The Full Wiki

Westphalia: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Three entities known (or partly known) as Westphalia, superimposed upon the modern state borders of Germany:
Green: Kingdom of Westphalia (1807-1813), borders as of 1811
Red: Province of Westphalia (1815-1946)
Dark grey: North Rhine-Westphalia (1946-)

Westphalia (German: Westfalen pronounced [vɛstˈfaːlən]) is a region in Germany, centred on the cities of Arnsberg, Bielefeld, Bochum, Detmold, Dortmund, Gelsenkirchen, Hagen, Minden and Münster and included in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Westphalia is roughly the region between the rivers Rhine and Weser, located north and south of the Ruhr River. No exact definition of borders can be given, because the name "Westphalia" was applied to several different entities in history. For this reason specifications of area and population are greatly differing. They range between 16,000 and 22,000 km2 (6,200 and 8,500 sq mi) in land area, and between 4.3 million and 8 million inhabitants. There is, however, a general consensus that Münster as well as Bielefeld and Dortmund are part of Westphalia.

A linguistic definition of Westphalia (see Westphalian language) includes the former Prussian Province of Westphalia (except Siegen-Wittgenstein), Lippe, the region around Osnabrück and the greater area of the Emsland. Present-day common use, however, often restricts the notion to the present part of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Westphalia is known for the 1648 Peace of Westphalia which ended the Thirty Years' War, as the two treaties were signed in Münster and Osnabrück.



Coat of arms of the Province of Westphalia Coat of arms of North Rhine-Westphalia Coat of arms of Westphalia Coat of arms of Lower Saxony
Prussian Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia Westphalia Lower Saxony

The traditional symbol of Westphalia is a white horse on a red field (the Westfalenpferd or Sachsenross), representing the Saxons. This image has been used in the coats of arms of Prussian Westphalia and the modern state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The white horse is also the traditional symbol of neighboring Lower Saxony.

Composed in Iserlohn in 1886 by Emil Rittershaus, the "Westfalenlied" is an unofficial anthem of Westphalia.



Roman incursion

Around 1 A.D. there were numerous incursions through Westphalia and perhaps even some permanent Roman or Romanized settlements. The Battle of Teutoburg Forest took place near Osnabrück (as mentioned, it is disputed whether this is in Westphalia) and some of the tribes who fought at this battle came from the area of Westphalia.


Charlemagne is thought to have spent considerable time in Paderborn and nearby parts. His Saxon Wars also partly took place in what is thought of as Westphalia today. Popular legends link his adversary Widukind to places near Detmold, Bielefeld, Lemgo, Osnabrück and other places in Westphalia. Widukind was buried in Enger, which is also a subject of a legend.

Middle Ages

Ratification of the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 in Münster by Gerard Terborch (1617-1681)

Along with Eastphalia and Engern, Westphalia (Westfalahi) was originally a district of the Duchy of Saxony. In 1180 Westphalia was elevated to the rank of a duchy by Emperor Barbarossa. The Duchy of Westphalia comprised only a small area south of the Lippe River.

Early modern era

As a result of the Protestant Reformation, there is no dominant religion in Westphalia. Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism are on relatively equal footing. Lutheranism is strong in the eastern and northern parts with numerous free churches. Münster and especially Paderborn are thought of as Catholic. Osnabrück is divided almost equally between Catholicism and Protestantism.

Parts of Westphalia came under Brandenburg-Prussian control during the 1600s and 1700s, but most of it remained divided duchies and other feudal areas of power. The Peace of Westphalia of 1648, signed in Münster and Osnabrück, ended the Thirty Years' War. The concept of nation-state sovereignty resulting from the treaty became known as "Westphalian sovereignty".


The Prussian Province of Westphalia in 1905

After the defeat of the Prussian Army at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, the Treaty of Tilsit in 1807 made the Westphalian territories part of the Kingdom of Westphalia from 1807–13. It was founded by Napoleon and was a French vassal state. This state only shared the name with the historical region; it contained only a relatively small part of Westphalia, consisting instead mostly of Hessian and Eastphalian regions.

After the Congress of Vienna, the Kingdom of Prussia received a large amount of territory in the Westphalian region and created the province of Westphalia in 1815. The northernmost portions of the former kingdom, including the town of Osnabrück, had become part of the states of Hanover and Oldenburg.

Modern Westphalia

The present state of North Rhine-Westphalia was created after World War II from the former Prussian province of Westphalia, the northern half of the former Prussian Rhine Province, and the former Free State of Lippe. For North Rhine-Westphalia is subdivided into five government regions (Regierungsbezirke) one can say that Westphalia is today consisting of the Regierungsbezirke of Münster, Detmold and Arnsberg. People in these areas call themselves Westphalians and call their home area Westphalia even though there is no governmental unit by that name.


External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

WESTPHALIA (Ger. Westfalen), a province of the kingdom of Prussia. The ancient duchy and the Napoleonic kingdom of the same name, neither of which was conterminous with the modern province, are dealt with in the historical part of this article. The area of the province is 7801 sq. m., its length both from N. to S. and from E. to W. is about 130 m., and it is bounded N. by Hanover, E. by Schaumburg-Lippe, Hanover, LippeDetmold, Brunswick, Hesse-Nassau and Waldeck, S. and S.W. by Hesse-Nassau and the Rhine Province, and N.W. by the kingdom of the Netherlands.

Nearly half of Westphalia is an extension of the great NorthGerman plain, which here stretches S.E. into an acute angle enclosed on the N.E. by the long low range of the Teutoburger Wald and its southern prolongation the Eggegebirge, and on the S. by the line of hills called the Haar or Haarstrang, which divides the basins of the Lippe and Ruhr. The Westphalian plain is broken by extensive outcrops of the underlying cretaceous beds, and is not very fertile, except in the Hellweg, a zone between the Haarstrang and the Lippe. There are extensive fens in the N. and W., and N. of Paderborn is a sandy waste called the Senne. The plain is drained in the N. by the Ems and in the S. by the Lippe, which rise close together in the Teutoburger Wald. Between their basins are the Vechte and other small rivers flowing into the Zuider Zee. The triangular southern portion of Westphalia, most of which is included in Sauerland ("south land"), is a rugged region of slate hills and wooded valleys drained chiefly by the Ruhr with its affluents the Lenne, Mohne, &c., and in the S. by the Sieg and Eder. The hills rise in the S.E. to the Rotlager or Rothaargebirge, culminating in the Winterberg plateau with the Kahler Asten (2713 ft.), the highest summit in the province. The Rotlagergebirge, Eggegebirge and Teutoburger Wald form with some intermediate ranges the watershed between the basin of the Weser and those of the Rhine and Ems. In the N.E. corner of the province the Weser divides the Wiehengebirge from the Wesergebirge by the narrow pass called Porta Westfalica. The climate is. temperate except in the south, which is cold in winter and has a heavy rainfall. Of the total area 43% is occupied by arable land and gardens, 18% by meadows and pastures and 28% by forests. The best agricultural land is in the Hellweg and the Weser basin. The number of peasant proprietors is proportionately greater than in any other part of Prussia, and as a class they are well-to-do. The crops include grain of all kinds (not sufficient, however, for the needs of the province), peas and beans, buckwheat, potatoes, fruit and hemp. The cultivation of flax is very extensive, especially in the N.E. Swine, which are reared in great numbers in the plains, yield the famous Westphalian hams; and the rearing of cattle and goats is important. The breeding of horses is fostered by the government.

The mineral wealth is very great, especially in coal and iron. The production of coal is greater than that of any other province of Prussia, and amounted in 1906 to 53,000,000 tons. The great Ruhr coal-field extends from the Rhineland into the province as far as Unna, the centre being Dortmund, and there is a smaller coal-field in the N. at Ibbenburen. The production of iron ore, chiefly S. of the Ruhr (1,360,000 tons in 1905) is exceeded in Prussia only by that of the Rhine province. After coal and iron the most valuable minerals are zinc, lead, pyrites and copper. Antimony, quicksilver, stone, marble, slate and potter's clay are also worked, and there are brine springs in the Hellweg and mineral springs at Lippspringe, Oynhausen, &c.

The manufacturing industry of the province, which chiefly depends upon its mineral wealth, is very extensive. Iron and steel goods are produced in the so-called "Enneper Strasse," the valley of the Ennepe, a small tributary of the Ruhr with the town of Hagen, and in the neighbouring towns of Bochum, Dortmund, Iserlohn and Altena, and also in the Siegen district. The brass and bronze industries are carried on at Iserlohn and Altena, those of tin and Britannia metal at Ludenscheid; needles are made at Iserlohn and wire at Altena. The very important linen industry of Bielefeld, Herford, Minden and Warendorf has flourished in this region since the 14th century. Jute is manufactured at Bielefeld and cotton goods in the W. Paper is extensively made on the lower Lenne, and leather around Siegen. Other manufactures are glass, chemicals, sugar, sausages and cigars. An active trade is promoted by several trunk lines of railway which cross the province (total mileage in 1906, 1889 m., exclusive of light railways) and by the navigation of the Weser (on which Minden has a port), Ems, Ruhr and Lippe. Beverungen is the chief market for corn and Paderborn for wool.

The population in 1905 was 3,618,090, or 464 per sq. m. It is very unevenly distributed, and in the industrial districts is increasing very rapidly. In recent years there has been a great influx of Poles into these parts, attracted by the higher wages. In 1900 they already numbered more than 10o,000. Between 1895 and 1900 the mean annual increase of the population was 3.3%, the highest recorded in the German empire, but between 1900 and 1905 it fell to 2.5%. The percentage of illegitimate births (2.6) is the lowest in Germany. 51. o % of the inhabitants are Roman Catholics, 47.9% Protestants. The distribution of the two communions still closely follows the lines of the settlement at the peace of Westphalia. Thus the former duchy of Westphalia and the bishoprics of Munster and Paderborn which remained in ecclesiastical hands are almost entirely Roman Catholic, while the secularized bishopric of Minden and the former counties of Ravensberg and Mark, which fell or had fallen to Brandenburg, and the Siegen district, which belonged to Nassau, are predominantly Protestant.

The province is divided into the three governmental departments (Regierungsbezirke) of Minden, Munster and Arnsberg. Munster is the seat of government and of the provincial university. Westphalia returns thirty-one members to the Prussian Lower House and seventeen to the Reichstag.

The inhabitants are mainly of the Saxon stock and speak Low German dialects, except in the Upper Frankish district around Siegen, where the Hessian dialect is spoken.

Westphalia, "the western plain" (in early records Westfalahi), was originally the name of the western province of the early duchy of Saxony, including the western portion of the modern province and extending north to the borders of Friesland. When Duke Henry the Lion of Saxony fell under the ban of the empire in 1 i 80, and his duchy was divided, the bishops of Munster and Paderborn became princes of the empire, and the archbishop of Cologne, Philip of Heinsberg, received from the emperor Frederick I. the Sauerland and some other districts which became the duchy of Westphalia. Within the duchy were some independent secular territories, notably the county of Mark, while other districts were held as fiefs from the archbishops, afterwards electors. From 1368 the electors themselves held the county of Arnsberg as an imperial fief. The duchy received a constitution of its own, and was governed for the elector by a marshal (Landmarschall, after 1480 Landdrost) who was also stadtholder, and presided over the Westphalian chancellery. This system lasted till 1803. By Maximilian's administrative organization of the empire in 1500 the duchy of Westphalia was included as an appanage of Cologne in the scattered circle of the Lower Rhine. The Westphalian circle which was formed at the same time comprised nearly all the rest of the modern province (including Mark) and the lands north of it between the Weser and the frontier of the Netherlands, also Verden, Schaumburg, Nassau, Wied, Lippe, Berg, Cleves, Julich, Liege, Bouillon and Cambrai.

Brandenburg laid the foundations of her dominion in Westphalia by obtaining the counties of Mark and Ravensberg in 1614 (confirmed 1666), to which the bishopric of Minden was added by the peace of Westphalia. in 1648 and Tecklenburg in 1707. By the settlement of 1803 the church lands were secularized, and Prussia received the bishopric of Paderborn and the eastern part of Munster, while the electoral duchy of Westphalia was given to Hesse-Darmstadt.

After the peace of Tilsit the kingdom of Westphalia was created by Napoleon I. on the 18th of August 1807, and given to his brother Jerome (see Bonaparte). It included the present governmental department of Minden, but by far the larger part of the kingdom lay outside and chiefly to the east of the modern province, and comprised the Hanoverian department of Hildesheim and in part that of Arensberg, Brunswick, the northern part of the province of Saxony as far as the Elbe, Halle, and most of Hesse-Cassel. The area was 14,627 sq. m., and the population nearly two millions. Cassel was the capital. A constitution on the French imperial pattern granted by the king remained practically inoperative, an arbitrary bureaucratic regime was instituted, the finances were from the beginning in a hopeless condition, and the country was drained of men and money for Napoleon's wars. In January 1810 most of Hanover was added, but at the end of the same year half the latter, together with the city of Minden, was annexed to the French empire. There had already been serious revolts and raids, and after the battle of Leipzig the Russians drove the king from Cassel (October 1813), the kingdom of Westphalia was dissolved and the old order was for a time re-established. At the congress of Vienna. (1815) Hesse-Darmstadt surrendered her share of Westphalia to Prussia, and the present province was constituted.

See Weddigen, Westfalen, Land and Leute (Paderborn, 1896); G. Schulze, Heimatskunde der Provinz Westfalen (Minden, 1900); Lemberg, Die Hilttenand Metallindustrie Rheinlands and Westfalens (4th ed., Dortmund. 1905); J. S. Seibertz, Landesand Rechtsgeschichte des Herzogtums Westfalen (4 vols., Arnsberg, 18 391875); R. Wilmans, Die Kaiserurkunden der Provinz Westfalen (2 vols., Munster, 1867-1881); M. Jansen, Die Herzogsgewalt der Erzbischiife von Kan in Westfalen (Munich, 1895); Holzapfel, Das Konigreich Westfalen (Magdeburg, 1895); G. Servieres, L'Allemagne francaise sous Napoleon I er (Paris, 1904); Haselhoff, Die Entwickelung der Landeskultur in der Provinz Westfalen im 19ten Jahrhundert (Munster, 1900).

<< Rudolf Westphal

Treaty Of Westphalia >>


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun



Westphalia (uncountable)

  1. A former province of Germany, now part of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony; Westfalen.



  • Wikipedia-logo.png Westphalia on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
  • Westphalia” in The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000.
  • Westphalia” in Unabridged, v1.0.1, Lexico Publishing Group, 2006.

Simple English

(1807-1813), borders as of 1811

Red: Province of Westphalia (1815-1946)
Dark grey: North Rhine-Westphalia (since 1946)]]

Westphalia (German: Westfalen) is a region in Germany. The cities of Arnsberg, Bielefeld, Bochum, Detmold, Dortmund, Gelsenkirchen, Hagen, Minden and Münster are in its centre. In 1946, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia was created, which includes part of the historical region.

Westphalia is roughly the region between the rivers Rhine and Weser, located north and south of the Ruhr River. During the course of history, different places and regions were called "Westphalia", the borders of the region can therefore not be defined exactly, as they depend on the entity and time talked about. For the same reason, there are different specifications of its area and population. They range between 16,000 and 22,000 km2 (6,200 and 8,500 sq mi) in land area, and between 4.3 million and 8 million inhabitants. There is a general consensus that Münster, Bielefeld and Dortmund are part of Westphalia.

A linguistic definition of Westphalia (see Westphalian language) includes the former Prussian Province of Westphalia (except Siegen-Wittgenstein), Lippe, the region around Osnabrück and the greater area of the Emsland. Present-day common use, however, often restricts the notion to the present part of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Westphalia is known for the 1648 Peace of Westphalia which ended the Thirty Years' War, as the two treaties were signed in Münster and Osnabrück.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address