Basel (Bah'zel; Fr. Bale; old Fr. Basle), a Swiss city and canton. The canton was divided in 1833 into two independent half-cantons, called Basel-town and Basel-country. The urban half-canton consists only of the city, with its precincts, and three villages on the right bank of the Rhine; the remainder forms the half-canton of Basel-country, which borders on Alsace-Lorraine and Baden, and has an area of 178 sq. m. - but little larger than Rutlandshire. The Roman Basilia, after 1032 it formed part of the German empire, but joined the Swiss Confederacy in 1501, having in 1431-43 been the scene of a famous church council. The Rhine, here spanned by three bridges, 200 yards long, divides the city into two parts - Great Basel on the south side, and Little Basel on the north. The minster, a cathedral till 1528, was built between 1010 and 1500. It has two conspicuous towers, 218 feet high. Other buildings are the town-hall (1508); the university (1460); a museum, with thirty-two pictures by the younger Holbein, who lived thirteen years in Basel; and a public university library of 160,000 volumes and 4000 manuscripts. During the Reformation, the university was a central point of spiritual life, and it has numbered among its professors Erasmus and Œcolampadius, both of whom died here, and the mathematicians Euler and Bernouilli, who were natives. It has now some 70 professors and lecturers, and about 300 students. Pop., mainly Protestant and German-speaking, of Basel-country, 70,000; of Basel-town (1850) 29,555; (1900) 112,250.