The Rhineland (Rheinland in German) is the general name for the land on both sides of the river Rhine in the west of Germany. A geographical term originally, it has also acquired some political and cultural connotations, becoming a political entity as the Prussian Rhine Province, and continuing in the names of the German Bundesländer Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia.
The Rhine Province was created in 1824 by joining the provinces of Lower Rhine and Jülich-Kleve-Berg. Its capital was Koblenz; it had 8.0 million inhabitants (1939). After World War II, it was divided up between the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saarland.
The Treaty of Versailles (1919) specified the de-militarisation of the entire area after World War I to provide a buffer between Germany on one side and France, Belgium and Luxembourg (and to a lesser extent, the Netherlands) on the other side. In violation of the Locarno Pact and the Treaty of Versailles, Nazi Germany reoccupied the Rhineland on March 7, 1936.