What Happened to All Those Little German Speaking Countries?

If you have studied European history for any length of time, you will know that the map used to look something like this during the time of the Holy Roman Empire when there was some semblance of nations rather than just lands conquered by a group of people.


Wow!  That is a lot of countries!  What exactly happened to those countries?  They were absorbed into larger countries until we have the map of today.  Now, if you notice on the map above, most of those little states are in what is now present day Germany.  You did in fact read that correctly by the way.  I did say states.  The United States of America is not the only country with states in its nation.  Germany does not have quite as many states as America does, but they do in fact have states over there.  There are sixteen of them.  Here is a list of them.  The English name is in the parenthesis.

Baden-Württemberg, Freistaat Bayern (Bavaria), Berlin, Brandenburg, Freie Hansestadt Bremen (Bremen), Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg (Hamburg), Hessen (Hesse), Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia), Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate), Saarland, Freistaat Sachsen (Saxony), Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt), Schleswig-Holstein, and Freistaat Thüringen (Thuringia).

Now, just to confuse you all, out of these sixteen states there are three city-states.  Those are Berlin, Freie Hansestadt Bremen, and Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg.  That means that these three cities operate as both a city and a state all in one.  Think of it as Washington D.C. in the United States.  The modern map of Germany looks like this.


To answer the question as to where all those little states went, you are looking at it.  A lot of those tiny little independent states became the modern country of Germany.  Amusingly enough, despite being in the same country, most of these states have retained a great deal of their individual culture from when they were their own nations.  Take Bayern (Bavaria) for example.  While a great deal of Germany speaks standard German, they have their own dialect, Austro-Bavarian.  The spelling is a bit different and some of the words are different, but overall it is the same.  The northern parts of the country have a completely different culture than the southern parts.  It makes for some interesting travel in the country.