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image by Jaume Ollé
The Rhenish Palatinate flourished in the 15th and 16th cent., and its capital, Heidelberg, was a center of the German Renaissance and Reformation. The election (1619) of Elector Frederick V ('the Winter King') as king of Bohemia precipitated the Thirty Years War, in which the Palatinate was ravaged both by the imperial forces under Tilly and by the Protestant army under Mansfeld. The Upper Palatinate and the electoral vote were taken from Frederick and transferred to Bavaria, but at the Peace of Westphalia (1648) a new vote was created for Frederick's successor, Charles Louis, and the Rhenish lands, devastated in the war, were returned to his control. The Upper Palatinate remained a part of Bavaria. The region became involved in the War of the Grand Alliance with Louis XIV, who ordered the destruction (1688–89) of the Rhenish Palatinate. In 1720 the capital was transferred to Mannheim.
The palatine lands west of the Rhine were conquered by France in the French Revolutionary Wars. In 1803, Maximilian ceded the palatine lands east of the Rhine to Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt, and Nassau, but in 1806 he became king of a much-enlarged Bavaria, and at the Congress of Vienna (1815) he recovered part of the Rhenish Palatinate west of the Rhine, including Speyer and other enclaves. Several districts, however, were awarded to Prussia, Hesse, and Oldenburg. The Upper Palatinate was increased by the addition of Regensburg, which replaced Amberg as capital. Both the Rhenish and the Upper Palatinate became integral parts of Bavaria. After World War II the Rhenish Palatinate became (1946) a district of the newly created state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
Santiago Dotor, 17 Oct 2001
Palatinate (of the Rhine). A gold lion on a black field. In use from 14th century until the late 18th century.
Norman Martin, Apr 1998
What does this "Palatinate 14th-18th century" flag really stand for? We do not have an explanation. Is it the flag of the count palatine? Of the territory? Or what? (...) The depiction of the Palatinate lion in the flag of the Bezirksverband Pfalz is just the variant that is used by Pfalz today. It is not really medieval in style, rather baroque.
Marcus Schmöger, 20 Oct 2001
During the German Empire 1871-1918 the Pfalz [Palatinate] was a Regierungsbezirk (government district) of Bavaria, hence a proper part of Bavaria. In 1945 it became a part of the French occupation zone and later a part of Rheinland-Pfalz. The rest of Bavaria, being in the American occupation zone, was re-created as a Land on 19 September 1945. I cannot say anything for certain about the use of flags.
Stefan Schwoon, 17 Oct 2001
As pointed out by Stefan Schwoon, Pfalz was simply the eighth province of Bavaria. However, the term Kreis was used in those times, whereas Regierungsbezirk is the modern term (after 1945). As the Pfalz had been included in the French Occupation Zone, it was no longer part of Bavaria as reconstituted 1945. Before that, there were no differences in the use of symbols between Pfalz and the rest of Bavaria. There were some historically-based differences in the law between Pfalz and the rest of Bavaria, though.
Marcus Schmöger, 17 Oct 2001
Bavaria lost Pfalz before 1945. The Nazi government started in 1934 to eliminate the German Länder and split them in so-called Gaue. Pfalz was united in 1935 with Saarland to make Saarpfalz. After the conquest of France, Lorraine was added to it and this territory was called Reichsgau Westmark.
J. Patrick Fischer, 17 Oct 2001
Well, that is not true. The German Länder were never eliminated. The Gaue were the designations of the party districts, not of the subdivisions of the state. In a technical sense, the Länder continued in existence [read on under Subnational Flags 1935-1945].
Marcus Schmöger, 20 Oct 2001
My source is Manfred Scheuch, Atlas zur Zeitgeschichte — Europa im 20. Jahrhundert. The Gesetz über den Neuaufbau des Reiches (law about the new structure of the Reich) was adopted on 30th January 1934. In 1938 there were 38 Gaue in the 14 Länder of Germany. During the war several Reichsgaue were created, among them Westmark (with Palatinate) in the West [read on under Subnational Flags 1935-1945].
J. Patrick Fischer, 21 Oct 2001
When Gauleiter Wagner was named Reich Defense Commissioner for Bavaria on 2 September 1939, the Palatinate was specifically excluded. With the end of the war the formal allegiance of the Palatinate ended. If a particular date is needed, perhaps the formation by the allies of the Region Saarland-Pfalz-Südhessen on 10 May 1945 might do. My copy of the Münchner Jahrbuch 1942 still lists the Pfalz as a Regierungsbezirk of Bavaria
Norman Martin, 21 Oct 2001