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Kingdom of Bavaria
Königreich Baiern
Baiernflag8.png BaiernFlag8.png
Bavaria1750.png
Bavaria in 1750. All personal Bavarian realms shown in pink. All vassals shown in light pink. The west Borealian colonies, Nei Baiern and Nei Österreich, shown as well. Pearl River and Neu Schwaben also shown.
CapitalLandshut (Executive) Augsburg (Legislative)
Largest city Vienna
Other cities Berlin, Bremen, Dresden, Ingolstadt, Lübeck, Munich, Nuremburg, Passau, Stettin, Stuttgart, Tyrol, Venice, Wittenberg, Würzburg
Official languages Bavarian (Upper German)
Regional Languages Franconian German, Saxon German, High German
Ethnic groups  Bavarians, Bohemians, Austrians, Italians, Saxons Pomeranians, Poles, Swabians
Demonym Bavarian
Religion Catholicism
Government Monarchy
 -  Queen Mary I
 -  Royal House House of Croÿ-Habsburg
Legislature Deutsche Diet
Establishment907, as Duchy of Bavaria
 -  Origins Early Middle Ages, as the Bavarii 
 -  Formation of Bayern-Landshut 1353, as Duchy of Bayern-Landshut 
 -  Formation of the Grand Duchy of Bavaria 1415, after a union of Landshut, Munchen, Ingolstadt, and Straubing 
 -  Formation of the Kingdom of Bavaria 1568, after the passage of the Acts of Domain 
Population
 -  1735 census 16,000,000 
Currency Bavarian Reichstaler
The Kingdom of Bavaria, commonly called Bavaria, is a state located in south central Europe. Borders include Croatia to the east and south, Hamburg to the north, Westphalian lands to the northwest, and France to the west. Bavaria is a hereditary monarchy, with a sole person as both the head of government and state. The Wittelsbach dynasty is the ruling family in Bavaria.

A legislative body does exist in Bavaria, namely that of the Curia Bavaria, chartered in 1544.

The Kingdom of Bavaria is composed primarily of Bavaria itself. Bavaria proper includes the regions of Greater Saxony and Swabia. In the north exist the two Bavarian vassals: The Duchy of Brandenburg, and the Duchy of Pomerania. The Kingdoms of Austria and Venezia exist south of Bavaria. While they too are under Bavarian sovereignty, they exercise a great deal of autonomy.

Apart from vassals, Bavaria operates two territorial exclaves in northern Germany. Bremen Port, as it has been named, was obtained in 1510 after a war with Hesse. Lübeck, being one of the most important ports in Germany, was obtained in 1620 after a war against Hamburg.

History

Prior the the Fifteenth Century

After the Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476, the Bavarii peoples were among the earliest Europeans to set up a structured state. The Duchy of Bavaria developed over the course of centuries, from their dealings with the Clovian and Carolingian Franks, to their large consolidations in the tenth century. Bavaria remains to be one of the oldest continually existing and inhabited states in Europe.

1400 - 1410

In 1400, Bavaria was split up into various states. This included the duchy of Landshut and Straubing, as well as the smaller cities of Ingolstadt and Munchen. The existence of four Bavarias was caused by rulers generations ago splitting land between their sons, similar to what Charlemagne did in the ninth century, as opposed to designating a single successor to inherit all land. Beginning in January of that year, Heinrich XVI, duke of Landshut, announced to his court his intentions to bring all of Bavaria under his suzerain wing.

Heinrich, only about fifteen at the time, was an ambitious ruler and wasted no time with his mission. Immediately Heinrich and his government began kindly petitioning, and soon demanding, the lords of Munchen for manpower and tribute. Within five years, the lords of Munchen were vassalized, and the lords of Straubing followed suit just a few years later.

While this period of vassalization occurred, many economical and political changes were happening as well. In 1401, Bavaria entered an alliance with the powerful Saxony, which was on a rise to power already in north central Germany. The same year, Bavaria allied with France as well as solidifying a trade agreement with France and Austria. Another trade agreement with Castile was officiated three years later. All three kingdoms were now economically tied with Bavaria, and within months Heinrich gave his government the orders to construct trade outposts and markets.

To the northwest, Albert of Holland, a dynastic relative of Heinrich's, caught his attention. Starting in 1401, attempts were made at alliances. The need for alliance came a few years later when both nations agreed to a coalition in defense of Austria. Afterwards, Heinrich agreed to begin using the Hollander Banks to handle Bavarian finances. Both acts further tied the two nations together. Furthermore, when Wilhelm, Albert's son, began contesting his claim for Brabant, Heinrich supported his cause.

Towards the east, relations with the Roman Byzantine Empire were also improved. Troops and gold were sent as well as an alliance in 1404.

Relations with Austria began to sour in 1402, when Heinrich refused to get into a war with Poland, seeing it as a foolish campaign stemming from the whimsical wants of a detached Emperor.

Socially, the road to education was also being paved. After the University of Wurzburg and Turin were founded, Heinrich soon got to work planning a university of his own. In 1408, the charter for the Queen Isabell University of Munchen went underway. The charter was issued by Isabell herself.

Isabell Valois was the daughter of Charles VII of France and newly wed wife of Heinrich. By that year, she had already given birth to the heir to the throne, Albert.

1410 - 1420

The decade began with further construction on the university. As Isabell began overseeing construction of the university as well as holding summer courts in Munchen, the curriculum was laid out. Unlike most university of the time and past, clergy training was not forefront. Instead, classes in French, English, Latin, and Greek were prioritized. Within three years, mathematics and theology were added to the curriculum.

Apart from the university, Bavaria simultaneously began being involved in politics as well. War was almost declared against Austria in 1412, after a brief Austrian insurgence against Venice. Afterwards, tensions remained high in Bavaria, and many suspected war to occur soon. 

While Bavaria did not declare war in 1412, the UNC (United Nordic Crown) declared war on Austria. Within two years the war evolved greatly. In the beginning, the war was mostly secluded to northern Germany, in the areas surrounding Denmark and Luneburg. After 1413, however, the war had dragged itself south. Heinrich finally decided to declare war the next year, joining the UNC. Austrian merchants were kicked out and forces were deployed Soon, the Golden Horde of Russia, Saxony, Anhalt, Hungary, and Venice joined Bavaria and the UNC.

The war was mostly inconclusive. The UNC more or less collapsed, coming under English sovereignty in 1415. While Bavaria and her allies won the war, no real territorial gains were made. However, Heinrich saw an opportunity arise. In Danzig, where the official treaty was being drafted, Heinrich was able to wrangle out a substantial peace from Albert of Austria.

In the Treaty of Danzig, Bavaria would be united to become the Grand Duchy of Bavaria. The trade deal with Austria would be reopened and a one hundred and fifty year period of fleet basing rights were also guaranteed to the Bavarians. 

While the war was somewhat of a waste of money, Bavaria was able to achieve a substantial degree of autonomy and further inclined to become richer. With fleet basing rights all over coastal Austria, as well as a trade agreement with Austria, Castile, France, with a trade agreement with the mercantile republic of Venice in 1417, Bavaria was on the road to wealth and luxury. An alliance with Castile was also brokered in 1414, adding to the relative power of the Bavarian state to complement the rising economic independence.

After the war, problems and decadence within the Roman Catholic church prompted more change in Bavaria. Heinrich, worried about making a brash decision, at first stayed neutral in the Catholic schism, which separated the Catholic world into the Papacies of Rome, and opposing Rome, Avignon. Instead, Heinrich began encouraging the nurture and development of the already present religious community in Bavaria. While a splinter church was insane, Heinrich did like the idea of a unique, yet still Catholic church without the heavy influence of the papacy in Rome. Furthermore, a series of failures and resignations among the Roman Popes further fueled Heinrich's, as well as the Kings of Castile, France, and England, to want to distance themselves from the powerful grip in Italy. Of the three western Kingdoms listed, all of them supported Avignon. 

England particularly piqued Heinrich's interests, when in 1416, the Archbishop of Canterbury was proclaimed the true pope when Avignon capitulated to Rome. Afterwards, Bavaria entered into a trade agreement with England as well as a informal pact of friendliness. Both of these actions further pushed Heinrich to begin assuming an anti-Rome position. The English added to Bavarian wealth and power, so choosing their pope of that of Rome would further the relations between Bavaria and England, thus furthering economical and political gain.

Once the trade agreement with England was officiated, Bavaria was essentially a hub of economic activity, albeit a developing hub. Beginning in 1417, construction on a small trade house began in Landshut. In Heinrich's mind, this place would be able to thrive into a wealthy, opulent stock exchange, attracting all of the world's riches and gold, along with the men that own them.

Simultaneously, the fleet rights with Austria began to pay off as well. Over the course of a few years, a series of cogs and trading vessels were constructed and, while not the grandest navy in Europe, was a benefit to Bavaria. Numerous other landlocked countries in Europe had not the chance Bavaria had and trade by land was for the most part inefficient, dangerous, and more costly than beneficial.

1420 - 1430

As the economy made small steps towards wealth and expansiveness, the country continuously pursued territorial gains as well. On the order of Heinrich XVI in 1416, the surrounding lands of Nurnburg and Burgau began being vassalized. The next year, the Grand Duke began petitioning the lords of Pfalz, a sectionalized, chaotic, disarrayed country in central Europe. While he could not outright subjugate the country to vassalization, Heinrich began asking the most powerful lords to enter a personal union under Heinrich, considering that Bavaria and Pfalz were already linked within the House of Wittelsbach. In 1421, many politicians of the country as well as the nearby Palatinate began protesting Heinrich's actions and some outright detested him. A small minority, although, came to support the Grand Duke. In turn, Heinrich immediately sent letters to "Pro-Bavarian" Pfalz politicians to establish relations.

To the south, an alliance with Austria in 1421 also led way to Bavaria's prominence in the European stage. While many of Heinrich's councilors and politicians turned heads at an alliance with a former enemy, Heinrich went along with it. An alliance with such a large country (one which would only become larger with the imminent unions with Bohemia and Brandenburg) could very well prove to be beneficial in years to come.

As the years passed and the dealings with Pfalz proved to be unfruitful, Heinrich turned once more to religious matters. Religious reformists from western Europe, particularly Holland, became active in Bavaria as Grand Duke Heinrich did nothing to curb their influence. Never a devout Catholic, Heinrich soon allowed religious reformation to take hold in the country. As the Catholic church began rapidly losing influence in Europe, the Reformist movement rose. Despite being a diversified movement, Reformism was strong. In France, it took the form of an independent, pro-Catholic church. In the Netherlands, it took the form of an anti-Pope sect of similarly Catholic practices. By 1426, Heinrich had already began making plans for a Bavarian church and new state religion.

Because of this organization of a state religion, this marks one of the first times the Bavarian government was not invested in a single person. Heinrich could not have pioneered these religious reforms by himself, so by mid-decade he began allocating power to several of his councilors. While nowhere near the status of a parliament or assembly, the reformation of Bavarian Catholicism marks a notable step towards a larger government.

By the time the decade came to a close, a large minority of Reformists founded their headquarters in Munchen, and soon began to influence the population.

Later Years and Death of Heinrich and Early Reign of Albert II

1430 began as a violent year for Bavaria. The small state of Burgau was plagued by civil violence between pro-Austrian and pro-Bavarian supporters. Both nations had interests in Burgau, and Heinrich XVI needed to tread carefully lest he upset his new Austrian ally. Several hundred troops were sent to Burgau, along with an extra thousand sent by the Doge of Venice. Within two years, a compromise was made between Austria and Bavaria. Bavaria would retain sovereignty of Burgau, while Austria would become the suzerain of the northerly state of Oettingen.

While this event did not cause all out war between Bavaria and Austria, it was an early form of a proxy war. Skirmishes were common at the time, however, the Burgau Conflict was much more similar to a drawn out, two sided, cold war. The pro-Bavarians were supported by Bavaria (the third party) whereas the pro-Austrians were supported by Austria (the other third party). Something like that was mostly uncommon in the world at the time, so the events occurring in Burgau were as significant as they were violent.

The Burgau Conflict was also a smaller cross section of the larger fear of Austrian expansion that was prevalent in much of Europe. By 1430, Austria expanded mostly unobtrusively throughout Germany, reaching the northern Kingdoms of Brandenburg as well as several bishoprics in the lowlands. Within a decade, the Habsburg name seemed to rule Germany. When Heinrich XVI and the Archduke of Austria were able to consolidate a peaceful conclusion to the Burgau Conflict, it essentially proved to Europe that Austrian expansion was ultimately a limited endeavor. After the Burgau conflict, Bavaria became one of the foremost powers in Germany. While not overtly powerful with a large army or navy, the Grand Duchy was proven to be a large power in Germany and one that possessed a formidable influence.

Immediately after the Burgau conflict was resolved, Heinrich fell gravely ill with smallpox. His son and heir Albert was named regent and soon assumed control of the government. Oettingen was declared independent of Bavarian rule and given to Austria, formerly ending the conflict. As his father lay dying in his bedchamber, Albert was making plans for his government, as well as sealing a marriage with Elisabeth, princess of Naples.

Heinrich died in March of 1434, and soon after Albert became Grand Duke Albert II of Bavaria. Elisabeth became Grand Duchess. Within weeks, Bavaria's close ally of Venice sent their sorrowful regards of Heinrich's death. Sending a grand Venetian sword to the Grand Duke, Albert responded by arranging a marriage between his niece, Isabell and the Doge's Grandson Christofo. Isabell was the daughter of Albert's brother Prince Charles, and was also the twin sister of Eleanor. Both girls, as well as their father, were important figures in the royal family at the time, seeing as how Albert and Elisabeth had not consummated their marriage and lacked an heir. For all intents and purposes, Charles and his children were heirs to the throne. Seeing as how Charles was frequently haggard or sickly, and Isabell was being sent to Venice, it was young Eleanor, healthy and in time proven to be bright and insightful, who was the most likely person to become Grand Duchess.

Despite succession, Albert continued to pay most of his attention to domestic issues. In 1435, the stock exchange in Landshut was formerly open, being started years previous under Heinrich. Within five years, the exchange, as well as Landshut, grew to be an important regional trade center. Hamburger merchants, as well as several northerly guilds, made use of the exchange.

While simultaneously presiding over the economy, Albert II continued the religious reforms of his father. In fact, Albert was at quite an impasse. He was raised a Catholic until his teenage years, and then comfortably taught Reformist practices. By 1436, several rumours persisted about his religion, with many claiming he privately renounced his Catholic faith. It was only that year that Albert formally converted to the Western Reformist religion and announced it to his court. The response to Albert's conversion was polarizing at best. At least half of the country remained Catholic, and some key members of the Grand Duke's government protested his actions. However, as the decade drew to a close, it was soon clear that Catholicism was dying out. Newer generations appealed to Reformism and much of Bavaria no longer had faith for the Pope.

More joy was then brought to Albert's life when a child was born into the family. Despite being a daughter and not technically heir as long as Prince Charles was alive, the newborn Princess Jacqueline was welcomed by the court and by the Grand Duke. In fact, Jacqueline was likely to be named heiress, as Prince Charles suffered a grave injury during a horseback ride. Even though he survived the accident, Charles' days seemed numbered. When he dies, Jacqueline would be named heiress to the throne of Bavaria. Charles' daughter Eleanor was then betrothed to Robert of Italy, with many assuming she would no longer be Grand Duchess and posed no real value in the Bavarian court.

Prince Charles died in 1439. Jacqueline was now heiress until a son was born of Albert, and Princess Eleanor moved in with Albert and the royal family. Albert wanted to keep both girls close to the center of government, which explains why the young Eleanor remained in Bavaria as opposed to joining her Italian fiance in his country.

Later Reign of Albert II

The birth of Albert's son caused much more of a welcomed celebration than the birth of Jacqueline. Named Charles, after his late uncle, the new Prince brought much relief and comfort to the inner government of Bavaria. Concurrently, Bavarian expansion was on the rise, with the bishops of Wurzburg, also heavily Catholic, being brought under the reformed-Christian, Bavarian suzerain wing.

A sign of expansion as well as a sign of independence from the Holy Roman Empire, Bavaria joined the German Union, itself a loose confederation of states, which included Bavaria's neighbors of Hamburg and Hesse. The German Union did not last long as an entity, however its structure and general governmental form lasted much longer. Hosting a strangely democratic skeleton, the core of the German Union was the Office of the Chancellery. The Chancellor would be voted into office by the population of any of the members of the Union, to which they would be elected to the office and push forth legislature. Chancellors themselves would also stand as representatives to their respective lords. Before being disbanded in 1455 by the Emperor, the German Union passed several laws. Heinrich von Wasserburg, the first Chancellor and a Bavarian, sealed an alliance and infrastructural act between all nations of the German Union, as well as a trade act which would authorize military force to protect trade in the Baltic.

However, as Bavarian expansion expanded, Albert's personal life took a strong turn for the worse. Prince Charles fell ill in 1442 and was diagnosed with a premature form of pleurisy. The three-year old died next November. Jacqueline, once more the heiress to the throne, was also weak and sickly often, as well as socially distant and holding a strong dislike for her father. The eyes of the court were once more set of Eleanor. Her betrothed, Robert of Italy, aged thirty two at the time where Eleanor was fourteen, moved to Bavaria and began living with the royal family. The two married in 1450, just as Jacqueline furthers herself from the throne after being injured in Landshut and nearly killed. She officially renounces her nobility in 1451 and retires to a nunnery.

Apart from the misfortune surrounding the royal family, life in Bavaria at mid-century was slowly improving. The still active German Union approved of a large road connecting Landshut to the northern cities of Hamburg, Hesse, and Oldenburg. Not only did this road aid trade and transportation, its liberal upkeep kept travel safe and promoted the founding of several villages. Concurrently, the trade center in Landshut fueled the growth of a strong merchant class, which in turn slowly advanced the Bavarian economy. The Renaissance slowly bled into Bavaria as well, offering people new ways of thinking and an extended access to the classical arts.

War came to Germany in 1452, in the form of Hamburg declaring war against the rejuvenated UNC. While not wanting to risk allying with the Scandinavians as his father did (which ended inconclusively yet caused about Bavarian unification) Albert II decided to stay neutral. In what become known as the Karelian War for its inclusion of several Russian powers, the war tore Northern Europe asunder for seemingly the second time.

The rest of the decade is spent by Albert II furthering religious reforms, particularly the further distancing from the Pope. Remaining neutral throughout the war, Albert fell ill in 1459. His wife, Elisabeth, was declared as Grand Duchess Regent while he was ill. Albert II died in January of 1460 and was succeeded by his niece Eleanor, who would preside over an era of civil war and great transition.

Jacqueline, Eleanor, and the Queens' War

Eleanite Reforms

Reign of Franz-Albert and End of the Middle Ages

Reign of Heinrich XVII

Reign of Catherine

Current State

Government

Bavaria is a hereditary monarchy with a despotic head of state, namely the King or Queen. The title is passed down to those appointed as heir by the monarch. While the heir is heavily preferred to be male, the throne can legally pass to a woman if she is appointed as the heir by the reigning monarch. This is possible due to the passages the Bavarian Commands laws in the late fifteenth century. The laws strengthened the powers of the monarchy, and allowed women to inherit the throne.

A small privy council usually sits with the head to discuss matters of state and government. Apart from the Privy Council, a unicameral legislature exists in Bavaria. The Curia Bavaria, sometimes commonly referred to as the Bavarian Parliament, operates in the Parliamentary House in Landshut. The Curia was founded in 1544 after several nobles protested the then Grand Duke's absolute freedom in foreign diplomacy. Among the Curia's powers include the ability to draft, vote upon, and enforce legislation. However, the Curia Bavaria still answers to the Monarchy, and because of that, the Monarchy remains the most powerful force in Bavaria. Furthermore, the Monarch has the same number of privileges and powers as any Parliamentarian does, and is the nominal Supreme Chancellor.

Bavarian Commands

The Bavarian Commands are an integral part of Bavarian law. Established as a series of royal writs and decrees passed by Grand Duchess Eleanor in 1491, the Commands marked a great transition of Bavarian politics, helping to move the country out of the middle ages.

In detail, the Commands established two precedents relatively unfound in Germany at the time:

  1. The Bavarian monarch has the utmost prerogative in the country. This includes the right to govern the politics and civil structure (taxes, infrastructure, levies, etc.) of Bavaria as the monarch sees fit.
  2. In their authority as the head of Bavaria, the monarch may designate whomever they wish as heir to the throne, including women and, by theory, illegitimate children.

Upon their establishment, the Commands shook Bavaria to its core. The rights of feudal lords were mightily curbed, and the sudden inclusion of women into the line of succession offended many, even the most liberal of Eleanor's followers.

However, within years, many came to peace with the Commands. Eleanor proved to be a just ruler who improved the quality of life for many of the lower and middling classes. Furthermore, while Salic law was technically abolished, it was soon proven by later Kings that males were always to be preferred in the lines of succession.

The largest fear concerning the Commands was that the House of Wittelsbach would lose the Bavarian throne due to a woman inheriting the throne whose children would be under her husband's house. Fortunately, such a scenario has yet to be had. Eleanor's marriage to a Venetian prince was matrilineal, meaning that their children would be under the mother's house. In 1545, when the future queen Catherine married Duke Friedrich of Hamburg, a deal was struck where their first son would both rule Bavaria and be a Wittelsbach, while the second son would rule Hamburg and be a Von Hamburg.

Rulers of Bavaria

For an infographic presentation on the rulers of Bavaria since 1393, click here

For a brief list on the rulers of Bavaria, click here 

Foreign Relations

Strong Allies

  • Bavaria maintains alliances with Hispania, Britannia, Scandinavia, France, and Oldenburg.
  • Before it was dissolved and partitioned, Bavaria had strong relations with Venice. An alliance was upheld, and several courtiers of Venetian origin live in Bavaria. The former Grand Duchess, Eleanor, was sister-in-law to Doge Christofo through her sister Isabell.

Cordial Relations

  • Bavaria maintains high relations with Rome, Bohemia, the Tartary, Croatia, Pskov, and Dacia.
  • Despite fighting the country in the Second German-Scandinavian War, Bavaria maintains important relations with the Netherlands, being a vital trade partner and continual companion.

Neutral

  • Despite wars in the past, Bavaria maintains neutrality with Hamburg.

Tense Relations

  • Bavaria has a tense relationship with the rump states of the HRE, namely Frankfurt and Nassau.

Enemies

  • No direct enemies of Bavaria exist at this time.

Footnotes

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