Economic History
First posted on June 12th 2008

Demographic History of the Saarland

Note : this page is conceived telegram-style and selective. The data given below refer to the Saarland in her post-1950 borders, including historical events pertaining to the territory further back in history

Aging Society
Deportation & Genocide
Ethnic Groups : Speakers of Saar Frankish, German, French
Ethnic Minorities : Roma (Gypsies)
Religious Minorities : Lutherans, Jews
Epidemic, Pandemic Diseases
Labour Migration : Immigration, Emigration
Political Refugees : Emigrants, Immigrants
Rural Population
Population Figures
Wartime Destruction : Battleground Saarland

Aging Society
Due to a decrease in the birth rate and increasing life expectancy, since the 1960es the average age of the Alsace-Lorraine citizen has gradually increased.

Deportation & Genocide
1793-1794 Terror Phase of the French Revolution
1914-1918 Prisoners of War held in the region
1939 During the Phoney War, 300,000 Saarlanders evacuated into regions distant from the front; they were allowed to return in 1940
1940-1944 Jews, Gypsies from the Saar were deported; many fell victim to the Holocaust

Ethnic Groups : Speakers of Saar Frankish
While German Nationalism was a strong movement throughout the 19th century, grammar and spelling of High German (as opposed to the traditional regional dialects) was only defined in several steps, Luther's bible translation (1522-1523), the efforts of the novelists of the Romanticist period (c.1770-1815) and Konrad Duden's Dictionary (1880-). German unification was the political goal of the educated bourgeoisie of most German states from 1809 to 1871, and they accepted replacing the traditional regional vernacular with High German, as a step toward the achievement of a post-feudal German nation-state with a liberal constitution.
The inhabitants of what was to become the Saarland in 1919 spoke Saar Frankish, and in school were taught to speak High German. Saar Frankish continues to thrive as a dialect.

Ethnic Groups : Speakers of German
Mandatory elementary schooling ensured that every Saarländer learned High German. With Industrialization came an increased immigration from other parts of Germany.

Ethnic Groups : Speakers of French
When France argued for the annexation of the Saar into France, French propaganda invented 100,000 "Saar French". While in 1920 part of the population of the Saar undoubtedly spoke French as a second language, and some had French ancestors (Huguenots for example), there was no minority native to the Saargebiet which spoke French as first language.

Ethnic Minorities : Sinti and Roma (Gypsies)
Present in the region from the 15th century. In 1940-1944 exposed to deportation and genocide.

Religious Minorities : Lutherans
In 1575 the Reformation was introduced in Saarbrücken. In the early 17th century French Huguenots took up residence here because the country was protestant. Under French rule (c.1680-1697) the authorities discriminated against Protestants. Today c. 79 % Catholic, 21 % Lutheran.

Religious Minorities : Jews
Following the 1935 plebiscite, the majority of the Saar Jews emigrated. In 1940-1944 the remainder of the Jewish community was exposed to deportation and Holocaust.

Religious Minorities : Turks
Came into the country since 1961 when Germany and Turkey signed an agreement about "guest workers".

Epidemic, Pandemic Diseases
1348-1349 Black Plague
1918 Spanish Influenza

1816-1817 Great Famine
1845-1847 Famine caused by Potato Blight
1914-1918 Food Rationing during World War I
1940-1944 Food Rationing during World War II
1944-1947 Post-War Food Crisis

Labour Migration : Immigration 1700- immigration of settlers recruited from all over Europe, among them Salzburg exulants, French Huguenots, Walloon Catholics
1860- workers from other parts of Germany to find work in the expanding coal mining and steel industry

Labour Migration : Emigration

Political Migrants : Emigrants
1935 8,000 Saar refugees flee to escape Nazi rule
1935 the majority of the Saar Jews left the country
1935 French administrative personnel; Dutch and Swedish peacekeepers
1957 French administrative personnel

Political Migrants : Immigrants (in part temporary)
1600-1685 French Huguenots
1919 : French administrative personnel, Dutch and Swedish peacekeepers
1933-1935 Germans fleeing Nazi rule
1935 : administrative personnel from the Pfalz
1945 : French administrative personnel

Rural Population
Viticulture was established in pre-Roman times; it is believed that it was terminated by the Frankish conquerors, but was reestablished by the 9th century. The Thirty Years War 1618-1648 and French incursions in the later half of the 17th century, less frequent in the 18th century, temporarily devastated the country (estimated population losses caused by the Thirty Years War in the Principality Nassau-Saarbrücken 60-75 %; by the end of the 17th century in the Saarland 80 %). The main source of income was agriculture until late into the 19th century.

Population Figures
Saargebiet 1919 589,800, 1933 842,500. Saarland 1950 955,000, 1970 1.121 million, 1990 1.065 million, 2001 1.069 million.

Saarbrücken was residence of the Counts of Saarbrücken since c.1120, of Nassau-Saarbrücken from 1381 to 1793. Saarbrücken and St. Johann were granted the status of cities in the 13th century. In 1680, Louis XIV. founded Saarlouis as a fortress-city. From 1860 onward, the area witnessed urbanization (Saar Canal, flouruishing of coal mining and emergence of a steel industry). In 1909 Saarbrücken, St. Johann and Malstatt-Burbach were merged to form the city of Saarbrücken, with then 105,000 inhabitants. Neunkirchen was granted city rights in 1922, Völklingen was granted city rights in 1937.

Wartime Destruction : Battlefield Saarland
1618-1648 Thirty Years War
1672-1679 Dutch ar of Louis XIV.
1689-1697 War of the Grand Alliance
1701-1714 War of Spanish Succession
1741-1748 War of Austrian Succession; Alsace battleground 1744
1792-1994 War of the First Coalition
1813-1814 Allies invaded Alsace
1870-1871 Franco-German War
1914-1918 World War I
1940-1945 World War II

Geborene Saardeutsche und erdachte Saarfranzosen, from Zeit Online 1952
DOCUMENTS Historical Population Data of Germany, Administrative Units since 1950, Administrative Divisions Prior to 1950, from Population Statistics by Jan Lahmeyer
REFERENCE B.R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics 1750-1988 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted om June 12th 2008

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