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(Lusatian name, Budissin), a city in the German Democratic Republic in Dresden District on the Spree River. Population, 44,000 (1969).
The major industries of Bautzen are the manufacture of railway cars and the production of radio and television equipment, polygraphic machines, textiles, and paper. The city arose on the site of an ancient settlement (which received its charter in 1213). Bautzen is now a cultural center of the Lusatians (Wends) in Upper Lusatia. The city has a Wendish institute with Wendish publications, a national theater, and an ensemble.
On May 8–9 (20–21), 1813, during the war of the sixth anti-French coalition against France, the army of Napoleon I (150,000–160,000 men) inflicted a defeat at Bautzen on the Russo-Prussian armies (93,000 men, including 28,000 Prussians) under the command of General P. H. Wittgenstein. Napoleon’s plan to surround the allies by a turning movement of their right flank was frustrated by the persistent resistance of the Russian corps of General M. B. Barclay de Tolly. The Russo-Prussian armies, threatened by a disengagement of the enemy at the rear, withdrew behind the Lebau River. After the battle at Bautzen, an armistice was concluded at Pläswitz (June 4–Aug. 10, 1813); this was, however, a strategic mistake for Napoleon because Austria and Sweden joined the anti-French coalition.