The New Student's Reference Work/Palatinate
Palatinate (pȧ-lăt′ĭn-ât), the name of two German states united before 1623. They were called the Upper and the Lower Palatinate, the Upper being what now is the kingdom of Bavaria, and the Lower lying on both sides of the Rhine and bounded by Mainz, Treves, Lorraine, Alsace, Baden and Württemberg. The capital was Heidelberg. The Rhenish Palatinate was established as an hereditary possession as early as the 11th century, and in 1216 it was granted to the duke of Bavaria, and this and the Bavarian territory were held by the Bavarian house. In 1559 the Rhenish territory and the electoral vote passed to Frederick III; afterward to Frederick V; and finally to his son. In 1801 France took possession of the western part and gave the eastern to Bavaria, Nassau and Hesse-Darmstadt. The left bank was restored to Germany in 1815, the larger part going to Bavaria, the rest being divided among other provinces. Today two districts of Bavaria are known as the Palatinate proper (Rheinpfalz) with an area of 2,372 square miles (population 937,085) and Upper Palatinate (Oberpfalz), with an area of 3,862 square miles (population 600,284). The capital of the latter is Ratisbon (Regensburg) on the Danube, population 52,624.