HISTORICAL TABLE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT DATES AND FACTS
15 B.C.till 488
Bavaria was a province of the Roman Empire, occupied by Roman soldiers. The Romans conquered and fraternized with the Celts, who already inhabited the area.
Barbarian tribes invaded the Roman provinces, including Bavaria. The Roman troops withdrew, leaving behind an agrarian Roman-Celtic culture. Groups of Germanic tribes settled in the former Roman territory, mixing with the local people and eventually developing a German population.
536 till 788
The Franks controlled most of the Germanic territory, and Bavaria was part of their realm. A pointed by the Franks, and was required to give military support to the Frankish kings. Under the rule of the Agilolfinger family, Bavaria became the first state in Europe. Its territory included large parts of what is now Austria. Having failed to support his overlord on a campaign, the last member of the Agilolfinger family, Tassilo III, was sent into a monastery. He had been condemned by Charlemagne, the great King of the Franks and son of the betrayed overlord. This gave Charlemagne direct control of Bavaria through his own representative. After the defeat of the Awar tribes around the year 800, Bavaria became the center of colonization of the southeastern part of Central Europe. Charlemagne reinforced the defense system of his Empire, forming a border country called the Eastern March (now Austria) on the banks of the Danube.
The grandson of Charlemagne, Ludwig the German, took control of Bavaria after the division of his grandfather’s Empire.
Between 900 and 1070
Bavaria was ruled by different royal families.
Ulrich, the Bishop of Augsburg, heroically battled the Magyars, until the imperial army. Led by Otto the Great, arrived and defeated them. Ulrich became the first canonized Saint of the Roman Church. Bavaria, as well as Austria, suffered considerable from various tribes invading from Central and North Asia. First there were the Huns, who had their rise and decline in the 5th century under their king, Attila. A contemporary Roman historian described the Huns with their short, powerful bodies, yellowish complexion, ugly flat-nosed faces, slanting eyes and stiff black hair, enured to extremes of cold and heat. Their horses were as tough as the riders, capable of galloping 20 miles at stretch and covering 100 miles in a day. Wherever they passed, they left a trail of devastation and death. This Hunnish Horde settled on the Hungarian plain from where they raided extensively. After Attila’s death, the Hun troops disbanded and merged with other tribes, such as the Awars.
6th to 8th century
Hungary was the realm of the Awars, who were next to break into the western territories.
Then the Magyars came into power, till their defeat in 955. They settled down peacefully in Hungary under the rule of King Stephan, who was later canonized. Some years ago his crown was given back to the Hungarians by the United States of America.
Bavaria was given to Henry the Lion, a member of the Guelf family, by the Holy Roman Emperor. In 1180, however, the Emperor took it back because Henry would not give the expected military support. This was also the year of the birth of Austria: the Eastern March was cut out of Bavaria and made a dukedom. From then on the two countries, Bavaria and the Eastern March (Austria), went separate ways.
Henry founded Munich by starting a salt market.
Bavaria was given to the Wittelsbach family. Otto was their first ruler, followed by a long line of dukes until 1620.
Ludwig, called the Strict, made Munich the residential city of the Wittelsbachs, centered in the Alter Hof. His son, Ludwig the Bavarian, was elected king and later crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
the Holy Roman Empire.
Emperor Ludwig founded the Monastery of Ettal, near Oberammergau. The imperial insignia, crowns, scepter and orb were kept in Munich during his reign. Munich became the capital of the Empire, took the imperial colors, black and yellow, as the city colors, and became the very first imperial residence. Ludwig finished the second city wall, of which three gates still exist.
William V, a ruler who combined an extravagant display of luxury in his court with a religious life of mystical self-denial. He brought the Jesuits to Munich, built St, Michael’s Church, celebrated the longest wedding in our history, of which the tournament is shown at the Glockenspiel in Munich. Bavaria’s finances were in extreme disarray, forcing him to relinquish the throne to his heir, Maximilian. More sober than his father, Maximilian was the first absolute monarch. He enlarged and decorated the Residenz, which became the most significant one in Europe. His court was a center of culture which extended into the countryside. As a ruler and head of the Counter Reformation, he emphasized worship of the Immaculate Madonna, and made his own life a model for his subjects. He said: A prince should be like a candle, consuming himself while burning. Maximilian became the leader of the Catholic League, which opposed the Protestant Union in Germany. The long-expected war between the opposing parties broke out in Bohemia, which was part Catholic and part Protestant. Bohemia, always a part of the Holy Roman Empire, had recently become a possession of the Habsburg family. The bigoted Ferdinand of Habsburg became king. The people did not accept him, and threw his two ambassadors out of the window. Even though they survived – which the Catholics explained by a miracle and the Protestants by the fact that they fell on a dunghill – this was the cause for the outbreak of the Thirty Years’ War.
The Bohemians elected a Protestant German Prince, Frederick of the Palatinate(a district on the Rhine), King of Bohemia. Ferdinand of Habsburg sent an army against the Bohemians and crushed them
It was Maximilian of Bavaria who won this battle near Prague in 1620, which earned him the privilege of becoming a Prince Elector. The Electors came together a month after a king’s death to elect a successor. If at the end of 30 days they had failed to reach a decision, they were put on a diet of bread and water until they did so (as decreed by Karl IV in 1356). The Protestants were alarmed, and looked for help in the north. First the King of Denmark and then Gustavus Adolfus of Sweden came to the aid of the distressed German Protestants. On the Catholic side was mighty Austria, supported by Spain and, of course, Bavaria. Generals Tilly and Wallenstein raised huge armies for the Catholic cause. People from all nations flocked to join these armies, some for religious motives, some from the hope of plunder. Many of them did not care who they killed, as long as they were paid for it. But often they were not paid, and then they took what they needed from the peasants. For 30 years these armies moved back and forth throughout Germany, enlarged by the supporting staff, their women and children. They all had to be maintained and fed. The soldiers tortured and killed peasants, set fire to their villages, raped, killed the animals and destroyed the crops. To complete the disaster, they came back the following year! This war was waged with indescribable horror and cruelty by both sides. Out of 5,000 Bavarian villages, 900 were destroyed, and far more than half of the population in Germany died. Maximilian of Bavaria was the only ruler who survived this war. The political heritage for his only child Ferdinand Maria was: Remember my son, the best war is the one you can avoid.
Ferdinand Maria kept Bavaria out of any military involvement. His Italian wife, Henrietta, introduced the Italian Baroque style, which had developed in the south while the Thirty Years’ War was raging in Germany. Henrietta had Nymphenburg Palace and Theatiner Church built.
Max Emanuel was the son of Ferdinand Maria and Henrietta. Obviously the Italian blood had contributed to his character; he was a typical Baroque personality with a fiery temperament. He was a heroic leader on the battlefield, devoted to women, generous in buying works of art, constructed palaces on a grand scale; he was also egocentric, power-seeking and conceited. He led Bavaria into a disastrous situation. When he came to rule, he made a pact of defense with the Emperor against the constantly threatening Turks.
In 1683, Max Emanuel helped to free Vienna from the Turks, and in 1688 he conquered Belgrade and Hungary for the Emperor. His reward was marriage to the Emperor’s daughter, Maria Antonia, who was the designated heir to the Spanish Crown. Max Emanuel also was given control of Belgium, which was at that time part of the Spanish kingdom. When his young wife died after the birth of a son, the future heir, to whom the Spanish crown had been promised, was brought to Belgium and raised under the care of his power-seeking father. But when he was six years old, the boy died from a mysterious illness.
Spanish War of Succession. Bavaria was sandwiched between the Habsburgs and the Bourbons, both of whom could prove a legal right to the Spanish Crown. King Louis XIV of France had promised to support Max Emanuel in his attempt to be elected Emperor by bribing the Electors. Max Emanuel joined the French at this time, but the French-Bavarian army was defeated by the Austrian-English army, led by the Duke of Marlborough.
The Austrians occupied Bavaria for ten years. The burden for the country was immense; taxes were high and every soldier had to be supported with one pound of meat and bread and a liter of beer each day.
The peasants of South Bavaria resisted the Austrian occupation. Equipped with farming tools, they marched towards Munich. But instead of the expected trusty friends, they were greeted by the enemy at the gates of the capital. 8,000 peasants were trapped and killed, their leaders decapitated on Marienplatz, and their bodies put on spits at the gates of Munich as a warning signal. Meanwhile, Max Emanuel was exiled and his family separated. His second wife, Therese Kunigunde, a Polish princess, lived in Venice with some of their children, Max Emanuel lived in Belgium, and his oldest son, Karl Albrecht, was raised by the Austrians at the Imperial Court in Vienna.
Karl Albrecht took over the government in 1726 and married the daughter of Emperor Josef I, Maria Amalia. Under his reign, Bavaria entered the Rococo period of art. Names like Francois Cuvillies, the Brothers Zimmermann and Asam contributed their outstanding works to European art history. The achievements in fine arts, however, contrasted sharply with the political but Maria Theresia of Austria did not accept this election and did not relinquish the imperial insignia. Instead, she invaded Bavaria with her marauding troops, recruited from Serbians and Croatians. Three years later Karl Albrecht, now known as Emperor Karl VII, passed on a debt of 32 million guilders to his son. His last words were: My poor son, my poor people!
Max III Josef finally made peace with Maria Theresia, lowered the cost of running his court and became the first enlightened ruler of Bavaria. But as a result of his economy measures, he did not give a job to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who wanted to work for the court in Munich. The court, however, did order two operas from Mozart: Idomeneo and La Finta Giardiniera. Max Josef built the Cuvillies Theater, one of the finest theaters in the world. Because he was married to a Porcelain factory of Meissen – he founded the Nymphenburg Porcelain Factory.
Karl Theodor tore down the city wall of Munich and started to enlarge the city.
King Maximilian I. When Austria tried to take control of Bavaria, Maximilian turned to Napoleon for help, and formed an alliance with him.
This brought the Royal Crown to Bavaria when Napoleon put an end to the Holy Roman Empire, enlarged the states which had joined his alliance and raised some to independent kingdoms. But this arrangement had an unfortunate result: 30,000 Bavarians had to follow Napoleon on his Russian campaign, and almost none returned.
Bavaria was the first German country to write a constitution.
Baroque rulers had gained fame through wars; weapons, trophies, armor and helmets were the symbols of fame. King Ludwig I, on the other hand, supported tremendous achievements in architecture, handicraft and art. He had a strong inclination for beauty, for example the Classical Greek, Roman and Italian culture reflected in his buildings and the beauty of the women in the beauty Gallery in Nymphenburgl.
Ludwig I’s son, Otto, ruled as King of Greece, which had been freed from the Turks with the support of Ludwig I. Out of admiration for the Greek culture, Ludwig introduced the Greek letter y into the spelling of Baiern (Bavaria), which became Bayern.
Ludwig abdicated, partly due to his affair with Lola Montez. Modern times called for the young generation, he said, and he passed the reign on to his son.
King Maximilian II was a lover of science and philosophy. He was married to the Prussian Princess Marie. They were the parents of King Ludwig II, the fairy-take king.
Ludwig II was rarely seen in his capita, and did not leave any traces in town, in contrast to his grandfather, Ludwig I (both had the same birthday, August 25). But he did build three splendid castles in the countryside; apparently he inherited the passion for architecture from his grandfather. When his father died unexpectedly in 1864, Ludwig, a mere 18, was not prepared for life nor for ruling, but did his best. His first act was to search for Richard Wagner, whose operas he admired. This friendship was based on Ludwig’s admiration for Wagner’s works and on his financial support. He bought Wagner a home not far from the Residenz in Munich. Because of his considerable interest and support, Ludwig can almost be called a co-producer of some of Wagner’s works. However, after it became obvious the Wagner had a liaison with Cosima,
the wife of Hans von Bulow, the musical director of Munich, Wagner was dismissed by the King. Wagner and Cosima went to Switzerland and were married there.
When 21 years old, Ludwig became engaged to Sophia, the younger sister of Elizabeth (Sissy), Empress of Austria. Some months later he decided he was born to stay a bachelor, and they cancelled the wedding.
When not occupying himself with castles, Ludwig got involved in two wars, the first when the allied Austrian-Bavarian army fought against Prussia; the second when Prussia and Bavaria fought France. Germany won the war, and soon after founded the Deutsches Reich. Ludwig had to send a letter (dictated by Bismarck) to William I, ruler of Prussia, to offer him the crown of a German Empire; he accepted and became Kaiser William I. Ludwig II died under mysterious circumstances. He is buried in the crypt of St. Michael’s Church in Munich.
Ludwig’s uncle, Luitpold, succeeded him as Prince Regent, because the heir, Ludwig’s brother Otto, was insane.
King Ludwig III became the last King of Bavaria. The end of World War I also saw the end of the monarchy.
Beerhall-Putsch. Hitler and his followers marched to the Hall of Generals; there the police stopped him, 16 participants were shot Hitler was later captured and imprisoned.
Munich Treaty between Chamberlain, Daladier, Mussolini and Hitler, agreeing to Germany’s annexation of part of Czechoslovakia.
World War II.
First of 71 air raids on Munich.
American troops arrived in Munich on April 30.
Munich reached one million inhabitants.
Olympic Games took place in Munich.