Left Bank of the Rhine

The Left Bank of the Rhine (German: Linkes Rheinufer, French: Rive gauche du Rhin)[1] was the region north of Lauterbourg that is now in western Germany and was conquered during the War of the First Coalition and annexed by the First French Republic.

The left Rhine departements in 1812
Boundaries of France in 1812

After the French attempt to create a Cisrhenian Republic had foundered, the territories west of the Rhine were reorganised into several départements in the French First Republic. After the allied victory over Napoleon I in 1814, the territories were temporarily administered by the Central Administrative Departement (Zentralverwaltungsdepartement). The Sarre province and the district of Landau in der Pfalz, which had been French before the Napoleonic Wars, became by the final act of the Congress of Vienna ceded to the coalition's members of the coalition. The recent annexations done under the First Republic were undone. From those territories, the Bavarian Circle of the Rhine (Rheinkreis) and the Hessian province of Rhenish Hesse (Rheinhessen) were formed in 1816.

The regions in the north went to Prussia and were initially part of the two provinces of Jülich-Cleves-Berg and the Grand Duchy of the Lower Rhine from which the Rhine Province emerged in 1822. The southern Left Bank territories, which had for centuries been under imperial rule in the Holy Roman Empire until they were seized by France, mostly in the 17th century, were restored to the new German Empire in 1871, after France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. Parts of the region were consolidated into the Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine for 48 years (1871-1919), but Alsace Lorraine itself was allocated to France after the First World War. The remainder of the Rhineland was retained by Germany, albeit under Allied occupation from 1918 and then French occupation from 1920 until 1925.