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The Saarland
 

Saarland – from its earliest settlement to the current day

About 100,000 years ago: First evidence of human settlement

54 B.C. The Romans conquer Gaul

9th century: Formation of the Kingdom of Lorraine in the Treaties of Verdun (843) and Meerssen (870)

999: Kaiser Otto III gifts Sarabruca (Saarbrücken) castle, the royal court of Völklingen and the forests of Warndt and Quierschied to the Bishopric of Metz.

Late middle ages: Territorial lordships emerge centred around the County of Saarbrücken, and – surrounding it and extending into what is now Saarland – the Electorate of Trier, the Duchy of Lothringen, and the Duchy of Pfalz-Zweibrücken, all of whose coats of arms are now contained in the Saarland coat of arms.

1575: Count Philipp of Nassau-Saarbrücken introduces the reformation.

1680 – 1697: France forms a Saar province as part of its reunification policies.

1793 – 1815: In 1793 French revolution troops end the princely era and occupy the left bank of the Rhine.

1815 onwards: The area of today's Saarland is split between Prussia, Bavaria, Oldenburg and Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.

1870 – 71: The Battle of Spicheren results in the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by the German Empire.

1920: The Versailles Treaty awards France the Saarland coal mines and makes the associated workers' residential district subject to a League of Nations government commission.

13th January 1935: The referendum provided for by the Versailles Treaty results in a vote of over 90% for the reincorporation of Saarland into the Third Reich under the National Socialists.

1940 – 1945: Following Hitler's French campaign, the department of Moselle is incorporated into the Gau Westmark along with Saarland and Pfalz.

1947: Saarland is annexed to France in economic terms and is granted a limited degree of autonomy.

23rd October 1955: The population of Saarland rejects the European status agreed for it between France and the Federal Republic of Germany by a vote of 67.7% against.

23rd October 1955: Prime Minister Johannes Hoffmann, who had advocated autonomy and the Europeanisation of the Saar, resigns. Until 10th January 1956 Prime Minister Heinrich Welsch leads a transition government which organises fresh elections.

1st January 1957: Political reintegration: Saarland becomes the 10th federal state of the Federal Republic of Germany; economic reintegration takes place on 6th July 1959.

10th January 1956 – 23rd April 1959: Prime Minister Hubert Ney (CDU); after his resignation Egon Reinert (CDU) takes over government business until his death as the result of a traffic accident.

1959 – 1979: Franz-Josef Röder (CDU) directs the fortunes of Saarland as its Prime Minister. During this period, legislation, the economy and politics are aligned with the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany and infrastructure is expanded. From the middle of the 1960s onwards a structural crisis affects the coal, iron and steel industries. The 1970s see the introduction of an economic transformation, one illustration of which is the opening of the Ford plant in Saarlouis.

1979 – 1985: Werner Zeyer (CDU) becomes Prime Minister following the death of Franz-Josef Röder. The steel crisis reaches its climax in the early 1980s. A socially responsible restructuring programme is introduced.

1985 – 1999: Formation of an SPD government headed by Prime Minister Oskar Lafontaine, and then Reinhard Klimmt from 1998.

1995: The coal, iron and steel industries stabilise around a viable core. Economic development receives important boosts with the advent of renowned research institutions. The federal government grants Saarland a partial debt write-off.

1999: The CDU wins an absolute majority in the state parliamentary elections; Peter Müller becomes Prime Minister. Accelerated structural change with the promotion of innovative technologies.

2003: The German Institute for Economic Research declares Saarland to be the most dynamic federal state due to Saarland having achieved an above-average performance for Germany in relation to all the economic indicators.

2004: Peter Müller re-elected Prime Minister after the CDU again wins an absolute majority.

2009: Peter Müller is re-elected as Prime Minister and leads the first "Jamaica coalition" (including the Free Democrats and Greens alongside the CDU/CSU) at state level within the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2011 Prime Minister Annegret, who is still in office, takes over leadership of the government. She is the first woman to lead a state government in Saarland.

2012: The CDU headed by Prime Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer win the early elections, and she forms a Grand Coalition together with the SPD.

Since 2014 the state has presented itself in a novel image campaign. The slogan "Großes entsteht immer im Kleinen" ("Great things always have small beginnings") and associated measures promote the state as a place to live and to set up business in. The aim is to make skilled workers in both the state and throughout Germany aware of the region's advantages in terms of jobs, culture, gastronomy and the landscape.

23rd October 2015: 60th anniversary of the Saar referendum.
60th anniversary of Saarland: On 1st January 2017 Saarland celebrates its accession to the Federal Republic of Germany.

2017: Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is re-elected Prime Minister after the CDU again forms a Grand Coalition with the SPD.