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Baden

Baden (bäˈdən) [key], former state, SW Germany. Karlsruhe was the capital. Stretching from the Main River in the northeast across the lower Neckar valley and along the right bank of the Rhine to Lake Constance (Bodensee), the former state of Baden bordered on France and the Rhenish Palatinate in the west, Switzerland in the south, Hesse in the north, and Bavaria and Württemberg in the east. It included the cities of Mannheim, Pforzheim, Heidelberg, Baden-Baden, Freiburg, and Rastatt and, in the south, most of the Black Forest. Until the French Revolution the area was a confusing jigsaw puzzle of petty margraviates and ecclesiastical states (the bishoprics of Mainz, Speyer, Strasbourg, and Konstanz). The Breisgau belonged to the Hapsburgs, the Mannheim-Heidelberg area to the Rhenish Palatinate. In 1771 the margraviates of Baden-Baden and Baden-Durlach were united as Baden under the same branch of the house of Zähringen. Margrave Charles Frederick of Baden, raised to the rank of elector at the beginning of the 19th cent., joined the Confederation of the Rhine in 1806 with the title of grand duke and by 1810 had acquired, with the aid of Napoleon I of France, the entire state of Baden. Despite the liberal constitution of 1818 the grand duchy was severely shaken by the Revolution of 1848, which was suppressed with the help of Prussian troops. Among the revolutionary leaders in Baden was Friedrich Hecker. Baden sided with Austria in the Austro-Prussian War (1866), but joined the German Empire in 1871. It became a republic in 1918 and joined the Weimar Republic. After World War II, Baden was divided into two parts—in the south, the state of Baden (3,842 sq mi/9,951 sq km), occupied by France, and in the north, the state of Württemberg-Baden (1,984 sq mi/5,139 sq km), including part of Württemberg, occupied by U.S. armed forces. In 1952 the two states were merged with Württemberg-Hohenzollern to form the new state of Baden-Württemberg.

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

See more Encyclopedia articles on: German Political Geography


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