Grand Duchy Of Baden, a sovereign state of Germany, lying in the south-west corner of the empire, bounded N. by the kingdom of Bavaria and the grand-duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt; W. and practically throughout its whole length by the Rhine, which separates it from the Bavarian Palatinate and the imperial province of Alsace-Lorraine; S. by Switzerland, and E. by the kingdom of Württemberg and part of Bavaria. The country has an area of 5823 sq. m. and consists of a considerable portion of the eastern half of the fertile valley of the Rhine and of the mountains which form its boundary. The mountainous part is by far the most extensive, forming, indeed, nearly 80% of the whole area. From the Lake of Constance in the south to the river Neckar in the north is a portion of the Black Forest or Schwarzwald, which is divided by the valley of the Kinzig into two districts of different elevation. To the south of the Kinzig the mean height is 3100 ft., and the loftiest summit, the Feldberg, reaches about 4898 ft., while to the north the mean height is only 2100 ft., and the Belchen, the culminating point of the whole, does not exceed 4480 ft. To the north of the Neckar is the Odenwald Range, with a mean of 1440 ft., and in the Katzenbuckel, an extreme of 1980 ft.
Lying between the Rhine and the Dreisam is the Kaiserstuhl, an independent volcanic group, nearly 10 m. in length and 5 in breadth, the highest point of which is 1760 ft. The greater part of Baden belongs to the basin of the Rhine, which receives upwards of twenty tributaries from the highlands; the north-eastern portion of the territory is also watered by the Main and the Neckar. A part, however, of the eastern slope of the Black Forest belongs to the basin of the Danube, which there takes its rise in a number of mountain streams. Among the numerous lakes which belong to the duchy are the Mummel, Wilder, Eichener and Schluch, but none of them is of any size. The Lake of Constance (Boden-See) belongs partly to Bavaria and Switzerland.
Owing to its physical configuration Baden presents great extremes of heat and cold. The Rhine valley is the warmest district in Germany, but the higher elevations of the Black Forest record the greatest degrees of cold experienced in the south. The mean temperature of the Rhine valley is approximately 50° F. and that of the high table-land, 43° F. July is the hottest and January the coldest month in the year.
The mineral wealth of Baden is not great; but iron, coal, zinc and lead of excellent quality are produced, and silver, copper, gold, cobalt, vitriol and sulphur are obtained in small quantities. Peat is found in abundance, as well as gypsum, china-clay, potters' earth and salt. The mineral springs of Baden are very numerous and have acquired great celebrity, those of Baden-Baden, Badenweiler, Antogast, Griesbach, Freiersbach and Petersthal being the most frequented.
In the valleys the soil is particularly fertile, yielding luxuriant crops of wheat, maize, barley, spelt, beans, potatoes, flax, hemp, hops, beetroot and tobacco; and even in the more mountainous parts rye, wheat and oats are extensively cultivated. There is a considerable extent of pasture land, and the rearing of cattle, sheep, pigs and goats is largely practised. Of game, deer, wild boars, hares, snipe and partridges are fairly abundant, while the mountain streams yield trout of excellent quality. The culture of the vine increases, and the wines, which are characterized by a mildness of flavour, are in good demand. The gardens and orchards supply great abundance of fruits, especially almonds and walnuts; and bee-keeping is common throughout the country. A greater proportion of Baden than of any other of the south German states is occupied by forests. In these the predominant trees are the fir and pine, but many others, such as the chestnut, are well represented. A third, at least, of the annual supply of timber is exported.