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About this region
Saarland (German: das Saarland, pronounced [das ˈzaːɐ̯lant]; French: la Sarre [la saʁ]) is a state of Germany. Saarland is located in western Germany covering an area of 2,570 km2 (990 sq mi) and a population of 995,600 (2015), the smallest German state in both area and population apart from the city-states of Berlin, Bremen, and Hamburg. Saarbrücken is the state capital and largest city, while other major cities include Neunkirchen and Saarlouis. Saarland is surrounded by France to the west and south and the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate to the north and east. Saarland was established in 1920 after World War I as the Territory of the Saar Basin, formed from land of Prussia and Bavaria occupied and governed by France and the United Kingdom under a League of Nations mandate. The heavily industrialized region was economically valuable due to the wealth of its coal deposits and location on the border between France and Germany. Saarland was returned to Nazi Germany in the 1935 Saar status referendum, becoming de jure part of Bavaria and de facto part of Gau Westmark. Following World War II, the French military administration in Allied-occupied Germany organized the territory as the Saar Protectorate from 1947, becoming a protectorate of France, and between 1950 and 1956 was a member of the Council of Europe. Saarland rejected the 1955 Saar Statute referendum, and joined the Federal Republic of Germany as a state on 1 January 1957. Saarland used its own currency, the Saar franc, and postage stamps issued specially for the territory until 1959.
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