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Westphalia

Introduction

Westphalia (wĕstfālˈyə) [key], Ger. Westfalen, region and former province of Prussia, W Germany. Münster was the capital of the province. After 1945 the province was incorporated into the West German state of North Rhine–Westphalia, now a state in reunified Germany. The region of Westphalia occupies, roughly, a triangle formed by a line drawn eastward from the Rhine River at the Dutch border to the Weser River at Minden, a line drawn from Minden southwestward to Siegen (near the border with Hesse), and a line drawn to the northwest from Siegen and parallel to the Rhine.

The region is drained by the Ems, Weser, Ruhr, and Lippe rivers; it is hilly in the east and south and forms a low plain in the northwest. The land consists partly of fertile soil and partly of sandy tracts, moors, and heaths. The Ruhr valley, in the west, is part of the great Westphalian coal basin and of the Ruhr district, one of the world's most important industrial regions. The Ruhr district is connected with the Ems River by the Dortmund-Ems Canal and with the Elbe River by the Midland Canal.

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

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