The Wittelsbach Dynasty ruled Bavaria from the 12th century into the 20th century through World War I. Americans tend to associate Bavaria with beer and the Wittelsbach Dynasty has been closely involved with breweries and beer. Oktoberfest began in Bavaria as a public celebration of the wedding in 1810 of the Crown Prince who later became King Ludwig I. The event was such success that it has been continued every year since. Perhaps the most famous Bavarian king is Mad King Ludwig who built fairytale castles, but came to a tragic end. The Wittelsbach dynasty in the 19th century were noted for a liberal approach to ruling Bavaria. They not only built notable palaces, but also theatres and promoted the arts and intelectual inquiry. Bavaria was an important center of the arts in Germany. Bavaria for most of its existance had been an independent state within the Holy Roman Empire. Bavaria entered the Germn Empire after the Franco Prussian War (1870). Bavarians had some trpedation, but the popular sentiment for unification and the military power of Prussia meant that there was no real alternative. In particular there was concern about the dominant position of conservative, militaristic, and artistically chalenged Prussia.
Bavaria had been both a Duchy and Kingdom. Bavaria hasconsisted of several provinces (Bavaria, Franconia, Swabia, andparts of the Palatinate. Bavaria has also included the Rhenish Palainateseparated from the rest of the Kingdom by Hesse and Baden andlocated on the west bank of the Rhine. The contingous provincesborder Czecheslovakia (now the Czech Republic) and Austria insouthern Germay.
The Boli, a race of Celtic origin, conquered the area of Bavaria about 600BC. The ruled until shortly before the Christian era when they were subjected by the Romans.
After the decay of Roman power, the Ostrogoths and Franks successively held possession of Bavaria. It was a part of Charlemagne's empire. The Wittelsbach Dynasty ruled Bavaria into the 20th century through World War I.
Bavaria in 1180 was transferred by imperial grant to Otto Count of Wittelsbach. The Rhenish Palatinate was conferred on this family by the Emperor Frederick III, in 1216.
The Wittelsbach dynasty has been deeply immersed in beer. Notes from 1260 record that Duke Ludwig had "a fine brewery" in his house.
Ludwig the Bavarian, Count Otto's great-great-grandson, was the first Wittelsbach to be elected King of the Germans (in 1314). He was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1328. He extended the Munich city walls and secured a monopoly of the south German salt trade for Munich.
Herzog Albrecht IV minted the first Bavarian gold ducat in 1500. He fought thge Landshut War of Succession
with Count Ruprecht. Qlthough his Upper Bavarian forces were smaller than Ruprecht's Lower Bavarian forces, support from the Swabian League and Emperior enabled him to defeat Ruprecht. Thus Bavaria which had been divided inti three rival family lines was united for the first time in 150 years. He established the unified capital in
Munich. Count Ruprecht's line became the cadet Palentine line.
Herzog Wilhelm IV, Albrecht IV's son, declared that only first born sons could govern, as he did not want to share the reign with his youngr brother. He played an important role during the Reformation and ensured that Bavaria remained Roman Catholic. He also decreed that beer must contain only barley, hops and water. This was the famous Bavarian Reinheitsgebot, or purity law of 1516.
Herzog Wilhelm V was the grandson of Wilhelm. He founded another of Munich's great beer traditions, the world famous Hofbräuhaus, built in 1589. And the Glockenspiel on the tower of the city council building is a tribute to his marriage to Renate von Lothringen.
Kurfürst Maximilian I, Wilhelm's son, made extensive alterations to the Residenz palace and vastly increased the size of the royal court. Munich began to acquire a reputation as a cultural center for the first
time in its history. The Mariensäule (St. Mary's Column) in what is now Marienplatz was raised by Maximilian in thanks for the deliverance of the land from its Swedish invaders. He also had a further statue of the virgin and child built into the façade of the Residenz. Quarrels followed between relatives, over divisions of territory,until the Dukedom of Bavaria was severed from the Rhenish and Upper Palatinates; the Upper Palatinate, however, was reunited with Bavaria in 1621, and the Peace of Westphalia, in 1648, confirmed the right of Bavarian princes to that possession, as well as their right to the electoral dignity, to which the dukedom of Bavaria had been raised in 1624.
Kurfürst Ferdinand, son of Maximilian I, and his Italian wife, Princess Henriette Adelheid of Savoy, brought the Baroque style to Munich; they commissioned the building of the Theatinerkirche. As a present for his wife, Ferdinand built a summer residence known as the Kemnathen on a farm west of Munich. She called it the "Castello delle Ninfe" (Castle of the Nymphs) and it was later the central building around which Nymphenburg Palace was built. In 1656 Ferdinand banned smoking.
Kurfürst Max Emanuel, Ferdinand's son, helped defend Vienna against the Ottoman invasion of 1683. Later however, he spent over a decade in
exile, a period in which Bavaria was occupied and left miserable and impoverished by the Austrian army. On his reluctant return, the elector idled away his remaining years between the palaces of Schleißheim and Nymphenburg, on which he had lavished extensive alterations before again leaving the country.
We are not entirely sure how Kar I fits into the Wittelsbach family history. We assume the overlap with Max Emanuel relates to the Austrian invasion. Karl I. Albert was the prince elector of Bavaria (1697-1745). At the time the title prince elector was more prestigious than duke. He became Emperor Karl VII Albert of the Holy Roman Empire (1742). He died a few years kater (1745).
Max III Joseph was the grandson of Max Emanuel. He was much loved despite his tight rein on the state purse strings. Enlightened and artistic, he introduced compulsory education in 1771--a very progressive measure at the time. He had the rococo Cuvilliés Theater built within the walls of the Residenz. As he had no children, his death in 1777 brought to an end the line of the Bavarian Wittelsbacher. This was the begging of the modern cadet lines that developed formally after the death of Karl Theodor (1799).
Kurfürst Karl Theodor, of the Palatine Wittelsbacher inherited the Bavarian throne. He was immensely unpopular with his subjects and had a reputation as a womanizer, spendthrift and dullard. But he left a lasting memorial: in 1789 he commissioned American Benjamin Thompson and court gardener Friedrich Ludwig Sckell to design an "English Garden" for the people of Munich. Karl Theodor did not, however, leave any legitimate heirs.
Kurfürst Max IV Joseph, a distant cousin of Kurfürst Karl Theodor, succeeded to the throne. He was elevated in 1806 to King Maximilian I Joseph by Napoleon through the treaty of Pressburg, , in thanks for Bavaria's joining the French cause. Bavaria was now a kingdom for the first time in its history. The king, formerly the Elector Maximilian I Joseph, assisted Napoleon in his wars, and in return received large additions of territory. In 1813, however, Maximilian contrived to change sides opportunely, and thus managed to have confirmed to him, by the treaties of 1814-15, an extent of territory nearly as valuable as the possessions which he had gained as an ally of Napoleon, and which he had now to restoreto Austria. In 1818 a new constitution was granted in which th authority of the Crown was reestablished.In 1810 Max
Joseph arranged a grand festival to mark the wedding of his son,
crown prince Ludwig, to Therese Charlotte Luise, Princess of Saxony-Hildburghausen. This was the first Oktoberfest. Another son is noted for a daughter, the Princess Elizabeth, a future Queen of Belgium.
The different branches of the Wittelsbach family and the title Duke in Bavaria is a complicated story. It needs to be addressed because some European monarchs emerged from the cadet branches of the family. The story begins with the death of Kurfürst Karl Theodor. The question of secession was complicated because he had no direct descendents. A distant cousin was selected, Kurfürst Max IV Joseph/King Maximilian I Joseph. In the seccession process, two cadet branches of the Wittelsbach family became established, in part because of the various territories the family possessed, especially those outside of Bavaria proper. The rather curious title of Duke IN Bavaria (Herzog in Bayern) began to be used at the time that primogeniture was established (1506). The title was used by the many members of the House of Wittelsbach except the ruling duke. The title of the ruling duke was complicated. Karl I styled himself Count Palatine of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld and patriarch of the House of Palatinate-Birkenfeld: "Count Palatine by Rhine, Duke in Bavaria, Count to Veldenz and Sponheim". Wilhelm, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld-Gelnhausen began to use it as his primary title. This choice has also had effect for his descendants.
King Ludwig I , of Bavaria, Max Joseph's son, brought artists such as Klenze, Gärtner and Cornelius to Munich. He moved the Universityfrom Landshut to the city in 1826 and appointed renowned scientists, philosophers and historians to important positions. He built extensively and was responsible for the Feldherrnhalle, the Alte Pinakothek and the Ludwigsbrücke. Ludwig I was forced to agree to a democratic consitution as part of the revolutions sweeping Europe. Rather than rule in a democratic Bavaria, Ludwig I abdicated. There were also complications arising from his relationship with dancer Lola Montez. Interestingly, the world also owes Oktoberfest to the Bavarian family--the Wittelsbach dynasty. Oktoberfest began as a public celebration of the wedding in 1810 of the Crown Prince, who later became King Ludwig I, to Princess Theresia. The event was such success that it has been continued every year since.
King Maximilian II was the son of King Ludwig I. Bavaria was a center for anti-Prussian and anti-unification sentiment within the German Federation. Partly as a result of a heavily Catholic population it was a bulwark against socialism among the German states. Maximillian accepted the Crown after his father abdicated. He also had a large building program and brought many prominent scientists and artists to Munich. He was a reformer who overhauled the judicial system and introduced freedom of the press. A new road, Maximilianstraße, was built on his instructions. The Maximilianeum, at the eastern end of the road, is now the seat of the Bavarian parliament. Maximillian had two sons, Ludwig and Otto. He had excentric ideas about raising his children and his inflexible rule was probably the major cause of the mental instability of both boys.
The Bavarian royal line is best known for Mad King Ludwig who built his fairy-tale castle in the Bavarian mountains during the 19th Century. Oddly enough, the romantic, whimsical castles built by King Ludwig II are today the country's most recognizable attraction. Ludwig was officially born August 25, 1845. His father, who showed little interest in his son as a boy, was quite overcome, when his son was born. Ludwig's Granfarher was delighted with the young prince. Three years after Ludwig's birth, Ludwig I abdicated. This was not
because of his affair with Lola Montez as has often been claimed but as a result of the revolution of 1848. Liberal revolutions
swept Europe in 1848. Ludwig came to have little regard for his mother.
Leopold as a child had a touchy pride in his high position; he
had to come first, whether it was in games with younger
brother Otto (1848-1916) or the order of precedence when
entering a room in company. Ludwig’s interest in religion and spirituality also emerged in his early years. It is well known that Maximilian II was captivated by the ancient Greek ideal of a strict upbringing and was especially
influenced by the Stoics. So, for example, the king instructed that his two sons, Ludwig and Otto, should never be allowed to
eat until their hunger was fully satisfied. He was worried that his sons might grow up as weaklings or fall prey to decadence. There is limited information available on the clothes the two princes wore. The boys were dressed alike as is the fashion in many royal families.
Ludwig was eventually declared insane and removed from office. His brother, Otto, succeded to the throne, but as he also considered insane, Prince Luitpold acted as regent.
Prince Otto was born in 1848. He was the son younger son of King Maximilian II, of Bavaria and King Ludwig II's younger brother. He acceeded to the throne in 1886 upon his brother's death. As he was also considered insane, Prince Luitpold served a regent. Prince Otto was considered to be demented. He was proclaimed King in 1886 in spite of his mental derangement. Prince Otto showed serious signs of madness as early as 1875 and was soon afterwards was deprived of his
freedom. His uncle Prince Luitpold was appointed Regent. King Otto was not replaced, however, until 1913. One source indicates that he ws deposed November 5, 1913. He died in 1916. Otto, like his brother Ludig, never mairred.
Prince Luitpold was the third son of King Ludwid I and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Nephews Ludwig and Otto reigned as king, although Prince Luitpold acted as regent (1886-1913) during the reign of Otto I. This was of some concern to Chancellor Bismark as Bavaria was part of the German Empire. Perhaps out of consideration of his brother, Prince Luitpold was never crowned and served as regent. Many commentators assume that Prince Luitpold instigated the conspiracy to declare Otto insane. The view is that Princ Luitpold usurpered the Bavarian Crown. Others argue that nothing could be further from the truth. The Prince in fact waited and considered matters for nearly 3 months before accepting the advise of Prime Minister Lutz and the Cabinet. The Prince married Archduces Augusta of Tuscany (Habsburg-Lotharingen) in 1844. They had four children. The eldest was Ludwig (1845). After over 20 years as Regent, Pinc Luitpold was finally succeeded by his son, Ludwig III in 1913. There may have also been another son, Prince Alfonse. Bavaria while Ludwig II wasstill king was swept up in the War against France and the unification of German under the Crown of Prussia. Bavaria entered the North German Confederation by treaty on November 23, 1870, becoming a part of the German Empire.
Ludwig III who was proclaimed king in l913. King Ludwig III, Prinzregent Luitpold's son, was already an old man and in poor health when he came to the throne. He was the last Bavarian monarch. I have little information about Ludwig. The Wittelsbach dynasty was deposed by a Socialist revolution in Munich on November 8, 1918. Public outrage of the deprivation and tragic consequences of the War resulted in the overthrow of royal families throughout Grmany. The outbreak of this German revolution helped quicken the end
of World War I. The Bavarian Government was taken over by a cabinet under the left-wing socialist, Kurt Eisner, who had led the revolt against the monarchy. In 1919, however, Eisner was assassinated. Led by Count Arco-Vally of the Germany army. After a resulting communist revolution which lasted only a few weeks a democratic government within the new Geerman republic was formed. In the upheavals that followed Germany's defeat in the First World War, Bavaria was declared a worker's republic and the royal family fled Munich on the advice of the new government, which said it could not guarantee their safety.
After 783 years in power the rule of the Wittelsbach family in Bavaria was at an end.
Crown Prince Rupprecht (Prpert) was born in 1869. Two sons (Princes Luitpold and Albrecht) in the years before World War I were very elegantly dressed. A photograph that appears to be taken in the 1900s shows the two boys in satin outfits with open lace collars and matching lace at the cuffs. The younger boy wears a skirt outfit. His older brother who looks to be about 10 years old wears a matching out fits but with short pants and a waist sash. Both boys wear short white socks and buckle shoes. Interestingly these outfits are very similar to out fits that Bavarian Princess Elizabeth who became the Queen of Belgium chose for the Belgian princes (Leopold and Charles) at about the same time. The boys wore long hair cuts, although not in long ringlets like many American boys wore. Rupprecht succeeded as head of the Wittelsbach dynasty in 1921 upon the death of his father, Ludwig III, the last ruling King of Bavaria. After thge fall of the dynasty in the aftrmath of orld War I, dynasty's royal titles had no legal standing, but still carried great social prestige. Lingering monarchist sympathies still exist in Bavaria, but there have been no serious attempts to reinstate the Wittelsbacher dynasty. Rupprecht despised the NAZIs. Rupprecht's role as a possible German Emperor was discussed in the early 1930s as a way of preventing Hitler and the NAZIs from seizing power. Ther was a less serious discussion in the 1940s at the end of the World War II, but nothing came of these discussions,
The present Prince Luitpold was born in 1951. Prince Luitpold was born at Schloß Leutstetten near Starnberg (1951).
He is the only surviving child of Prince Ludwig (Louis) of Bavaria (1913- )and his wife Princess Irmingard of Bavaria.
Luitpold took over the Kaltenberg brewery in 1976. In a republic, Prince Luitpold clearly believes that royals should work for a living, and he is one of the most energetic of Germany's brewers. When he took over the brewery, he quickiy decided that it should haveaspeciality The range included a dark lager, and the Prince decided to develop that product. He refined it for two or three years, increasing the original gravity from 11.5 to 13.2-3 Plato, introducing krausening - mixing fermenting wort with the "green beer " - and dry hopping.With Albrecht's death earlier this year, the flame has been passed on to his son Franz. The Wittelsbach family still counts approximately fifty members, among them, Kaltenbach brewery owner Prince Luitpold von Bayern.
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