Rhineland-Palatinate rīn´lănd pəlăt´ĭnĭt˝ [key], Ger. Rheinland-Pfalz, state (1994 pop. 3,926,000), 7,658 sq mi (19,834 sq km), W Germany. Mainz is the capital. The state was formed in 1946 by the merger of the Rhenish Palatinate, Rhenish Hesse, the southern portion of the former Rhine Province of Prussia (including Koblenz and Trier), and a small part of the former Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau. Rhineland-Palatinate borders on France and the Saarland in the south, on Luxembourg and Belgium in the west, on the German state of Nordrhein-Westfalen in the north, and on the German states of Hessen and Baden-Württemberg in the east. It is drained by the Rhine and Moselle (Mosel) rivers and includes the Hunsrück and Eifel ranges and other divisions of the Rhenish Slate Mts. The majority of the working population is employed in industry, which is centered in Ludwigshafen, Pirmasens, Kaiserslautern, and Zweibrücken. There are major chemical and engineering industries in these and other cities. Grain, potatoes, sugar beets, fruit, and tobacco are grown in the fertile Rhine plain. The portion of the region's population engaged in small-scale agriculture is steadily declining as large-scale farming increases. Some of the most successful German vineyards are found in the Moselle and Rhine valleys in Rhineland-Palatinate; these include the celebrated stretch of vineyards, known as the Weinstrasse, that runs parallel to the Rhine. Bad Ems and Bad Kreuznach are noted spas. Although the state has as yet little historic unity, it does include the historic centers of Mainz, Speyer, Trier, and Worms.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: German Political Geography