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The Alsace region, in north east France, is the fifth smallest in France but is the seventh most densely populated in the country. It is bordered by Germany in the north, the Rhine River to the east, Switzerland to the south and the Vosges mountains and the Lorraine Region to the west. The region consists of two departments, the Bas-Rhin and the Haut-Rhin. The region’s main cities are Colmar, Mulhouse and Strasbourg.
Celts first began to settle the area in 1500 BC until the Romans invaded it and by 58 BC had established the Alsace as a centre of winemaking. During the 5th century the Franks took over and the area became Christianized. Otto von Bismark annexed Alsace and northern Lorraine into the Germany Empire in 1871. The region changed hands another three times after that, the last being when France regained control in 1945.