Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
Westphalia(wĕstfāl`yə), Ger. Westfalen, region and former province of Prussia, W Germany. Münster was the capital of the province. After 1945 the province was incorporated into the West German state of North Rhine–Westphalia, now a state in reunified Germany. The region of Westphalia occupies, roughly, a triangle formed by a line drawn eastward from the Rhine River at the Dutch border to the Weser River at Minden, a line drawn from Minden southwestward to Siegen (near the border with Hesse), and a line drawn to the northwest from Siegen and parallel to the Rhine.
The region is drained by the Ems, Weser, Ruhr, and Lippe rivers; it is hilly in the east and south and forms a low plain in the northwest. The land consists partly of fertile soil and partly of sandy tracts, moors, and heaths. The Ruhr valley, in the west, is part of the great Westphalian coal basin and of the RuhrRuhr
, region, c.1,300 sq mi (3,370 sq km), North Rhine–Westphalia, W Germany; a principal manufacturing center of Germany. The Ruhr lies along, and north of, the Ruhr River (145 mi/233 km long), which rises in the hills of central Germany and flows generally west to the
..... Click the link for more information. district, one of the world's most important industrial regions. The Ruhr district is connected with the Ems River by the Dortmund-Ems Canal and with the Elbe River by the Midland Canal.
Westphalia first appears as the name of the western third of the duchy of SaxonySaxony
, Ger. Sachsen, Fr. Saxe, state (1994 pop. 4,901,000), 7,078 sq mi (18,337 sq km), E central Germany. Dresden is the capital. In its current form, Saxony is a federal state of Germany, with its pre–World War II borders reinstated as of Oct., 1990.
..... Click the link for more information. in the 10th cent. Unlike Eastphalia, the eastern third of the duchy of Saxony, Westphalia survived the breakup (1180) of the Saxon duchy as a regional concept, although it lost political unity. The larger part of Westphalia came under the rule of ecclesiastical princes—the bishops of MünsterMünster
, city (1994 pop. 267,367), North Rhine–Westphalia, W Germany, a port and industrial center on the Dortmund-Ems Canal. Its manufactures include heavy machinery and textiles. The city is also a trade center for the Westphalian cattle market.
..... Click the link for more information. , OsnabrückOsnabrück
, city (1994 pop. 168,078), Lower Saxony, NW Germany, on the Hase River, linked by canal with the Midland Canal. It is an inland port, a rail junction, and an industrial center, with iron and steel mills, machinery plants, and factories that manufacture textiles,
..... Click the link for more information. , MindenMinden
, city (1994 pop. 80,423), North Rhine–Westphalia, NW Germany, a port on the Weser River and the Midland Canal. It is an industrial center and rail junction. Manufactures include textiles, ceramics, glass, chemicals, beer, furniture, and foundry products.
..... Click the link for more information. , and PaderbornPaderborn
, city (1994 pop. 130,130), North Rhine–Westphalia, NW Germany. It is an agricultural market and industrial center; manufactures include chemicals, building materials, and textiles.
..... Click the link for more information. and the archbishops of Cologne, who obtained the region around Arnsberg, known as the duchy of Westphalia. Among the temporal fiefs that emerged from the breakup of Saxony were the counties of LippeLippe
, former state, N central Germany, between the Teutoburg Forest and the Weser River. It was incorporated in 1947 into the state of North Rhine–Westphalia. Detmold, the former capital, was the chief city.
..... Click the link for more information. , RavensbergRavensberg
, former county, W Germany, now in North Rhine–Westphalia. Bielefeld was a major town in the county. In 1346, Ravensberg came under the control of the counts of Berg.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Mark. All these territories were later included in the Westphalian Circle of the Holy Roman Empire (formed c.1500), which also encompassed considerable non-Westphalian land. In the later Middle Ages most of the important Westphalian towns—e.g., Münster, Osnabrück, Paderborn, Bielefeld, and SoestSoest
, city (1994 pop. 44,917), North Rhine–Westphalia, W Germany. It is a manufacturing city and an agricultural trade center. Known in the 7th cent., Soest is one of the oldest cities of Germany.
..... Click the link for more information. —prospered as members of the Hanseatic League.
The bishoprics of Münster, Paderborn, and Osnabrück and the duchy of Westphalia were secularized only in 1803 by the Diet of Regensburg as a result of the French Revolutionary wars; they were at first partitioned among Prussia, Hanover, Hesse-Darmstadt, Hesse-Kassel, and the grand duchy of Berg. In 1807, after the signing of the Treaty of Tilsit (see SovetskSovetsk
, formerly Tilsit
, town (1989 pop. 41,900), NW European Russia, on the Neman River at the mouth of the Tilse. It is a rail junction, a river port, and an industrial and commercial center in an agricultural area.
..... Click the link for more information. ), Napoleon seized all Prussian possessions W of the Elbe, as well as the electorates of Hesse-Kassel and Hanover and the duchy of Brunswick. The northern section of these territories, including Münster, was directly annexed by France. The southern section was constituted as the kingdom of Westphalia, with Napoleon's brother Jérôme Bonaparte (see BonaparteBonaparte
, Ital. Buonaparte , family name of Napoleon I, emperor of the French. Parentage
Napoleon's father, Carlo Buonaparte, 1746–85, a petty Corsican nobleman, was a lawyer in Ajaccio.
..... Click the link for more information. , family) as king and with Kassel as the capital. The kingdom, which actually included only a small part of Westphalia, collapsed in 1813. At the Congress of ViennaVienna, Congress of,
Sept., 1814–June, 1815, one of the most important international conferences in European history, called to remake Europe after the downfall of Napoleon I.
..... Click the link for more information. the major part of Westphalia proper was awarded (1815) to Prussia; and Hanover, Hesse-Kassel, and Brunswick were restored. Westphalia continued as a Prussian province until 1945.
(Westfalen), a historic province between the Rhine and Weser rivers. It was originally a territorial settlement of the western branch of the Germanic tribes of the Saxons (Westphalians), part of the Duchy of Saxony. After the fall of Henry the Lion in 1180, Westphalia, while retaining some traits of ethnographic unity, split up into a number of feudal domains, such as the Duchy of Westphalia and the bishoprics of Münster, Osnabrück, Paderborn, and Minden. In 1807, Napoleon I formed the so-called Kingdom of Westphalia, with the city of Kassel as its capital (1807-13). After 1815, Westphalia was a Prussian province with the city of Münster as its center. After the defeat of fascist Germany in 1945, the territory of Westphalia became part of the British occupation zone; since 1949 it has been part of the Federal Republic of Germany, forming part of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia.