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city, North Rhine-Westphalia Land (state), western Germany. It lies just north of Essen. Gelsenkirchen was a village of fewer than 1,000 inhabitants in 1850, but the opening in 1853 of its first coal mine and its favourable position on the Rhine-Herne Canal stimulated its rapid development as a Ruhr inland port and industrial centre. It was chartered in 1875 and absorbed the neighbouring towns of Buer and Horst in 1928.