Hildesheim , a town of Prussia, in the province and 18 m. S. E. of the city of Hanover; pop. in 1871, 20,532, including about G,500 Roman Catholics and 400 Jews. The construction of the town is irregular, but the crooked streets are exceedingly quaint, and vestiges of remote antiquity abound in every direction, especially in the churches, many of which are Roman Catholic, owing to the mediaeval celebrity of the place as the capital of a great episcopal see; and it continues to be the seat of a Roman Catholic bishop. The cathedral contains a treasury rich in antique church plate, and many famous relics and works of art. Other renowned Catholic edifices are those of St. Godehard and St. Michael, and St. Andrew's Lutheran church is remarkable for its lofty towers. Hildesheim abounds in hos-pitals and charitable institutions, and among the numerous schools are seminaries for Roman Catholics and Protestants. The trade consists chiefly in agricultural and horticultural products, and leather, sail cloth, tobacco, and carriages are manufactured.
In 1808 many Roman antiquities were discovered here, including a number of silver vessels, supposed to belong to the camp equipment of Varus. - Charlemagne founded the see of Elze, which was transferred by Louis le Debonnaire to Hildesheim shortly after his father's death. In the 10th and 11th centuries, under the bishopries of St. Bernward and St. Godehard, it reached an importance which, despite occasional conflicts, went on increasing till early in the 16th century, when a bitter struggle, known in history as the Hildesheimer Stiftsfehde, resulted in the annexation of a great part of the territory to the Brunswick dominions. Many of these possessions were restored to the sec in 1043, and full religious liberty was secured in 1711 for the Protestant population, who had long been subjected to persecutions on the part of the Catholic authorities. The see was allotted to Prussia in consequence of the peace of Luneville (1801). In 1807 it became part of the French kingdom of Westphalia, after the fall of which it was a Hanoverian principality till 1866, when it became part of Prussia.