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city, North Rhine-Westphalia Land (state), northwestern Germany. It lies at the northern edge of the Ruhr industrial region, on the Rhine-Herne Canal, northwest of Essen. Although it was mentioned in the Middle Ages, it remained a small peasant community until coal was discovered there in the latter part of the 19th century. Most of its churches and public buildings date from after 1860, although the city was not chartered until 1921. In 1975 Bottrop annexed Kirchhellen and Gladbeck, nearly doubling its population. Coal mining and coking dominate the economy, and there is some manufacturing. An industrial section lies to the south; an extensive park and woodland (Kollnischer Wald) stretches to the north. Pop. (2003 est.) 120,324.