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Former province of Prussia, now part of Germany. It comprises (with the former state of Lippe) the present German state of North Rhine–Westphalia and parts of the states of Lower Saxony and Hesse. Settled by Saxons called Westphalians c. AD 700, Westphalia was created a duchy (1180), which for several centuries was administered for the archbishop of Cologne. The Peace of Westphalia (1648) was signed at Münster. In 1807 Napoleon created for his brother, Jérôme Bonaparte, the kingdom of Westphalia; its capital was Kassel. Reorganized by the Congress of Vienna in 1815, it became a province of Prussia in 1816, with its capital at Münster. Its cities suffered severe bombings in World War II.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Westphalia, visit Britannica.com.