The Celts and Germanic Franks were the earliest known
inhabitants of the area, which subsequently became part of the Carolingian
empire and the eastern Frankish empire. By the Middle Ages the Saar consisted of several small territories, the largest
of which was centred on the city of Saarbrücken.
From 1381 to 1793 Saarbrücken was ruled by the counts of Nassau-Saarbrücken.
The territory around Saarbrücken, though inhabited by German-speaking people, was
much influenced by France in the 150 years
following the Treaty of Westphalia
(1648). The Saar became a French province in
1684 under the Truce of Regensburg, but in 1697 France was forced to surrender all
of the Saar except the town of Saarlouis under the Treaty of Rijswijk. From 1792 to 1815 France again
occupied the Saar, together with the entire
west bank of the Rhine. With the final defeat
of Napoleon in 1815, France
was forced to cede most of the Saar to Prussia,
which made the area part of its Prussian Rhine province. When Alsace-Lorraine
was added to the German empire in 1871, the Saar
ceased to be a boundary state and experienced rapid industrial development
based on its own coal deposits and the iron-ore deposits of Lorraine.
After World War I the Saar
coal mines were awarded to France,
and the Saarland
was placed under the administration of the League of Nations for 15
years, at the end of which time a plebiscite would permit the inhabitants to
choose between being part of France
In the actual plebiscite held on 13 January 1935, more than 90 percent of the inhabitants
of the Saar voted for its return to Germany, which
was duly accomplished.
In 1945, following World War II, French military
forces occupied the Saar, and two years later
the first Saar state Parliament adopted a
constitution that called for an autonomous Saar
in an economic union with France.
By 1954, however, West Germany's renewed prosperity was attracting
the sympathies of most Saarlanders, and in that year France and the Federal
Republic of Germany agreed to a statute that provided for the Saar's
autonomy under a European commissioner. The new status was to be approved by a
referendum, however, and in the event (23 October 1955) 68 percent of the Saar's
voters rejected the statute and, by implication, the separation of the Saar from Germany.
The French subsequently agreed (l956) to the return of the Saar
to West Germany,
and on 1 January 1957,
finally achieved its present status as a federal Land of Germany.
The French franc was kept as the currency in Saarland until the
(West) German mark was introduced on 6 July 1959. From 1 January 1957 to that date several West
German stamps were issued in French currency with the extra country name 'Saarland'.
of the Federal Republic of Germany
franc (100 centimes) (until 6
UN country code: -
Internet TLD: -
Dialling code: -
Member of: no
Saarland in Wikipedia.
Saarland in Flags
of the World.
International Letter Writing Week
date: 5 October 1957
extra: first day cover
1 15 F two carrier pigeons with letters,
text "INTERNATIONALE / BRIEFWOCHE / 1957"
Michel 408/SG 405/Yvert 390)
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last revised: 1 September 2010