Neanderthals settled in the region of the river Ruhr from approximately 80,000 BC. They were followed by tribes of Germanic race, whose lives were made difficult leading to displacement by the arrival of the Romans.
The passage of time saw the obligatory strife across the region of the Ruhr and Lippe. Both the early and middle ages saw power struggles and battles involving religious movements and nobility. One important here as well as around the Baltic Sea was the foundation of the Hansa League.
Lives were destroyed by plague and other illnesses, living conditions were atrocious. Then came an assortment of long periods of fighting, large and small including the thirty and seven year wars.
The Prussians arrived in the seventeenth century as did Napoleon in the nineteenth. The industrial revolution based on coal followed changing the mostly agricultural landscape forever. Steel production formed the basis for the boom in factories and expansion of cultural inspiration for more affluent inhabitants.
The Ruhr region saw suffering during the first world war and massive destruction during the second. In 1946, the state of North Rhine Westphalia was founded. New universities followed and industry recovered. Recent years have seen massive decline in manufacturing and a struggle for each town to renew itself.
Some have fared better than others. Modern consumerism drives much of the economy as do export sales of goods produced in the Ruhr Metropolis in a globalised world.