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The Bavarian king, Ludwig I, set forth plans to rename the settlement after himself and to start construction of an urban area as a Bavarian rival to Mannheim on the opposite bank.
During the failed German revolution of 1848 rebels captured Ludwigshafen, but they were bombarded from Mannheim (rumours said the Mannheimers didn't aim at the revolutionaries, but on the rival harbour's infrastructure), and Prussian troops quickly expelled the revolutionaries.
The foundation of the new capital of the Kurpfalz, Mannheim, was a decisive influence on the development of the area as a whole.
Parallel to the foundation of Mannheim in 1606, a fortress (die Rheinschanze) was built by Frederick IV, Elector Palatine on the other side of the Rhine to protect the City of Mannheim, thus forming the nucleus of the city of Ludwigshafen itself.
Because the ground was marshy and too low to be protected from Rhine floods, all the new houses were built on raised ground, sometimes as high as 5 metres above the original ground.Their activities marked the beginning of the civilian use of the Rheinschanze.The year 1844 was the official birth of Ludwigshafen, when Lichtenberger sold this property to the state of Bavaria (Bayern), and the military title of the fortress was finally removed.Visitors can see the original ground level in many backyards of Ludwigshafen, which are sometimes two floors below street level.During World War I (1914-1918), Ludwigshafen's industrial plants played a key role in Germany's war economy, producing chemical ingredients for munitions, as well as much of the poison gas used on the Western Front.