Saarland (Saar) is a state in the southwestern part of Germany. It is one of the smallest German states with an area of 2,570 square kilometers (990 square miles). It is surrounded by the department of Moselle (Grand Est) in France to the west and south, the state of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany to the north and east, and a small area of the canton of Remich in Luxembourg to the northwest. Its capital and largest city is Saarbrucken.
Though Saarland has a small area, it is an important area due to its location. Its vast coal deposits and heavy industrialization also make Saarland an economic powerhouse.
Because Saarland is between France and Germany, it has been passed between these countries. It was first established as a distinct political entity in 1920 as the Territory of the Saar Basin under France. In the 1935 Saar status referendum, Saar became part of Germany. After the Second World War, the French military administration organized an Allied-occupied territory in Germany. This territory was the Saar Protectorate. After another referendum, Saar rejoined Germany as a state on 1 January 1957.
Saarland used its own currency, the Saar franc, as part of France. The Saar franc was based on the French franc and was never legally an independent currency. The Saar franc circulated until 1959.