Kiel, a seaport of Prussia, in Holstein, capital of the province of Schleswig-Holstein, and of a district of its own name (embracing Hoistein), situated on the Kieler Hafen, a fine harbor of the Baltic, 52 m. N. by E. of Hamburg; pop. in 1871, 31,747. It is walled, well built, contains the Glucksburg palace, four churches, and a university founded in 1665, with an observatory, a library of 140,000 volumes, a botanic garden, and 250 students. Kiel is important as the great harbor of the fleet of the German empire. The harbor is about 10 m. long and 1 m. wide, and is defended by several forts. The government is building extensive wharves and arsenals, which are to be completed in 1878. The naval academy of Berlin was transferred in 1868 to Kiel, and a special school for deck officers and sub-engineers was connected with it. An academy for the instruction of naval officers is in the course of erection. It is proposed to connect the Baltic with the North sea by a new canal terminating in the harbor of Kiel. The Eider canal, which forms that connection at present, is not considered wide and deep enough for the purposes of the German navy, and is for technical reasons not fit to be enlarged.
There are numerous sugar, soap, and woollen factories, large iron founderies, machine shops, and ship yards. An extensive trade is carried on with all the important towns on the Baltic. There are railways to Hamburg and Neustadt. - Kiel was a town in the 11th century, and subsequently belonged to the Hanseatic league. A treaty of peace between Denmark and Sweden was concluded here in 1814. An insurrection in favor of the independence of Schleswig-Holstein took place, and a provisional government was formed, March 24, 1848. By the convention of Gastein, Aug. 14, 1865, Kiel, unlike the rest of Holstein, was to be held by Prussia as a German federal harbor.