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one of the two great parties in medieval Italian politics, characterized by support of the popes against the emperors (opposed to the Ghibellines), 1570s, from Italian Guelfo, from Old High German Welf, name of a princely family that became the ducal house of Brunswick, literally "whelp," originally the name of the founder. The family are the ancestors of the present dynasty of Great Britain. The name is said to have been used as a war-cry at the Battle of Weinsberg (1140) by partisans of Henry the Lion, duke of Bavaria, who was of the family, against Emperor Conrad III; hence it was adopted in Italy as the name of the anti-imperial party.
city, seat (1838) of Wellington county, southeastern Ontario, Canada. It lies along the Speed River, 40 miles (65 km) west-southwest of Toronto. Founded in 1827 alongside the falls on the river by John Galt, a Scottish novelist and colonizer, it was named after the Guelfs (Welfs), the family name of the British royal house of Hanover. Guelph is now a major manufacturing, agricultural, and educational centre in one of Canada's most densely populated areas. Its varied manufactures include clothing, cigarettes, electric transformers, glass yarn, and saw chains. The Ontario Agricultural College (established in 1874) and Ontario Veterinary College (1862), now both part of the University of Guelph (1964), contribute to the city's importance as a centre for research and training in scientific agriculture. Inc. village, 1851; town, 1856; city, 1879. Pop. (2006) 114,943.