The southwestern Land in the German Federal Republic.
Much of its territory had been part of the old Duchy of Swabia, though the north lay in Franconia, and included some of the key lands of the Electors Palatine, including their capital, Heidelberg. The changes of the early 19th century reduced the many mostly small principalities, several of them ecclesiastical, in this extremely fragmented region to four – Württemberg, Baden and two smallish Hohenzollern principalities.
The Land was formed in 1952 by merging three Länder, Württemberg-Hohenzollern and Baden, in the French Zone of Occupation, and Württemberg-Baden, in the American Zone. It is the only use to have been made of a power, bestowed in the Basic Law, to alter the boundaries of the Länder that constitute the Federal Republic of Germany.
The new Land was divided into four Regierungsbezirke (administrative regions), Südbaden and Südwürttemberg-Hohenzollern (the former Länder in the French Zone), and Nordbaden and Nordwürttemberg (formed by dividing Württemberg-Baden). The regional boundaries within Baden-Württemberg remained until 1971, when new Regierungsbezirke were created. They were much tidier in shape and were named after their capitals: Karlsruhe (the northwest), Stuttgart (northeast), Tübingen (southeast), and Freiburg (southwest).
Baden-Württemberg is 3rd both in area and population among the Länder and is the Land which has seen the greatest relative increase in population, as its total population has grown from 7 to 10 million (more than 40%) between the early 1950s and mid-1990s. It has benefitted both from the growth of new industries and from the great increase of an old industry, car manufacture; both were hit by the recession of the 1990s.