Bitburg is a city in Germany, in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate approximately 25 km (16 mi.) northwest of Trier and 50 km (31 mi.) northeast of Luxembourg city. The American Spangdahlem Air Base is nearby.
The city’s name derives from its Celtic toponym, Beda. Bitburg originated approximately 2,000 years ago as a stopover for traffic from Lyon through Metz and Trier to Cologne. The first name mentioned was Vicus Beda. Emperor Constantine the Great expanded the settlement to a road castle around 330, the central part of which forms the town centre today. Bitburg is first documented only after the end of the Roman Empire around 715 as castrum bedense. It subsequently became part of Franconia. The first mention of Bitburg in historic annals occurred in connection with the signing in 1239 of the Trier-Luxembourg Treaty between Archbishop Theoderich II of Trier and Countess Ermesinde II of Luxemburg, under which the town came under the archbishopric's protection. Bitburg received a town charter in 1262 from Count Henry V of Luxembourg. In 1443, Bitburg came under the sway of the Duchy of Burgundy, then in 1506 was acquired by the Austrian Netherlands, which controlled most of modern Belgium. In 1794 the city came under French administration, and in 1798 became part of the newly created Département des Forêts. This led to a short lived economic upturn, and Bitburg received among other things a court and a land registry.
In 1815, under agreements at the Congress of Vienna following the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte, Bitburg was transferred to the Kingdom of Prussia, where until 1822 it belonged administratively to the province of Lower Rhine, and afterwards to the Rhine province. With the unification of Germany under Prussian dominance in 1871, Bitburg became part of the German Empire, and after World War I the Weimar Republic of Germany.