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Rhineland-Palatinate is one of the 16 states of Germany. It has an area of 19,846 square kilometres (7,663 sq mi) and about four million inhabitants. The capital is Mainz. English speakers also commonly refer to the state by its German name, Rheinland-Pfalz (pronounced [ˈʁaɪnlant ˈpfalts]).



The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate was established on 30 August 1946. It was formed from the northern part of the French Occupation Zone, which included parts of Bavaria (the Rhenish Palatinate), the southern parts of the Prussian Rhine Province (including the District of Birkenfeld which formerly belonged to Oldenburg), parts of the Prussian Province of Nassau (see Hesse-Nassau), and parts of Hesse-Darmstadt (Rhinehessen on the western banks of the Rhine); the new state was legally confirmed by referendum on 18 May 1947.


Situated in western Germany, Rhineland-Palatinate borders (from the north and clockwise) North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Baden-Württemberg, France, Saarland, Luxembourg and Belgium.

The largest river in the state is the Rhine, which forms the border with Baden-Württemberg and Hesse in the southeast before flowing through the northern part of Rhineland-Palatinate. The Rhine Valley is bounded by mountain chains and forms a fascinating landscape containing some of the most historically significant places in Germany.

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