Bremen (Bray'men), a free city of Germany, on the Weser, 39 miles by rail SSE. of Bremerhaven, and 76 NW. of Hanover. Pop. (1875) 102,177; (1900) 163,297, Bremen is divided into the Old and the New Town - the former on the right, the latter (dating from 1620) on the left bank of the river, which is spanned by four bridges. The ramparts and bastions round the old town have been formed into public promenades. Among the principal buildings are the cathedral (1043-70; reconstructed 13th to 17th centuries), the Gothic town-hall (1409), with its famous wine-cellar, the ' Schutting' or guildhall (1537), the exchange, the museum, the post-olfice, and the observatory of Dr Olbers, who here discovered the planets Pallas and Vesta. Bremen is a very thriving place, and now ranks as the second commercial city in Germany. Large vessels stop at Bremerhaven. Bremen carries on an extensive commerce with Great Britain, North and South America, the West Indies, Africa, the East Indies, and China; its great foreign trade, however, is with the United States. Bremen ships about 50 per cent. of all emigrants sailing from Germany, principally to the United States. The chief imports are tobacco, coffee, sugar, cotton, rice, skins, dyewoods, wines, petroleum, timber, and hemp. The exports consist of woollen goods, linens, glass, rags, wool, hemp, hides, oil-cake, colours, and wooden toys. Large quantities of tobacco are re-exported. There are manufactures of woollens and cottons, cigars, paper, and starch, and breweries, distilleries, rice-mills, and sugar-refineries. Bremen is the headquarters of the North German Lloyd Steamship Company (1857).
Bremen first became of historical note in the 8th century, when it was erected into a bishopric by Charlemagne. It soon attained considerable commercial importance, and became one of the principal cities of the Hanseatic League. In 1810 it was incorporated with the French empire, but recovered its independence in 1813, and by the Congress of Vienna was admitted in 1815 as one of the Hanse towns into the Germanic confederation. In 1867 it became a member of the North German confederation, and now it forms part of the German empire. The area of the territory is 99 sq. m.; pop., including the town of Bremen (1900) 224,882.