is a town in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, situated at the Southern coast of the Strelasund (a sound of the Baltic Sea separating the island of Rügen from the mainland). Two bridges (the Rügendamm and since October 2007 the new Rügen bridge) and several ferry services connect Stralsund with the ports of Rügen. A former district-free town, it is the capital of the new district of Vorpommern-Rügen since the September 2011 district reforms.
The main industries of Stralsund are shipyards, fishing, and, to an increasing degree, tourism.
In medieval ages, the Stralsund area was part of the West Slavic Principality of Rügen, which was part of the Kingdom of Denmark since 1168. At that time, the Dänholm isle and fishing village, both at the site of the latter town, were named Strale / Stralow, Polabian for "arrow" (this meaning is still preserved in the town's coat of arms, showing an arrow).
In the course of German Ostsiedlung, many German settlers, gentry and merchants were called into the principality, and eventually populated the Strale settlement. Merchants from other countries as well as locals were attracted to the area and made up for one third of the town's population. The Danish navy was using the isle as well. When the settlement had grown to town size, prince Wizlaw I of Rügen granted Lübeck law to "our town Stralow" in 1234. In 1240, when the prince gave additional land to the town, he called it Stralesund.
The success of the settlement challenged the powerful Free City of Lübeck, which burnt Stralsund down in 1249. Afterwards the town was rebuilt with a massive town wall having 11 town gates and 30 watchtowers. The Neustadt, a town-like suburb, was merged to Stralsund by 1361. Schadegard, a twin town to Stralsund also founded by Wizlaw I nearby, but was not granted German law, served as the principal stronghold and enclosed a fort. It was given up and torn down by 1269 under the pressure of the Stralsund Bürger.
In 1293 Stralsund became a member of the Hanseatic League. A total of 300 ships flying the flag of Stralsund cruised the Baltic Sea in the 14th century. In 1325, the Principality of Rügen became part of the Duchy of Pomerania, Stralsund however maintained a considerable independence.
In the 17th century, Stralsund became a theatre in the Thirty Years' War. In the Battle of Stralsund (1628), the town was besieged by Albrecht von Wallenstein after the council refused to accept the Capitulation of Franzburg. Stralsund resisted with Danish and Swedish support. The Swedish garrison in Stralsund was the first on German soil in history. With the Treaty of Stettin (1630), the town became one of two major Swedish forts in the Duchy of Pomerania, besides Stettin (now Szczecin).
After the war, the Peace of Westphalia (1648) and the Treaty of Stettin (1653) made Stralsund part of Swedish Pomerania. Lost to Brandenburg in the Battle of Stralsund (1678), it was restored to Sweden in the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1679). In the Great Northern War in 1715 Charles XII led the defence of Stralsund for a year against the united European armies. Stralsund remained under Swedish control until the Battle of Stralsund (1807), when it was seized by Napoleon Bonaparte's army. Seized by Ferdinand von Schill's freikorps in 1809, it was subsequently re-gained by France, with Schill killed in action. In the Congress of Vienna (1815), Stralsund became a part of the Prussian Province of Pomerania and the seat of a government region resembling the former Swedish Pomerania.
From 1949 until German Reunification in 1990, Stralsund was part of the German Democratic Republic.