The nation of Germany has a federal governmental structure that divides the country into 16 states. Each state has to follow federal laws, as well as state-specific laws that vary from state to state. These states were designated following the reunification the nation in 1990, although some states have roots dating back to the early Middle Ages while others were created following World War II. Of these 16 states, three are designated as city-states.
Each German state has its own capital city and its own state flag. The 16 cities of Germany, in alphabetical order, include:
- Lower Saxony
- Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
- North Rhine-Westphalia
Of these states, the three largest by area are Bavaria, Lower Saxony, and Baden-Wurttemberg. The smallest state is Bremen, which has a total area of just 420 square kilometers.
By population, the largest state is North Rhine-Westphalia, which has a total population of over 17 million. Two additional German states have populations of at least 10 million: Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg. The smallest state by population is Bremen, which has a population of just 671,000 people. Saarland is the second-least-populous state and the only other state that mas a population of fewer than one million people.
The oldest German states are North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria, Lower Saxony, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, and Bremen, each of which has been a part of the Federal Republic of Germany since 1949.