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Land at the Heart of Europe

Bavaria is one of the oldest states in Europe dating right back to the 6th century AD. From the Middle Ages up to the beginning of the 19th century Bavaria was a powerful and mighty Dukedom first under the reign of the Guelph dynasty and subsequently under the Wittelsbachs.

Cities such as Regensburg developed into spiritual and economic centres of European importance. After the Thirty Years’ War the Electorate of Bavaria had an important role amongst the great political players of the time.

Bavaria was a kingdom for over 100 years, from January 1, 1806 to November 8, 1918. The six Bavarian kings reigned as constitutional monarchs. The first Bavarian monarch, Max Joseph I, owed his royal status to an alliance with the French emperor Napoleon I.

In the wake of the 1st World War, events in Bavaria were first determined by a communist Räterepublik until a constitution with parliamentary democracy came into force in 1919. Under the National Socialists Bavaria lost its independence as a state.

On 1st December 1946 a constitution for the Free State of Bavaria was adopted by referendum.

Key dates in the history of Bavaria

6th century AD Inception of the Dukedom of Bavaria
1158 Henry the Lion founds Munich
1180 Emperor Frederick Barbarossa appoints Otto von Wittelsbach as Duke of Bavaria
1301-1347 Ludwig the Bavarian crowned King and Emperor of Germany
1623 Bavaria becomes an Electorate
1662-1726 Elector Max Emanuel develops the splendours of Bavarian baroque
1800-1815 Swabia and Franconia become part of Bavaria
1806 Bavaria becomes a kingdom
1818 Bavaria is granted a constitution
1825-1845 King Ludwig I makes Bavaria a centre for both culture and the sciences
1835 The very first railway in Germany is built between Nuremberg and Fürth
1864-1886 King Ludwig II, the "Fairytale King"
1918 Bavaria becomes a Free State
1933-1945 Bavaria loses its independence as a state under the National Socialists
1946 Inception of the constitution of the Free State of Bavaria

Source: The Bavarian State Chancellery

Further information is available at the Haus der bayerischen Geschichte (Centre of Bavarian History) which showcases a detailed exhibition on the History of Bavaria in English.


 


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