The term Pfalz (= Palatinate) stands initially for a kind of a temporary county seat of a King or an Emperor. At this place the Monarch made his stop when he was traveling through the country. The word for it has a Latin origin: “Pfalz” (Palatinate) is derived from the Latin word “Palatin” which was one of the 7 hills of Rome and on which the King’s palace was located.
The Rhine-Lorraine County Palatine was subordinated to permanently changing reign families until in the beginning of the 13th century the Wittelsbachs became the leading aristocratic family. Under this family’s leadership “the Electorate Palatinate on Rhine”, short “Palatinate”, attained its political dimensions in the southern areas of Germany. When the last initially Bavarian family line of the Wittelsbachs had died the Electoral Palatinate has been passed to the Electorate of Bavaria. This way the “Electorate Palatinate – Bavaria” emerged, which, however, has been divided when in 1806 the Bavarian Kingdom was founded. Ever since then the Palatinate has appertained the Grand Duchy of Baden.
The territory of the former County Palatinate, which today is the area around Heidelberg and Mannheim, portrays the geographic location of the Palatinate. To the present day there is no exact classification of borders, as for example there are none in the regions of the Swabias, too.