1736/37. This was mainly concerned with a dispute over fishing rights between Huningue and Kleinhüningen, but actually involved land required for the construction of a bridgehead on the right bank of the Rhine.

In 1796 to 1797, Huningue was besieged by the Austrians. During the siege the French Commander, General Abbatucci was killed on 1 December 1796 while commanding a sortie, the fort held out for a further month, surrendering on 5 February 1797. The fortress was besieged from 22 December 1813 until 14 April 1814 by Bavarian troops under the command of General Zoller before the French garrison surrendered. Huningue was besieged for the third time in 1815 and General Barbanègre headed a garrison of only 500 men against 25,000 Austrians. On the 28 June shortly after word of Napoleon's abdication became known, and the French Provisional Government had requested a ceasefire, Barbanègre ordered the bombardment of Basel something that contemporaries on the Seventh Coalition side considered to be a war crime. At its surrender to the Habsburg Empire on 26 August 1815, the city was a ruin and the fortifications were demolished under the terms of Article III of the Treaty of Paris (1815) at the request of Basel.

The building of the Huningue channel in 1828 made the area more navigable (the entire channel system was completed in 1834); it provided water to the Rhone-Rhine canal. The Huningue canal is a feeder arm of this Rhone–Rhine Canal; it enters the river opposite the main dock basins.  Only about a kilometre of the canal is still navigable, leading to the town of Kembs.

In 1871, the town passed, with Alsace-Lorraine, to the German Empire.  Alsace-Lorraine returned to France after the First World War. It was evacuated in 1939, retaken by Germany in 1940 with some 60% of the town destroyed during World War II, and finally returned to France once again in 1945. In 2007, a bridge over the Rhine, linking Huningue with Weil am Rhein, Germany was built.