North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen) Historical Geography

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North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen), Germany

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

North Rhine-Westphalia was established in 1946 after World War II from the Prussian provinces of Westphalia and the northern part of Rhine Province (North Rhine), and the Free State of Lippe by the British military administration in Allied-occupied Germany. North Rhine-Westphalia became a state of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949, and the city of Bonn served as the federal capital until the reunification of Germany in 1990 and as the seat of government until 1999. [Wikipedia]

Maps[edit | edit source]

North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen)


Modern State of Nordrhein-Westfalen

Modern Nordrhein-Westfalen.png

Germany was first unified as a nation in 1871. For German research prior to 1945, the Research Wiki, FamilySearch Catalog, and FamilySearch Historical Records are organized by the place names in use from 1871 to 1945.

1871 Region

History and Background

Geo-Political Differences Today
FamilySearch Catalog
(organized by 1871 Meyer's Gazetteer)
Wiki Page

Instructions for Research Before 1945


1947: Merged into current state of North Rhine-Westphalia (Map)


Rhineland (Rheinland)

1946: Divided into the newly founded states of Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Rhineland-Palatinate. The city of Wetzlar became part of the state of Hesse (Hessen).
1957: All of the Saar except the Saar-Pfalz became part of the current state of Saarland

Preussen, Rheinland

Westphalia (Westfalen)

1945: Became part of the current state of North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen) (Map)

Preussen, Westfalen