The Kingdom of Bavaria, Bavaria, is a constitutional monarchy and a constituent part of the Holy Roman Empire. It is surrounded by (and enclaves) a large number of Imperial states including Austria, Regensburg, Bayreuth, Ansbach, Passau and Salzburg.
The capital is Munich and the population around 8.2 million
The Head of State is King Lugwig VII.
The official language is German.
The currency is the Bavarian Taler (BVT).
The area of Bavaria, now split between various kingdoms and duchies in the South-Eastern Empire was created as a Duchy by the Franks in around 550 as a buffer state against the Slavs to the East. Repeatedly ravaged by the Hungarians in the 9th century, after the battle of Lechfeld Bavaria grew to take in Northern Italy and Austria. While it convulsed with internal discord successive German kings and Emperors were forced to step in and oust various rulers. The Duchy lost Austria and Carinthia while it passed between the Luxembourgs, Welfs, Saxons and Wittelsbachs.
Otto I of Wittelsbach gained Bavaria in 1180 and while his nominal lands were large, he could only claim to rule a small portion of them. The growth of the ducal lands, as well as accquiring various other lands such as Holland, Brandenburg and the Palatinate, occupied the rulers time and effort for much of the next two centuries as the Wittelsbachs carefully trod the minefield that was Medieval Imperial politics. Louis III was elected Emperor (Louis IV) in 1214. The Palatinate was split away in 1329.
But much of the promise was wasted as Bavaria was divided between the sons of Louis III. This division, first a joint rule, then an actual division into Bavaria-Munich, Bavaria-Straubing, Bavaria-Landshut and Bavaria-Ingolstadt produced nothing but bloodshed as the brothers and cousins continually fought for the right to inherit each other's duchies. The brief assertion of Munich's supremacy was fatally jeopardised by Albert III's marriage to Agnes Bernauer and eventually Bavaria would be reunited in 1528 under the Landshut branch. Thereafter the newly invigorated and united Bavaria became a champion of the Catholic Imperial states.
Rich and populous, Bavaria provided a natural counterpoint to the forces it saw as undesirable. It had already campaigned against Luxembourg in the War of Anglian Succession (1493-1523) and numerous wars with the Swiss before it took a leading role in the struggle against the Lutheran states. As the reformation threatened the old order it stood side by side Austria against the Schmalkaldic League, and the Kalmar Union in the mire that was the Fifty Years War. It emerged from the war broken but it was promoted to an Electorate-Principality as a part of the re=balancing of Germany. The countryside quickly recovered thanks to the boundless energies of Prince Louis V while the towns took longer to rebuild. When Austria left the Catholic fold in the early 18th century Bavaria was left the pre-eminent Catholic power in Germany and would go to war repeatedly in an attempt to hold the status quo. Defeats, such as the Regensburg War (1710) were balanced out by victories such as in the Six Year War (1783-1789).
In 1802 the Bavarian Wittelsbach line died out with Emperor Charles VII. He had spent much of the final years of his reign attempting to secure a smooth succession for his daughter Eleanor but to no avail. Eleanor's War (1802-1805) pitted the major players of Germany against one another. The Wittelsbachs in the Palatinate thought succession to the Bavarian throne would a done deal, however Austria and Saxony had no intention of allowing a virtual unification of Southern Germany (though neither did they agree to Eleanor's succession). Keen to undermine each other's zones of influence Luxembourg and joined the Palatinate side. The Western alliance had the upper hand until France was convinced to join in. Several Flemish cities fell to French troops before the Palatinate was defeated heavily at the Battle of Ellwangen. The peace was a masterclass in diplomacy. While Bavaria passed definitively to a cadet branch of the Saxon Wettins, the Count-Palatinate Joseph was elected to the empty Imperial throne while Eleanor became the second wife of the French king, Louis XV.The early years of Wettin rule was shaky, the princes were often forced into granting away privileges to nobles and the Reichstag. They were prevented from becoming involved in their cousins' war against Brandenburg after 1810 The Bavarian army, commanded in person by Maximillian I, was one of the only national armies to come away unscathed from battles with del Olmo during the Iberian Revolutionary Wars providing a huge boost to the popularity of the 'foreign' monarchy. Louis XV and Eleanor's daughter Catherine of Evry was betrothed to Del Olmo in 1830 but after Del Olmo was imprisoned Catherine was granted a divorce and she married Crown Prince Ludwig, reuniting the Wettin and Wittelsbach lines. The Congress of Milan in 1835 saw the Principality raised to a Kingdom in recognition of the effort it had made.
Thereafter, Bavaria assumed the role of defender of the rights of smaller against the depredations of their larger neighbours such as Luxembourg or Austria. Certainly the richest of the German states (excluding Luxembourg) it maintains a large army though has not used it in anger since the 2nd Imperial-Kalmar War and has often been described the most stubborn of all Imperial states with regards to state consolidation and reform.
Bavaria is governed by a bicameral Reichstag with elections held every five years. The states have a large degree of autonomy dating from the early 19th century which central government has expended a great deal of time and effort on curbing.
The current head of state is King Ludwig VII and his chancellor is Hanns Hoegner.