state of SW Germany, in the Saar Basin: 992 sq mi (2,569 sq km); cap. Saarbrücken: used with the
A region of southwest Germany in the Saar River valley on the border with France. Because of its extensive coal deposits, it was long contested between Germany and France, especially after World War I, when the League of Nations assigned the administration of the newly formed Saar Territory to France. After a 1935 plebiscite, Saarland became a German province, but it was again placed under French control in 1945. Autonomy was rejected by the populace in 1955, and the region officially became a state of West Germany in 1957.