Building in the old town of Langenthal
| • ||Gemeinderat |
with 7 members
| • ||Stadtpräsident (list)|
(as of March 2014)
| • ||Stadtrat |
with 40 members
|• Total||17.22 km2 (6.65 sq mi)|
|Elevation||481 m (1,578 ft)|
|Population (Dec 2016)|
|• Density||900/km2 (2,300/sq mi)|
Langenthal is an educational, cultural, and economic center for the region of
Archeological evidence suggests that early settlements existed around 4000 B.C. in the Langenthal area. A
Langenthal is first mentioned in 861, as marcha in Langatun, referring to farming estates scattered along the
Langete (a tributary of the
In the 12th century Langenthal (now known as Langaton) belonged to the territory of the lords of
Starting in 1313 the Kyburgs held the
During the 16th century a number of craftsmen and small businesses moved into the growing town. In 1571 Bern granted the right for the town to hold two yearly markets. However, the supply of goods for sale quickly exceeded the capacity of the two yearly markets. In 1613 they built a Kaufhaus or market building and started holding weekly markets. The Kaufhaus was rebuilt in 1808 and from 1894 until 1992 served as the town hall. By 1616 Langenthal had a series of laws and regulations governing the booming markets and trade in the town. In 1640 Langenthal and Langnau became centers of linen canvas production and export to France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. In 1704 Langenthal became the seat of the Oberaargau canvas dealer's guild, which brought together weavers, shopkeepers and traders to protect their interests. The decline of eastern Switzerland's linen industry in the 18th century gave Langenthal a further boost, which encouraged to Bern to tighten supervision. Beginning in 1758 the Bernese government started inspecting cloth for quality and controlling who was allowed to sell.
The success of the linen trade helped the town to grow. Even though the Aargau cantonal road bypassed the Langenthal, by 1756 it had grown to a total of 189 households, three taverns, various administrative buildings and a warehouse (dated 1748).
The market street was paved in 1730 and the Langete was partially covered with stone bridges and new houses. In 1785 a brewery opened in town. A small elite of merchants, lawyers, physicians and pharmacists emerged and turned Langenthal into a center of the liberal and nationalist thought during the early modern era.
Langenthal had been a subject territory of Berne within the
Langenthal’s location on the road from Bern to Zurich (completed in 1760) and on the Swiss Central Railway line (inaugurated in 1857) spurred industrial development, led by textiles and machines. Municipal water supply was introduced in 1894 and an electric utility began operating in 1896. In 1898, the formerly neighboring municipality of Schoren was incorporated into Langenthal.
Langenthal had a population of 1,327 in 1764; population grew to 2,738 by 1850, and to 4,799 by 1900.
In the 20th century, Langenthal became known for its porcelain manufacture. Langenthal reached a population of 10,000 in 1957, further growing to 13,000 by 1970. The municipality has been officially referring to itself as a town (Stadt) since 1997.
In 2001, Langenthal was