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An imperial Carolinian document first reported on “Nordilinga” in the 9th century. More than three centuries later, the settlement called “Nordelingen” was a free imperial city.

As an imperial city, Nördlingen was answerable only to the German emperor. The “Stadtrecht” (town ordinances and privileges) granted the same rights before the court to all citizens; in return the citizens had to pay taxes and protect the city wall.

The status as a free imperial city, which lasted until 1803, formed the basis for the economic prosperity of the citizens and the city.