The Info List - Rhineland

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The Rhineland
(German: Rheinland, French: Rhénanie) is the name used for a loosely defined area of Western Germany along the Rhine, chiefly its middle section.


1 Term 2 Geography 3 History

3.1 Pre-Roman 3.2 Roman and Frankish conquests 3.3 Holy Roman Empire 3.4 French Revolution 3.5 Prussian influence 3.6 1918–1945 3.7 Post-1946

4 See also 5 References 6 Further reading


The Rhine Province
Rhine Province
(green) as of 1830 superimposed on modern borders.

Historically, the Rhinelands[1] refers (physically speaking) to a loosely defined region embracing the land on the banks of the Rhine
in Central Europe, which were settled by Ripuarian and Salian Franks
Salian Franks
and became part of Frankish Austrasia. In the High Middle Ages, numerous Imperial States along the river emerged from the former stem duchy of Lotharingia, without developing any common political or cultural identity. A "Rhineland" conceptualization did not evolve until the 19th century after the War of the First Coalition, when a short-lived Cisrhenian Republic was established on territory conquered by French troops. The term covered the whole occupied zone west of the Rhine
(German: Linkes Rheinufer) including the bridge-heads on the eastern banks. After the collapse of the French dominated West Bank in the early 19th century, the regions of Lower Rhine
and Jülich-Cleves-Berg were annexed to the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1822 the Prussian administration reorganized the territory as the Rhine Province
Rhine Province
(also known as Rhenish Prussia), a term continuing in the names of the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate
and North Rhine-Westphalia. Following the First World War, the western part of Rhineland
was occupied by Entente forces, then demilitarized under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. German forces remilitarized the territory in 1936, as part of a diplomatic test of will, three years before the outbreak of the Second World War. Geography[edit]

Deutsches Eck, Koblenz

To the west the area stretches to the borders with Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands; on the eastern side it encompasses the towns and cities along the river and the Bergisches Land
Bergisches Land
area up to the Westphalian (Siegerland) and Hessian regions. Stretching down to the North Palatine Uplands in the south, this area, except for the Saarland, more or less corresponds with the modern use of the term. The southern and eastern parts are mainly hill country (Westerwald, Hunsrück, Siebengebirge, Taunus
and Eifel), cut by river valleys, principally the Middle Rhine
up to Bingen (or very rarely between the confluence with the Neckar
and Cologne[2]) and its Ahr, Moselle
and Nahe tributaries. The border of the North German plain
North German plain
is marked by the lower Ruhr. In the south, the river cuts the Rhenish Massif. The area encompasses the western part of the Ruhr
industrial region and the Cologne
Lowland. Some of the larger cities in the Rhineland are Aachen, Bonn, Cologne, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Essen, Koblenz, Krefeld, Leverkusen, Mainz, Mönchengladbach, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Oberhausen, Remscheid, Solingen, Trier
and Wuppertal. Toponyms as well as local family names often trace back to the Frankish heritage. The lands on the western shore of the Rhine
are strongly characterised by Roman influence, including viticulture. In the core territories, large parts of the population are members of the Catholic Church. History[edit] Pre-Roman[edit] At the earliest historical period, the territories between the Ardennes
and the Rhine
were occupied by the Treveri, the Eburones
and other Celtic tribes, who, however, were all more or less modified and influenced by their Germanic neighbours. On the right bank of the Rhine, between the Main and the Lahn, were the settlements of the Mattiaci, a branch of the Germanic Chatti, while farther to the north were the Usipetes
and Tencteri.[3] Roman and Frankish conquests[edit] Julius Caesar conquered the celtic tribes on the left bank, and Augustus established numerous fortified posts on the Rhine, but the Romans never succeeded in gaining a firm footing on the right bank. As the power of the Roman empire declined the Franks
pushed forward along both banks of the Rhine, and by the end of the 5th century had conquered all the lands that had formerly been under Roman influence. The Frankish conquerors of the Rhenish districts were singularly little affected by the culture of the Roman provincials they subdued, and all traces of Roman civilization were submerged. By the 8th century the Frankish dominion was firmly established in western Germania and northern Gaul. On the division of the Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire
at the Treaty of Verdun
Treaty of Verdun
the part the province to the east of the river fell to East Francia, while that to the west remained with the kingdom of Lotharingia.[3] Holy Roman Empire[edit] By the time of Emperor Otto I (d. 973) both banks of the Rhine
had become part of the Holy Roman Empire, and in 959 the Rhenish territory was divided between the duchies of Upper Lorraine, on the Mosel, and Lower Lorraine
Lower Lorraine
on the Meuse. As the central power of the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
weakened, the Rhineland split up into numerous small independent principalities, each with its separate vicissitudes and special chronicles. The old Lotharingian divisions became obsolete, and while the Lower Lorraine
Lower Lorraine
lands were referred to as the Low Countries, the name of Lorraine became restricted to the region on the upper Moselle
that still bears it. After the Imperial Reform
Imperial Reform
of 1500/12, the territory was part of the Lower Rhenish–Westphalian, Upper Rhenish, and Electoral Rhenish Circles. Notable Rhenish Imperial States included:

the ecclesiastical electorates of Cologne
(without Westphalian possessions) and Trier the duchies of Jülich, Cleves, and Berg, forming the United Duchies of Jülich-Cleves-Berg from 1521 the County of Sponheim
County of Sponheim
and numerous further Imperial Counties the Free Imperial Cities of Aachen
and Cologne.

In spite of its dismembered condition, and the sufferings it underwent at the hands of its French neighbours in various periods of warfare, the Rhenish territory prospered greatly and stood in the foremost rank of German culture and progress. Aachen
was the place of coronation of the German emperors, and the ecclesiastical principalities of the Rhine
played a large role in German history.[3] French Revolution[edit] Main article: Left Bank of the Rhine At the Peace of Basel
Peace of Basel
in 1795, the whole of the left bank of the Rhine was taken by France. The population was about 1.6 million in numerous small states. In 1806, the Rhenish princes all joined the Confederation of the Rhine, a puppet of Napoleon. France took direct control of the Rhineland
until 1814 and radically and permanently liberalized the government, society and economy. The Coalition of France's enemies made repeated efforts to retake the region, but France repelled all the attempts.[4] The French swept away centuries worth of outmoded restrictions and introduced unprecedented levels of efficiency. The chaos and barriers in a land divided and subdivided among many different petty principalities gave way to a rational, simplified, centralized system controlled by Paris and run by Napoleon's relatives. The most important impact came from the abolition of all feudal privileges and historic taxes, the introduction of legal reforms of the Napoleonic Code, and the reorganization of the judicial and local administrative systems. The economic integration of the Rhineland
with France increased prosperity, especially in industrial production, while business accelerated with the new efficiency and lowered trade barriers. The Jews were liberated from the ghetto. There was limited resistance; most Germans welcomed the new regime, especially the urban elites, but one sour point was the hostility of the French officials toward the Roman Catholic Church, the choice of most of the residents.[5] The reforms were permanent. Decades later workers and peasants in the Rhineland
often appealed to Jacobinism to oppose unpopular government programs, while the intelligentsia demanded the maintenance of the Napoleonic Code
Napoleonic Code
(which was stayed in effect for a century).[6][7] Prussian influence[edit] See also: Rhine

Regierungsbezirke of the Prussian Rhine
Province, 1905 map

A Prussian influence began on a small scale in 1609 by the occupation of the Duchy of Cleves. A century later, Upper Guelders and Moers
also became Prussian. The Congress of Vienna expelled the French and assigned the whole of the lower Rhenish districts to Prussia, who left them in undisturbed possession of the liberal institutions to which they had become accustomed under the French.[3] The Rhine
Province remained part of Prussia after Germany was unified in 1871. 1918–1945[edit] Main article: Allied occupation of the Rhineland The occupation of the Rhineland
took place following the Armistice with Germany of 11 November 1918. The occupying armies consisted of American, Belgian, British and French forces. Under the Treaty of Versailles, German troops were banned from all territory west of the Rhine
and within 50 kilometres east of the Rhine. In 1920, under massive French pressure, the Saar was separated from the Rhine Province
Rhine Province
and administered by the League of Nations
League of Nations
until a plebiscite in 1935, when the region was returned to Germany. At the same time, in 1920, the districts of Eupen
and Malmedy
were transferred to Belgium
(see German-Speaking Community of Belgium). Shortly after, France completely occupied the Rhineland, strictly controlling all important industrial areas. The Germans responded with passive resistance and hyperinflation; the French gained very little of the reparations they wanted. French troops did not leave the Rhineland
until 1925. Main article: Remilitarization of the Rhineland On 7 March 1936, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles, German troops marched into the Rhineland
and other regions along the Rhine. German territory west of the Rhine
had been off limits to the German military. In 1945, the Rhineland
was the scene of major fighting as the Allied invaders overwhelmed the German defenders.[8] Post-1946[edit] In 1946, the Rhineland
was divided into the newly founded states of Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia
and Rhineland-Palatinate. North Rhine- Westphalia
is one of the prime German industrial areas, containing significant mineral deposits, (coal, lead, lignite, magnesium, oil and uranium) and water transport. In Rhineland-Palatinate
agriculture is more important, including the vineyards in the Ahr, Mittelrhein and Mosel regions. See also[edit]

Cologne/ Bonn
Region Lower Rhine


^ Dickinson, Robert E. (1964). Germany: A regional and economic geography (2nd ed.). London: Methuen. pp. 357f. ASIN B000IOFSEQ.  ^ Marsden, Walter (1973). The Rhineland. New York: Hastings House. ISBN 0-8038-6324-1.  ^ a b c d  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). " Rhine
Province". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.  ^ T. C. W. Blanning, The French Revolution in Germany: Occupation and Resistance in the Rhineland
1792-1802 (1983) ^ Hajo Holborn, A History of Modern Germany, 1648-1840 (1964) pp 386-87 ^ Michael Rowe, "Between Empire and Home Town: Napoleonic Rule on the Rhine, 1799-1814," Historical Journal (1999) 42#2 pp. 643-674 in JSTOR ^ Michael Rowe, From Reich to state: the Rhineland
in the revolutionary age, 1780-1830 (2003) ^ Ken Ford, The Rhineland
1945: The Last Killing Ground in the West (Osprey, 2000)

Further reading[edit]

Blanning, T. C. W. The French Revolution in Germany: Occupation and Resistance in the Rhineland
1792-1802 (1983) Brophy, James M. Popular Culture and the Public Sphere in the Rhineland, 1800-1850 (2010) excerpt and text search Collar, Peter. The Propaganda War in the Rhineland: Weimar Germany, Race and Occupation after World War I (2013) excerpt and text search Diefendorf, Jeffry M. Businessmen and Politics in the Rhineland, 1789-1834 (1980) Emmerson, J.T. Rhineland
Crisis, 7 March 1936 (1977) Ford, Ken; Brian, Tony (2000). The Rhineland
1945: The Last Killing Ground in the West. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 1-85532-999-9.  Marsden, Walter (1973). The Rhineland. New York: Hastings House. ISBN 0-8038-6324-1.  Rowe, Michael, From Reich to State: The Rhineland
in the Revolutionary Age, 1780-1830 (2007) excerpt and text search Sperber, Jonathan. "Echoes of the French Revolution in the Rhineland, 1830-1849," Central European History (1989( 22#2 pp 200-217 Sperber, Jonathan. Rhineland
Radicals: The Democratic Movement and the Revolution of 1848-1849 (1992)

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 245639547 LCCN: sh85113662 GND: 40497