Skip to main content

Rhine Province

Rhine Province, Ger. Rheinprovinz, former province of Prussia, W Germany. The province was also known as Rhenish Prussia and as the Rhineland. The northern section of the former province (which contained part of the industrial Ruhr district) is now included in the state of North Rhine–Westphalia, and the southern section (with its famous wine districts along the Moselle and Rhine rivers) is in Rhineland-Palatinate. The province bordered in the W on the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg and in the S on France. Koblenz (the former capital), Cologne, Düsseldorf, Aachen, and Wuppertal were among the chief cities. The region is traversed by the Rhine, Moselle, and Wupper rivers and by the lower course of the Ruhr. The Rhenish Slate Mts. are in the south. After the breakup (11th cent.) of the duchy of Lower Lorraine (see Lotharingia), of which the area was a part, the region split into more than 100 ecclesiastic and secular fiefs; Aachen and Cologne became free imperial cities. Chief among the territorial princes were the archbishops of Cologne and Trier and the dukes of Cleves, who also absorbed the duchies of Jülich and Berg. In 1614, Jülich and Berg passed to the dukes palatine of Neuburg (later electors palatine), while Cleves went to the electors of Brandenburg (later kings of Prussia). As a result of the French Revolutionary Wars, France annexed the entire territory W of the Rhine, while the territory E of the Rhine was constituted (1803) the duchy (after 1806, grand duchy) of Berg. The award of the entire territory to Prussia at the Congress of Vienna (1814–15) represented the greatest Prussian territorial gain since the partitions of Poland (see Poland, partitions of). At first divided into two provinces, the entire region was constituted the Rhine Province in 1824. One of the strongholds of Roman Catholicism in Germany, the province played an important part in the Kulturkampf later in the century. Under the Treaty of Versailles (1919), the border territories of Eupen and of Malmedy and Moresnet were ceded to Belgium, and the southernmost corner of the province was included in the Saar Territory. These were recovered by Germany after 1935, but the status quo as of 1920 (with minor modifications) was restored in 1945 after World War II and prior to the formation of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Rhine Province." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 24 Feb. 2018 <>.

"Rhine Province." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (February 24, 2018).

"Rhine Province." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 24, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.