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About this region
Saarland (, also US: , German: [ˈzaːɐ̯lant] (listen); French: Sarre [saʁ]) is a state of Germany in the west of the country. With an area of 2,570 km2 (990 sq mi) and population of 995,600 in 2015, it is 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; other cities include Neunkirchen and Saarlouis. Saarland is mainly surrounded by the department of Moselle in France to the west and south and the neighboring state of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany to the north and east; it also shares a small border approximately 5 miles long with the canton of Remich in Luxembourg to the northwest. Saarland was established in 1920 after World War I as the Territory of the Saar Basin, occupied and governed by France 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. Following World War II, the French military administration in Allied-occupied Germany organized the territory as the Saar Protectorate from 1947. After the 1955 Saar Statute referendum, it 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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