History Files
 

 

European Kingdoms

Central Europe

 

 

 

Bavaria (Bavarii)

When the Romano-German general and emperor, Odoacer, destroyed the Germanic Rugii in AD 487, a new confederation of Germans formed in their place, perhaps partly from the Rugian survivors themselves, but perhaps also from migrants filling the vacuum that had been created. The confederation was the Bavarians (Latinised as Bavarii or Baiovarii). The territory in which they finally settled became the land of Bavaria, located in what is now south-east Germany.

More recent theories postulate that the Celtic Boii tribe formed part of this new confederation. It is due to ethnic mixing between Germans and Celts that the German Bavarii name is actually Celtic in origin. The best explanation for the first element, 'Baio', is that it is a miswritten or mispronounced form of 'Boio', which itself may actually have contained an 'h', as 'Bohio'. The second element, 'vari' ('warioz' in conjectural proto-Celtic), is a Celtic word borrowed into Germanic languages. It means 'men', and is only used as 'dwellers' by forced extension of its meaning. So the Baiovarii name would translate as 'men of the Boii'. This would imply that an event in history occurred where a German military elite took over a part of the Boii tribe, retaining the name, itself not that rare an occurrence. This implication seems to be borne out by the Marcomanni takeover of the Boii in the first century BC. This makes the Bavarii not only the descendants (in part) of the Boii, but also of the Marcomanni.

Initially a powerful duchy in the Holy Roman empire, Bavaria became a moderately powerful kingdom under the reforms of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1805, and played its part in central European politics until the conclusion of the First World War saw the kingdom abolished and a federal Germany formed, of which it was a constituent part. Today Bavaria is a strongly Catholic region of Germany, seen perhaps as a little old fashioned in the eyes of northern Germans, and sometimes having more in common with its south-eastern neighbour, Austria.

(Additional information by Edward Dawson.)

c.500

The Germanic tribe of the Rugians seem to be the same people as the Rugii of the first century who had settled on the southern shore of the Baltic. They had later migrated into Austria where they founded a kingdom which was soon subjugated by the Huns. Throwing in their lot with the Ostrogoths after being defeated in 487 by the Romano-German general and emperor, Odoacer, they migrate into Italy about 493 and soon became indivisible from the Ostrogoths. The Bavarii confederation forms in their place.

Bavarian Confederation

The Bavarian confederation formed in the territory that would later become Bohemia, immediately following the exodus of the Langobards towards Italy. The confederation was unusual in that it did not migrate from elsewhere but was made up from local elements, which included possible Celtic Boii descendants and Roman settlers, along with elements of the Germanic Alemanni, Buri, Heruli, Marcomanni, Ostrogoths (following the fall of their own kingdom), Quadi, Rugii, Scirii, and Thuringians. Within a few decades the Bavarii also migrated (or expanded) southwards to occupy a larger territory which later formed Bavaria and parts of Austria. There, they were subjugated by the Franks around 555, but may not have remained fully under Frankish domination, if at all. It was not until the Carolingian conquest of 788 that independence was definitely lost.

The ancient Celtic name for Bohemia was the Boiohæmum, which emerged after the Slavic incursions as Bojoheim, Baiheim, or Beheim. The Bavarian name was derived from Baioarii, Bajuvarii, and Bajjawarjos, literally meaning the 'inhabitants of the Boiic land'.

508 - 512

Theodo I

In Bohemia. First king of the Bavarii.

c.520 - 550

The Bavarii migrate south and westwards into what will become their traditional homeland in modern south-east Germany and also including areas of Austria. The first three Theodos are unknown to history aside from their names, and may be manufactured to fill gaps left by rulers who have been forgotten.

Bavarian countryside
Bavaria's mixed terrain varies from dark forests to alpine mountains in the far south

512 - 537

Theodo II

537 - 565

Theodo III

537 - 567

Theodobald

Co-ruler.

555

The Bavarii are conquered by the Frankish King Chlothar I, following perhaps seven years or so of Frankish dominance. A regional governor is appointed in the form of a duke, although it is not known if this founder of the Agilolfing dukes is a Frank or a Bavarian. It may be the case that he initially governs while the reigning Bavarian kings retain some semblance of power, but possibly not control.

550 - 590

Garibald I / Garivald

First of the Frankish-appointed Agilolfing dukes.

590 - 591

Theodelinda, daughter of Garibald, rules the Lombard kingdom of Italy briefly upon the death of her husband. She is a Nicene Christian, an adherent of the Roman Church, and is very important in terms of increasing the importance and reach of the Catholic church in Italy over Arian Christianity. Thanks in large part to her efforts in winning converts the church at Rome is able to secure its primacy in Italy and can begin to focus its attention on making fresh converts elsewhere.

590 - 595

Grimwald I

591

Tassilo is appointed king of the Bavarians by Frankish King Childebert II of Austrasia in order to end a war between Bavarians and Franks which had begun under Garibald I. The act also reaffirms Frankish control of the Bavarians. The relationship of Grimwald I to any of these participants is unknown, as is his fate during and after the appointment of a Bavarian king.

591 - 609

Tassilo I

King of the Bavarians.

609 - 640

Garibald II

Son. Duke of the Bavarians.

609 - 630

Agilolf

609

The inclusion of Agilolf is not shown in all sources, and may be a replacement for a lost duke. Whether he co-rules or acts as a regent is not known. Coincidentally, perhaps, there is an Agilulf, king of the Lombards, with whom the Bavarians have close relations during this period.

640 - 680

Theodo IV (I)

680 - 702

Theodo V (II)

Duke of the Bavarians.

Lantpert of Bavaria

Son. Murdered (Saint) Emmeram of Regensburg.

702 - 725

Theodobert / Theudbert

Brother. Duke in Salzburg.

702 - 723

Grimwald II / Grimoald

Brother. Duke in Freising.

702 - 715

Theodobald

Brother. Duke in parts of Bavaria.

702 - 719

Tassilo II

Brother. Duke in Passau.

725 - 737

Hubert / Hugbert

Son of Theodobert. Duke of Bavaria.

737 - 748

Odilo

Son of Gotfried of Allemania. Defeated by the Franks.

743 - 744

The Carolingian mayors of the Merovingian palace, Pepin the Short and Carloman, march against the Bavarian Agilolfings (who refuse to end their support for the Merovingians), before turning north to attack the Saxons. Odilo is allowed to remain duke, but upon his death, Grifo, half brother of Pepin and Carloman, attempts to gain the title before being defeated.

748

Grifo

Half-brother of Pepin of the Franks.

748 - 788

Tassilo III

Infant son of Odilo, installed by Pepin of the Franks.

Theodo

Son. Became a monk.

788 - 889

With the Carolingians growing in power, Tassilo is deposed and the Bavarians are subsumed completely within the kingdom and subsequent empire. This remains the case until that empire finally fragments in 889, although from 843 Bavaria is generally controlled by the Eastern Franks.

815 - 817

Lothar I

Son of Frankish Emperor Louis the Pious. Later king of Italy.

876

The death of Louis the German results in his territory being divided between his three sons. This is something that he had already foreseen, and portions of territory had been appointed to each of them in 865. Now in a peaceful succession, Carloman inherits Bavaria and the Ostmark, Louis the Younger gains Franconia, Saxony, and Thuringia, while Charles the Fat succeeds to Rhaetia and Swabia. As the oldest son, Carloman also retains de facto dominance over the Eastern Franks as a whole.

876 - 880

Carloman of Bavaria / Charles

Son of King Louis the German. King of Italy & part of Lotharingia.

879

Carloman suffers a debilitating stroke just two years after gaining Italy. Unable to rule in anything but name and having no legitimate offspring, he divides his holdings between his brothers. Louis the Younger gains Bavaria while Charles the Fat gains Italy. Carloman's illegitimate son, Arnulf, becomes duke of Carinthia.

880 - 882

Louis the Younger

Brother. Ruled part of Lotharingia. Empire (901-905).

882

Louis the Younger dies and Charles the Fat, as the last remaining of the three brothers, inherits his territories of Bavaria, Franconia, Saxony, and Thuringia, thereby reuniting East Francia following its division in 876.

Duchy of Bavaria (Welfs)
AD 889 - 1180

In 888, Bavaria emerged as a stem duchy from the fragmentation of the Frankish empire, when the Germanic Roman Emperors gained undisputed command over the Germany section of the empire.

Judith of Bavaria was the mother of Charles II the Bald of the Western Franks.

889 - 907

Liutpold

907 - 937

Arnulf the Bad

907 - 955

Austria passes to Hungary, until the latter is defeated by Saxon emperor Otto I.

937 - 938

Eberhard

938 - 947

Berthold

947 - 955

Henry I

Duke of Carinthia (947-955).

947 - 976

Bavaria re-establishes direct rule over the duchy of Carinthia.

953

Feeling that his position is threatened by the marriage of his father, Otto I of Saxony, to Adelaide, heiress of Italy, Ludolph of Swabia joins forces with his brother-in-law, Conrad the Red, duke of Lorraine, in revolt. Ludolph is supported by the Swabians, but Conrad fails to gain the same support from his own subjects. Otto I and Henry I of Bavaria defeat the rebellion.

955 - 976

Henry II the Quarrelsome

Duke of Carinthia (955-976).

c.960

Former Bavarian Austria is recognised as a margraviate.

976 - 982

Otto I

Grandson of HRE Otto I. Duke of Swabia (973) & Carinthia (978).

978 - 995

Bavaria rules again over the duchy of Carinthia.

983 - 985

Henry III the Younger

Duke of Carinthia (978-985).

985 - 995

Henry II the Quarrelsome

Restored? Duke of Carinthia (985-995).

995 - 1005

Henry IV the Saint

HRE Henry II (1002-1024).

1005 - 1009

Henry V

Henry I of Luxemburg (998-1026).

1009 - 1017

Henry VI of Franconia

1017 - 1026

Henry V

Restored?

1026 - 1042

Henry VI of Franconia

Restored?

1042 - 1047

Henry VII

Henry II of Luxemburg (1027-1047).

1049 - 1053

Kuno

1053 - 1055

Conrad of Franconia

1055 - 1061

Henry VIII

1061 - 1070

Otto II

1070 - 1101

Welf I

1102 - 1120

Welf II

1120 - 1126

Henry IX the Black

1126 - 1139

Henry X the Proud

Son. Duke Henry II (IV) of Saxony.

1139 - 1141

Leopold

1141 - 1156

Henry XI Jasomirgott

1156 - 1180

Henry XII the Lion

Son of Henry the Proud. Duke Henry III (V) of Saxony.

1180

Henry Welf comes into conflict with the HRE, Frederick Barbarossa. Frederick dispossesses Henry of his lands and passes Bavaria to the Wittelsbachs, while Saxony is divided. Following standard German practice, they often sub-divide their territory between brothers, with one always being dominant. Subsidiary branches are not shown here (but are included in the counting of names, so there will appear to be gaps here).

Duchy of Bavaria (Wittelsbachs)
AD 1180 - 1777

1180 - 1183

Otto I

Count of Wittelsbach.

1183 - 1231

Louis I the Kelheimer

Count of the Palatinate (1214).

1231 - 1253

Otto II the Noble

1253 - 1294

Louis II the Severe

1290 - 1312

Otto III

King of Hungary (1305-1307).

1294 - 1347

Louis IV

HRE (1314-1347). Senator of Rome (1328).

1313

With the death of John Parricide, any claim to the former Swabian duchy dies with him. Large areas of its territory have already gone to the established county of Württemberg and the margraviate of Baden. Territory formerly belonging to the Alemanni people also later forms parts of Austria (Vorarlberg), France (Alsace) and Switzerland, as well as the Bavarian Swabia region of Bavaria.

1314 - 1322

When Louis IV is elected Holy Roman Emperor in 1314, a minority faction elects Frederick the Fair of Hapsburg as emperor. Louis defeats Frederick in 1322, but the Pope refuses to recognise or crown him, so Louis has himself crowned emperor by representatives of the Roman people.

Louis IV Wittelsbach
The vigorous king of Bavaria and HRE Louis IV also became king of Italy in 1327

1328

Following the refusal of Pope John XXII to recognise him as Holy Roman Emperor, Louis IV invades Italy and sets up Nicholas V as the first anti-pope of the Great Schism.

1347

Louis is killed in a hunting accident whilst successfully resisting the Pope's named replacement for the title of Holy Roman Emperor.

1347 - 1375

Stephen II

1363 - 1369

Archduke Rudolph IV of Austria agrees with the widowed Margaret Maultash, countess of Gorizia-Tyrol, that upon the death of her only son, Meinhard III, he will inherit the county of Tyrol. In the end, Meinhard predeceases his mother and she remains in full command of the county until her own death in 1369, not least because her brother-in-law, Duke Stephen II, invades and holds the county.

1375 - 1397

John II

1397 - 1438

Ernest

1438 - 1460

Albert III

1645 - 1508

Albert IV the Wise

1508 - 1550

William IV

1545

The duchy is reunited when the last subsidiary branch dies out, putting an end to the weakening divisions of territory.

1550 - 1579

Albert V

1579 - 1597

William V the Pious

Died 1626.

1597 - 1651

Maximilian I

Elector (1623).

1651 - 1679

Ferdinand Maria

1654

Queen Christina of Sweden causes a scandal when she converts to Catholicism and abdicates the throne. She retires to Rome, while Karl Gustav, son of John Casimir, the Count Palatine of Zweibrücken-Kleeburg is elected as her successor. Aside from King Christoper in the mid-fifteenth century, Karl is the first of the Bavarian Wittelsbach kings of Sweden.

1679 - 1726

Maximilian II Emmanuel

1688

Maximilian's forces form part of the Imperial Army which captures Belgrade from the Ottomans.

1726 - 1745

Charles Albert

HRE (1742-1745).

1740 - 1748

The War of the Austrian Succession is a wide-ranging conflict that encompasses the North American King George's War, two Silesian Wars, the War of Jenkins' Ear, and involves most of the crowned heads of Europe in deciding the question of whether Maria Theresa can succeed as archduke of Austria and, perhaps even more importantly, as Holy Roman Emperor. Austria is supported by Britain, the Netherlands, the Savoyard kingdom of Sardinia, and Saxony (after an early switchover), but opposed by an opportunistic Prussia and France, who had raised the question in the first place to disrupt Habsburg control of central Europe, backed up by Bavaria and Sweden (briefly). Spain joins the war in an unsuccessful attempt to restore possessions lost to Austria in 1715.

War of the Austrian Succession
The War of the Austrian Succession saw Europe go to war to decide whether Maria Theresa would secure the throne left to her by her father, but several other issues were also decided as a wide range of wars were involved in the overall conflict

The War of Jenkins' Ear pitches Britain against Spain between 1739-1748. The Russo-Swedish War, or Hats' Russian War, is the Swedish attempt to regain territory lost to Russia in 1741-1743. King George's War is fought between Britain and France in the French Colonies in 1744-1748. The First Carnatic War of 1746-1748 involves the struggle for dominance in India by France and Britain. Henry Pelham, leader of the English government in Parliament, is successful in ending the war, achieving peace with France and trade with Spain through the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. Austria is ultimately successful, losing only Silesia to Prussia.

1745 - 1777

Maximilian III Joseph

1777

The line of Bavarian Wittelsbachs dies out with Maximilian. The title passes to the Wittelsbach Electors of the Palatinate.

Duchy of Bavaria (Palatinate Wittelsbachs)
AD 1777 - 1805

This branch of the Wittelsbachs had served as counts and prince electors of the Palatinate since 1329. When the main family line died out in Bavaria in 1777, the title of duke of Bavaria passed to the Palatinate Wittelsbachs.

1777 - 1799

Charles IV Theodore

Elector of the Palatinate.

1778 - 1779

The War of the Bavarian Succession.

1799 - 1805

Maximilian IV Joseph

Elector.

1805

Bavaria is raised to a kingdom by Napoleon Bonaparte of the French First Empire. Maximilian's daughter marries Eugene de Beauharnais, Napoleon's stepson.

Map Kingdom of Bavaria
AD 1805 - 1918

The French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte did much to clear up the confusing and archaic mass of tiny states in the German territories, forming stronger states with larger territories. One of the strongest was that of the newly formed kingdom of Bavaria, which was raised from a duchy by Napoleon after his defeat of the Third Coalition in the same year. It also gained the Austrian province of the Tyrol - but only until Napoleon abdicated in 1814.

1805 - 1825

Maximilian I Joseph

Former elector of the duchy of Bavaria.

1810

Following a further Austrian defeat in 1809, at the Battle of Wagram, Bavaria agrees to grant the Tyrol to Italy, while Istria, Dalmatia and Ragusa are incorporated into the new Illyrian Provinces.

1814

Bavaria gains territory as a result of the Congress of Vienna.

1825 - 1848

Ludwig I

Died 1868.

1832

Under the terms of the Convention of London, Prince Otto, son of Ludwig, ascends the newly-created throne of Greece while still a minor, carrying the title 'King of the Hellenes'. He initially rules under the guidance of a three-man regency council, but they prove unpopular and are dismissed. Otto then rules as an absolute monarch.

1848 - 1864

Maximilian II Joseph

Son. Brother of Otto, king of Greece (1832).

1864 - 1886

Ludwig II the Mad

Declared insane, deposed, and died mysteriously.

1871 - 1918

The kingdom is forcibly included into the German empire by Prussia and effectively becomes a sub-kingdom.

1886 - 1913

Otto

Aided by Luitpold, regent (1886-1912), and then Ludwig III.

1913 - 1918

Ludwig III

Deposed.

1913

The new king is married to Maria Theresia of Austria-Este, daughter of Maria Beatrice of Savoy, granddaughter of Victor Emanuel I of the kingdom of Sardinia and Savoy, and from 1875 the Jacobite Stuart claimant to the English and Scottish thrones.

1918

All German monarchies are abolished upon the defeat of the German empire in World War I. Bavaria is recreated as a constituent part of the new federal Germany and its future fortunes would be tied to this new political creation.

Hereditary Kings of Bavaria
AD 1918 - Present Day

The head of the Wittelsbachs remained the titular successor to the kings of Bavaria, although they were reduced in rank to dukes. The last king, Ludwig III had married Maria Theresia of Austria-Este, granddaughter of Francis V of ModenaDuke Rupprecht and his successors were, in turn, also the senior member of the House of Stuart, and were considered by modern Jacobites to be the rightful ruler of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The dukes did not, and still do not, make any claim to the English throne, but the technical claim still exists.

1918 - 1921

Ludwig III

Former king of Bavaria.

1919

Germany adopts the democratic 'Weimar constitution' following the abolition of the German empire. This new Germany consists of the former German kingdoms and duchies, all of which have now been abolished, which include Baden, Bavaria, Hesse, Lippe, Saxony and Württemberg.

1921 - 1955

Rupprecht

Born 1869. Crown Prince of Bavaria.

1955 - 1996

Albrecht

Grandson of Ludwig III. Born 1905. Duke of Bavaria.

1996 - Present

Franz

Born 14 July 1933. Duke of Bavaria.

2005

The conservative Bavarian Cardinal John Ratzinger is elected Pope on 19 April.

Max

Brother and heir. Duke in Bavaria.