Rhine (Ger. Rhein, Fr. Rhin, Dutch Rhijn, Lat. Rhenus), one of the most important rivers of Europe. A large number of rivulets, issuing from Swiss glaciers, unite to form the young Rhine; but two are recognised as the principal sources - the Nearer and the Farther Rhine. The former emerges on the north-east slope of the St Gotthard mass (7690 feet above sea-level), the other side of which is the cradle of the Rhone; the Farther Rhine has its origin on the flank of the Rheinwaldhorn (7270 feet), not far from the Pass of Bernardino. The two mountain-torrents meet at Reichenau, 6 miles SW. of Coire (Chur) in the Grisons canton, after they have descended, the Nearer Rhine 5767 feet in 28 miles, the Farther Rhine 5347 feet in 27 miles. After ploughing its way N. for 45 miles between Switzerland and Austrian Vorarlberg, the river enters the Lake of Constance, soon after leaving which, its water a deep transparent green, it plunges down the falls of Schaffhausen, nearly 70 feet in three leaps, and flows westwards to Basel, separating Baden from Switzerland. In this stretch the river (490 feet wide), receives from the left the waters of the Aar. At Basel (742 feet), now 225 yards wide, it wheels round to the north, and traversing an open shallow valley that separates Alsace and the Bavarian Palatinate from Baden, reaches Mainz, split into many side arms and studded with green islands. Navigation begins at Basel. Of the numerous affluents here the largest are the navigable Neckar and the Main from the right, and the navigable I11 from the left. A little below Mainz the Rhine (685 yards wide) is turned west by the Taunus range; but at Bingen it forces a passage through, and pursues a northwesterly direction across Rhenish Prussia, past Coblenz, Bonn, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Ruhrort, and Wesel as far as the Dutch frontier; here it is 1085 yards wide and 36 feet above sea-level. The first half of this portion of the river from Bingen to Bonn is the Rhine of song and legend, the Rhine of romance, the Rhine of German patriotism. Its banks are clothed with vineyards that yield wine esteemed the world over; the rugged and fantastic crags that hem in its channel are crowned by ruined castles; the treasure of the Nibelungs rests at the bottom of the river (higher up, at Worms); the Binger-loch (see Bingen) and the Mouse Tower of Bishop Hatto, the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, the rock of the siren Lorelei, the commanding statue of Germania (the trophy of German victory in 1870), and innumerable other features lend interest to this the middle course of 'Father Rhine.' Between Bingen and Bonn the steep rocky walls that fence in the river approach so close that road and railway have to find their way through tunnels. The Nahe enters the Rhine at Bingen, the Moselle at Coblenz; from the right side the Lahn enters above Coblenz. Gigantic rafts are floated down from the Black Forest to Dordrecht in Holland. Below Bonn the Rhine is joined by the Sieg, Wupper, Ruhr, and Lippe from the right. At Bonn the river enters the plains, and almost immediately after passing the Netherlands frontier its delta begins. The principal arm, carrying two-thirds of the volume, flows under the name of the Waal, and later the Mermede, to Dordrecht, picking up the Maas (Meuse) from the left. At Dordrecht the river again divides for a bit, one branch, the old Maas, running out to sea; the other, the Noord, forming a loop by way of Rotterdam. The northern arm sends one branch, the Yssel, due north to the Zuider Zee; the other branch is the Lek, which runs into the Waal-Maas arm above Rotterdam. A thin stream, called the 'Winding Rhine,' leaves the Lek and splits at Utrecht into two channels, of which the Old Rhine, a mere ditch, manages with the help of a canal and locks to struggle into the North Sea at Katwyk, NW. of Leyden, while the Vecht flows due north from Utrecht to the Zuider Zee near Amsterdam. In the delta the streams have to be bordered by dykes. The area drained by the Rhine is estimated to be 75,773 sq. m., and its total length to be 760 miles, of which 550 in all are navigable. By canals it is connected with the Danube, Rhone, and Marne. Salmon, carp, pike, sturgeon, and lampreys are fished. The Rhine was the Romans' bulwark against the Teutonic invaders. Under Charlemagne the Rhine valley became the focus of civilisation. Except between 1697 and 1871 the Rhine was always a purely German river; at the peace of Ryswick, Alsace-Lorraine was appropriated by France, and the Rhine became part of the dividing line between France and Germany. In 1801 Napoleon incorporated the whole of the left bank with France; in 1815 the arrangement in force before 1801 was restored; and after 1871 the Rhine became once more wholly German. Down to the 19th century navigation was hampered by the riparian sovereigns or petty princelings, who levied vexatious dues. From 1803 all the powers concerned, except Holland, abolished most of the shipping dues on their own vessels navigating the Rhine, and Holland followed suit in 1831; but it was not until 1st July 1869 that the river was declared an absolutely free waterway to the ships of all nations. The first steamboat churned up its waters in 1817; now scores ply between Rotterdam and Mainz, and others along other stretches. More than 18,000 vessels of about 2,000,000 tons burden pass the frontier town of Emmerich going up stream every year. See Murray and Baedeker, and books by Stieler (trans. 1878), Simrock (1865-83), and Mehlis (1876-79).