List of rulers of Bavaria

The following is a list of rulers during the history of Bavaria. Bavaria was ruled by several dukes and kings, partitioned and reunited, under several dynasties. Since 1949, Bavaria has been a democratic state in the Federal Republic of Germany.

Rulers of BavariaEdit

Ducal Bavaria (also known as the "Old Stem duchy")Edit

Agilolfing DynastyEdit

Around 548 the kings of the Franks placed the border region of Bavaria under the administration of a duke — possibly Frankish or possibly chosen from amongst the local leading families — who was supposed to act as a regional governor for the Frankish king. The first duke we know of, and likely the first, was Gariwald, or Garibald I, a member of the powerful Agilolfing family. This was the beginning of a series of Agilolfing dukes that was to last until 788.

Name Image Title Start term End term Part Note
Garibald I Duke of Bavaria 555 (c.) 591 Some sources call him "King of the Bavarians".[1]
Tassilo I Duke of Bavaria 591 (c.) 610 Named rex (king) at his ascension.
Garibald II Duke of Bavaria 610 (c.) 630
Theodo Duke of Bavaria 680 (c.) 716 (?) By the time of Theodo, who died in 716 or 717, the Bavarian duchy had achieved complete independence from the Frankish kings. Theodo's sons divided the duchy, but by 719 the rule had returned to Grimoald.
Theodbert Duke 702 (c.) 719 Salzburg Son of Theodo.
Theobald Duke 711 (c.) 719 Parts of Bavaria Son of Theodo.
Tassilo II Duke 716 (c.) 719 Passau Son of Theodo.
Grimoald Duke 716 (c.) 725 Freising Son of Theodo, later ruling all of Bavaria.
Hugbert Duke 725 737 Son of Theudbert. In 725(?), Charles Martel, ruler in fact though not in name of the Frankish realm, reasserted royal supremacy over Bavaria, defeating and killing Grimoald and annexing portions of Bavaria during the rule of Hugbert.
Odilo 737 748 Son of Gotfrid.
Grifo 748 748 Carolingian Usurper.
Tassilo III Duke of Bavaria 748 788 In 757 Tassilo III recognized the suzerainty of the Frankish kings Pippin III and did homage to Charlemagne in 781, and again in 787, while pursued an independent policy. In 788, Charlemagne had Tassilo sentenced to death on a charge of treason. Tassilo, granted pardon, entered a monastery and formally renounced his duchy at Frankfurt am Main in 794.

Carolingian Dynasty and Dominion from the Holy Roman EmpireEdit

The Kings (later Emperors) of the Franks now assumed complete control, placing Bavaria under the rule of non-hereditary governors and civil servants. They were not Dukes but rather Kings of Bavaria. The Emperor Louis the Pious divided control of the Empire among his sons, and the divisions became permanent in the decades following his death in 840. The Frankish rulers controlled Bavaria as part of their possessions.

Name Image Title Start term End term Part Note
Charlemagne   Emperor 788 794
Gerold of Vinzgouw Prefect of Bavaria 794 799 Udalriching Udalriching interregnum. Appointed Baioariæ præfectus by Charlemagne. Died in battle.
Charlemagne   Emperor 794 814
Lothair I   Emperor 814 817
Louis I the Pious   Emperor 817 829 In 817, Louis bestowed Bavaria upon his then-youngest son, Louis the German.
Louis II the German   King of Bavaria 817 865 Louis was to rule as King of Bavaria, subordinate to his father, until the latter's death in 840. From 843, Bavaria was merged in Louis the German's Kingdom of East Francia. In 864, Louis the German gave control of Bavaria to his son Carloman, and died in 876. Louis' two younger sons, Louis and Charles — the latter of whom briefly recovered control of all the Frankish possessions — ruled Bavaria in succession after Carloman.
Carloman   King of Bavaria 864 880 Eldest son of Louis the German.
Louis III the Younger   King of Bavaria 880 882 Son of Louis the German.
Charles the Fat   King of Bavaria 882 887 Youngest son of Louis the German.

Carloman's bastard son, Arnulf of Carinthia, rebelled against Charles and took power in eastern Francia shortly before Charles' death.

Arnulf of Carinthia   King of Bavaria 887 899 Son of Carloman.
Louis IV the Child   King of Bavaria 899 911 Son of Arnulf of Carinthia.
Engeldeo Margrave of Bavaria 890 895 Non-dynastic. Deprived of his title marchio Baioariorum and replaced by Luitpold.

Ducal Bavaria (also known as the "Younger Stem duchy")Edit

Ruled by an array of dukes from an array of rivaling houses, individually appointed to office

Luitpolding dynasty, 911–947Edit

  Luitpolding dynasty

Luitpold, founder of the Luitpolding dynasty, was not a Duke of Bavaria but a Margrave of Carinthia under the rule of Louis the Child. Frankish power had waned in the region due to Hungarian attacks, allowing the local rulers greater independence. Luitpold's son, Arnulf, claimed the title of Duke (implying full autonomy) in 911 and was recognized as such by the German King Henry the Fowler in 920.

German kings, 947–1070Edit

  Ottonian dynasty   Salian dynasty

From 947 until the 11th century, the kings of Germany repeatedly transferred Bavaria into different hands (including their own), never allowing any one family to establish itself. Bavaria was ruled by a series of short-lasting, mostly unrelated dynasties.

Houses of Welf and Babenberg, 1070–1180Edit

  Houses of Welf and Babenberg

In 1070, Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor deposed duke Otto, granting the duchy instead to Welf I, Duke of Bavaria, a member of the Italo-Bavarian family of Este. Welf I subsequently quarreled with King Henry and was deprived of his duchy for nineteen years, during which it was directly administered by the German crown. Welf I recovered the duchy in 1096, and was succeeded by his sons Welf II and Henry IX — the latter was succeeded by his son Henry X, who also became Duke of Saxony.

Name Image Title Start term End term House Part Note
Luitpold Margrave of Bavaria 895 907 Luitpolding
Arnulf the Bad   Duke of Bavaria 907 920 Luitpolding Son of Luitpold.

Arnulf the Bad claimed the title of Duke — implying full autonomy — in 911, and was recognized as such by the German King Henry the Fowler, in 920.

Eberhard Duke of Bavaria 937 938 Luitpolding
Berthold   Duke of Bavaria 938 947 Luitpolding Younger son of Luitpold.

The German King Otto I reasserted central authority, banishing Arnulf's son Eberhard and re-granting the title to Berthold, a younger son of Luitpold.

Henry I   Duke of Bavaria 947 955 Ottonian Son of Henry the Fowler.

On Berthold's death, Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, gave the duchy to his own brother Henry (I), who was also Arnulf the Bad's son-in-law.

Henry II the Quarrelsome   Duke of Bavaria 955 976 Ottonian Henry II made war upon his cousin, Emperor Otto II, and was deprived of his duchy in 976 in favor of his cousin Otto, Duke of Swabia (who now acquired two dukedoms).
Otto I   Duke of Bavaria 976 982 Ottonian
Henry III the Younger Duke of Bavaria 983 985 Luitpolding Bavaria was given to Berthold's son Henry III, briefly restoring the Luitpolding dynasty. Henry III exchanged Bavaria for Carinthia, and Henry II received Bavaria again.
Henry II the Quarrelsome   Duke of Bavaria 985 995 Ottonian Restored
Henry IV   Duke of Bavaria 995 1004 Ottonian Son of Henry II the Quarrelsome.

Henry IV was elected as Holy Roman Emperor Henry II, who gave Bavaria to his brother-in-law Henry V, Count of Luxemburg in 1004.

Henry V Duke of Bavaria 1004 1009 Luxemburg Son of Siegfried of Luxembourg.
Henry IV   Duke of Bavaria 1009 1017 Ottonian Henry IV reasserted direct control.
Henry V Duke of Bavaria 1017 1026 Luxemburg Son of Siegfried of Luxembourg.

Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany, gave Bavaria to his son Henry VI after the death of Henry V in 1026.

Henry VI the Black   Duke of Bavaria 1026 1042 Salian Son of Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor.

Later Henry was elected as Holy Roman Emperor Henry III, and became King of Germany in 1039.

Henry VII   Duke of Bavaria 1042 1047 Luxemburg Son of Frederick of Luxembourg.

In 1042, Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor, granted the duchy to Henry VII, Count of Luxemburg, nephew of Henry V.

Conrad I (Kuno) Duke of Bavaria 1049 1053 Ezzonen Son of Liudolf of Lotharingia.

After Henry VII's death, the dukedom was vacant for a couple of years. Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor, then gave the duchy to Kuno, Count of Zütphen, in 1049. Kuno was deposed in 1053.

Henry VIII   Duke of Bavaria 1053 1054 Salian Son of Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor.

During his reign in Bavaria Henry VIII was a minor (born 1050). In 1056 he became King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor as Henry IV in 1084.

Conrad II Duke of Bavaria 1054 1055 Salian (minor, born 1052, died 1055) Son of Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry VIII   Duke of Bavaria 1055 1061 Salian (minor: born 1050) Son of Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor. Henry VIII became King of Germany (1056) and Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor in 1084.
Otto II Duke of Bavaria 1061 1070 Nordheim In 1061 Empress Agnes — the 11-year-old King Henry IV's mother and regent — entrusted the duchy to Otto of Nordheim.
Welf I   Duke of Bavaria 1070 1077 Welf Welf I subsequently quarreled with Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor and was deprived of his duchy for nineteen years, during which it was directly administered by the German crown.
Henry VIII   Duke of Bavaria 1077 1096 Salian (minor: born 1050) Son of Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor. Henry VIII became King of Germany (1056) and Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor in 1084.
Welf I   Duke of Bavaria 1096 1101 Welf Welf I recovered the duchy in 1096.
Welf II   Duke of Bavaria 1101 1120 Welf Son of Welf I
Henry IX the Black   Duke of Bavaria 1120 1126 Welf Son of Welf I.


Henry X the Proud   Duke of Bavaria 1126 1138 Welf Son of Henry IX the Black.

In a power struggle with King Conrad III of Germany, Henry X lost his duchy to the King, who granted it to his follower Leopold Margrave of Austria.

Leopold I   Duke of Bavaria 1139 1141 Babenberg When Leopold died, Conrad III of Germany resumed the duchy and granted it to Leopold's brother Henry XI.
Henry XI Jasomirgott   Duke of Bavaria 1143 1156 Babenberg Brother of Leopold.
Henry XII the Lion   Duke of Bavaria 1156 1180 Welf When Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, became king of Germany, he restored Bavaria to the Welf line in the person of Henry X's son, Henry XII the Lion, Duke of Saxony.

Ducal Bavaria (Hereditary dukes)Edit

Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Bavaria

In 1180, Henry XII the Lion and Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, fell out. The emperor consequently dispossessed the duke and gave his territory to Otto I Wittelsbach, Duke of Bavaria of the House of Wittelsbach. From now on, Bavaria remained in the possession of various branches of the family for 738 years until the end of the First World War.

First partition, 1253–1340Edit

In 1253, on Otto II's death, Bavaria was divided between his sons. Henry became Duke of Lower Bavaria and Louis of Upper Bavaria. From this point until the beginning of the 16th century, the territories were frequently divided between brothers, making the Dukes difficult to list.

In Lower Bavaria, Henry XIII was succeeded by his three sons, Otto III, Louis III, and Stephen I ruling jointly. Otto III's successor in the joint dukedom was his son Henry XV. Stephen's successors were his sons Otto IV and Henry XIV. Henry XIV's son was John I.

In Upper Bavaria, Louis II was succeeded by his sons Rudolf I and Louis IV. The latter was elected King of Germany in 1314. After John I's death in 1340, Louis IV unified the Bavarian duchy.

The dukes of Upper Bavaria served also as Counts Palatinate of the Rhine. In 1329 Louis IV released the Palatinate of the Rhine including the Bavarian Upper Palatinate to the sons of Rudolf I. The Upper Palatinate would be reunited with Bavaria in 1623, the Lower Palatinate in 1777.

Second partition 1349–1503Edit

From 1349 until 1503 the second partition of Bavaria took place. In 1349, the six sons of Louis IV partitioned Bavaria into Upper and Lower Bavaria again. In 1353, Lower Bavaria was partitioned into Bavaria-Landshut and Bavaria-Straubing. Upper Bavaria was partitioned between Bavaria-Straubing and Bavaria-Landshut in 1363. After the death of Stephan II in 1392, Bavaria-Landshut was broken into three duchies, John II gained Bavaria-Munich, Frederick, Duke of Bavaria-Landshut received a smaller Bavaria-Landshut, and in Bavaria-Ingolstadt ruled Stephen III, Duke of Bavaria.

Following the Landshut War (1503–1505), the Duke of Bavaria-Munich Albert IV the Wise became ruler of Bavaria. In 1506 Albert decreed that the duchy should pass according to the rules of primogeniture.

In 1623 Maximilian I was granted the title Prince-elector (German: Kurfürst) of the Rhenish Palatinate in 1623.

House of WittelsbachEdit

Partitions of Bavaria under Wittelsbach ruleEdit

Duchy of Bavaria
Lower Bavaria
(1st creation)
Upper Bavaria
(1st creation)
Duchy of Bavaria
(Upper line)
Lower Bavaria
(2nd creation)
Upper Bavaria
(2nd creation)
(divided among the other duchies)
(divided among the other duchies)
Duchy of Bavaria
(Munich line)

Table of rulersEdit

(Note: Here the numbering of the dukes is the same for all duchies, as all were titled Dukes of Bavaria, despite of the different parts of land and its particular numbering of the rulers. The dukes are numbered by the year of their succession.)

Ruler Born Reign Death Ruling part Consort Notes
Otto III the Redhead   1117 1180-1183 11 July 1183 Bavaria Agnes of Loon
eleven children
In 1180 Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor gave Bavaria to Otto I Wittelsbach, Duke of Bavaria of the House of Wittelsbach.
Agnes of Loon
  1150 1183-1189 1191 Bavaria Otto III the Redhead
eleven children
Regent on behalf of her son, Louis I. She managed to secure the inheritance of her son.
Louis I the Kelheimer   23 December 1173 1189-1231 15 September 1231 Bavaria Ludmilla of Bohemia
one child
Son of Otto III. Louis obtained the Palatinate of the Rhine in 1214. So Louis I served also as Count Palatine of the Rhine. He was assassinated 1231.
Otto IV the Illustrious   7 April 1206 1231-1253 29 November 1253 Bavaria Agnes of the Palatinate
eleven children
Otto IV served also as Count Palatine of the Rhine. On Otto IV's death, Bavaria was divided between his sons. Henry became duke of Lower Bavaria, and Louis of Upper Bavaria. From this point until the beginning of the 16th century, the territories were frequently divided between brothers.
Henry XIII   19 November 1235 1253-1290 3 February 1290 Lower Bavaria Elizabeth of Hungary
ten children
Son of Otto IV. After the partition of 1253, received Lower Bavaria.
Louis II the Strict   13 April 1229 1253-1294 2 February 1294 Upper Bavaria Maria of Brabant
2 August 1254
no children

Anna of Głogów
two children

Matilda of Austria
24 October 1273
four children
Son of Otto IV. After the partition of 1253, received Upper Bavaria.
Otto V   11 February 1261 1290-1312 9 November 1312 Lower Bavaria Catherine of Austria
January 1279
two children

Anna of Głogów
18 May 1309
two children
Sons of Henry XIII, ruled jointly. In 1305 Otto became also King of Hungary and Croatia, as grandson of Béla IV of Hungary.
Louis III 9 October 1269 1290-1296 9 October 1296 Lower Bavaria Isabella of Lorraine
no children
Stephen I 14 March 1271 1290-1310 10 December 1310 Lower Bavaria Judith of Świdnica-Jawor
eight children
Matilda of Austria (regent)   1253 1294-1296 23 December 1304 Upper Bavaria Louis II the Strict
24 October 1273
four children
Widow of Louis II. Regent on behalf of her sons.
Rudolph I the Stammerer   4 October 1274 1296-1317 12 August 1319 Upper Bavaria Matilda of Nassau
1 September 1294
six children
Ruled jointly with his brother Louis IV. In 1317 Rudolph abdicated of his rights to his brother, who in 1328 was elected Holy Roman Emperor, and in 1340 reunited Bavaria.
Henry XIV the Elder 29 September 1305 1312-1339 1 September 1339 Lower Bavaria Margaret of Bohemia
12 August 1328
two children
Sons of Stephen I (Henry XIV and Otto VI) and Otto V (Henry XV), ruled jointly.
Otto VI 3 January 1307 1312-1334 14 December 1334 Lower Bavaria Richardis of Jülich
one child
Henry XV the Natternberger 28 August 1312 1312-1333 18 June 1333 Lower Bavaria Anna of Austria
between 1326 and 1328
no children
John I the Child 29 November 1329 1339-1340 20 December 1340 Lower Bavaria Anna of Upper Bavaria
18 April 1339
no children
Left no male heirs, which allowed his cousin (and brother-in-law) Louis to reunite the Bavarian lands.
Louis IV the Bavarian   5 April 1282 1296-1340 11 October 1347 Upper Bavaria Beatrice of Świdnica-Jawor
14 October 1308
six children

Margaret II, Countess of Holland-Hainaut
26 February 1324
ten children
Co-ruled with his brother Rudolf I until 1317 — then alone. Louis IV was elected King of Germany in 1314. In the Treaty of Pavia (1329) Louis IV released the Palatinate of the Rhine including the Bavarian Upper Palatinate to the sons of Rudolf I. After John I the Child's death in 1340, Louis IV unified the Bavarian duchy.
1340-1347 Bavaria
Louis V the Brandenburger   May 1315 1347-1349 18 September 1361 Bavaria Margaret of Denmark
no children

Margaret, Countess of Tyrol
10 February 1342
four children
The six sons of Louis IV, ruled jointly until 1349, when they divided the land: Louis V, Louis VI and Otto VII kept Upper Bavaria; William, Albert and Stephen Lower Bavaria. In 1351 Louis VI and Otto gave up their inheritance in Bavaria, in exchange of the Electoral dignity in Brandenburg. Having lost the Electorate of Brandenburg in 1373, Otto returned to Bavaria to claim new inheritance, and shared the part of Stephen II's sons (his nephews) in Landshut.

In Lower Bavaria, the three brothers divided the land again in 1353: Stephen kept Landshut, William and Albert shared Straubing, and from 1389 the two shared Straubing also with Albert I's son, Albert II.

1349-1361 Upper Bavaria
Louis VI the Roman   7 May 1328 1347-1349 17 May 1365 Bavaria Cunigunde of Poland
before 1349
no children

Ingeborg of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
no children
1349-1351 Upper Bavaria
Otto VII the Lazy   1340/42 1347-1349 15 November 1379 Bavaria Catherine of Bohemia
19 March 1366
no children
1349-1351 Upper Bavaria
1375-1379 Bavaria-Landshut
Stephen II the Representative   1319 1347-1349 13 May 1375 Bavaria Elisabeth of Sicily
27 June 1328
four children

Margaret of Nuremberg
14 February 1359
three children
1349-1353 Lower Bavaria
1353-1375 Bavaria-Landshut
William I the Mad   12 May 1330 1347-1349 15 April 1389 Bavaria Matilda of England
no children
1349-1353 Lower Bavaria
1353-1389 Bavaria-Straubing
Albert I   25 July 1336 1347-1349 13 December 1404 Bavaria Margaret of Brzeg
after 19 July 1353
seven children

Margaret of Clèves
no children
1349-1353 Lower Bavaria
1353-1404 Bavaria-Straubing
Albert II   1368 1389-1397 21 January 1397 Bavaria-Straubing Unmarried
Meinhard I   9 February 1344 1361-1363 13 January 1363 Upper Bavaria Margaret of Austria
4 September 1359
no children
Left no male descendants. After his death Upper Bavaria was divided between Bavaria-Landshut and Bavaria-Straubing.
Definitively annexed by Bavaria-Landshut (1/2) and Bavaria-Straubing (1/2)
Frederick I the Wise 1339 1375-1393 4 December 1393 Bavaria-Landshut Anna of Neuffen
one child

Maddalena Visconti
2 September 1381
five children
Ruled jointly. Shared rule, until 1379, with their uncle Otto VII. In 1392 the brothers divided the land once more. Frederick retained Landshut, Stephen kept Ingolstadt and John received Munich.
Stephen III the Magnificent 1337 1375-1392 26 September 1413 Bavaria-Landshut Taddea Visconti
13 October 1364
two children

Anna of Neuffen
16 January 1401
no children
1392-1413 Bavaria-Landshut-Ingolstadt
John II 1341 1375-1392 14 June/1 July 1397 Bavaria-Landshut Catherine of Gorizia
three children
1392-1397 Bavaria-Landshut-Munich
Henry XVI the Rich   1386 1393-1450 30 July 1450 Bavaria-Landshut Margaret of Austria
25 November 1412
six children
Annexed Ingolstadt in 1445.
Ernest   1373 1397-1438 14 June/1 July 1397 Bavaria-Landshut-Munich Elisabetta Visconti
26 January 1395
Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm
four children
Ruled jointly.
William III   1375 1397-1435 12 September 1435 Bavaria-Landshut-Munich Margaret of Cleves
two children
William II   5 April 1365 1404-1417 31 May 1417 Bavaria-Straubing Margaret of Burgundy
12 April 1385
one child
Eldest son of Albert I.
Louis VII the Bearded   1368 1413-1443 1 May 1447 Bavaria-Landshut-Ingolstadt Anne de Bourbon-La Marche
1 October 1402
two children

Catherine of Alençon
two children
Imprisoned by his son, who was allied with Henry XVI. Died in prison.
Jacqueline   15 July 1401 1417-1432 8 October 1436 Bavaria-Straubing John, Dauphin of France
6 August 1415
The Hague
no children

John IV, Duke of Brabant
10 March 1418
The Hague
(dubious annullment in 1422)
no children

Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester
7 March 1423
(secretly; dubious annullment in 1428)
no children

Frank van Borssele
no children
Contested by her uncle, John III In 1432 abdicated of all her titles and lands. Straubing therefore was divided between its neighbours.
John III the Pitiless (opponent)   1374 1417-1425 6 January 1425 Bavaria-Straubing Elizabeth I, Duchess of Luxembourg
no children
Son of Albert I. Contested Jacqueline until his death 1425.
Definitively annexed by the remaining Bavarian duchies
Albert III   27 March 1401 1438-1460 29 February 1460 Bavaria-Landshut-Munich Agnes Bernauer
no children

Anna of Brunswick-Grubenhagen
22 January 1437
ten children
Son of Ernest.
Louis VIII the Hunchback 1 September 1403 1443-1445 7 April 1445 Bavaria-Landshut-Ingolstadt Unmarried After his death Ingolstadt was annexed by Landshut.
Definitively annexed by Bavaria-Landshut
Louis IX the Rich   23 February 1417 1450-1479 18 January 1479 Bavaria-Landshut Amalia of Saxony
21 March 1452
four children
John IV 4 October 1437 1460-1463 18 November 1463 Bavaria-Landshut-Munich Unmarried Son of Albert III, ruled jointly with his brothers Sigismund and Albert IV.
Sigismund   26 July 1439 1460-1467 1 February 1501 Bavaria-Landshut-Munich Unmarried In 1467, Sigismund created a smaller duchy with its center in Dachau, but left no descendants, and this duchy was merged again in Bavaria-Munich after his death.
1467-1501 Bavaria-Landshut-Munich-Dachau
Definitively annexed by Bavaria-Munich
George I the Rich   15 August 1455 1479-1503 1 December 1503 Bavaria-Landshut Hedwig of Poland
14 November 1475
five children
Left no male descendants at his death. His duchy was annexed to Bavaria-Munich, which reunited the Bavarian duchy.
Albert IV the Wise   15 December 1447 1460-1503 18 March 1508 Bavaria-Landshut-Munich Kunigunde of Austria
3 January 1487
seven children
Co-ruled with his brothers John IV and Sigismund. Reunited the duchy in 1503. In 1506 Albert decreed that the duchy should pass according to the rules of primogeniture.
1503-1508 Bavaria
William IV the Steadfast   13 November 1493 1508-1550 7 March 1550 Bavaria Jakobaea of Baden
5 October 1522
four children
Sons of Albert IV, the last Bavarian pair of brothers ruling together.
Louis X   18 September 1495 1516-1545 22 April 1545 Bavaria Unmarried
Albert V the Magnanimous   29 February 1528 1550-1579 24 October 1579 Bavaria Anna of Austria
4 July 1546
seven children
William V the Pious   29 September 1548 1579-1597 7 February 1626 Bavaria Renata of Lorraine
22 February 1568
ten children
Maximilian I the Great   17 April 1573 1597-1623 27 September 1651 Bavaria Elisabeth of Lorraine
9 February 1595
no children

Maria Anna of Austria
15 July 1635
two children
Son of William V. Maximilian I, was an ally of Emperor Ferdinand II in the Thirty Years' War. When the Elector of the Palatinate, Frederick V, head of a senior branch of the Wittelsbachs, became involved in the war against the Emperor, he was stripped of his Imperial offices and the Prince-elector title. Maximilian I was granted the Electorate of the Palatinate in 1623.

Electorate of BavariaEdit

Name Image Title Start term End term House Note
Maximilian I   Prince-elector of Bavaria 25 February 1623 27 September 1651 Wittelsbach In 1648, Frederick of the Palatinate's heir was restored to his Rhenish territory — but not to the Oberpfalz ceded to Bavaria — together with a new Electorate; Maximilian retained the Electorate granted him in 1623.
Ferdinand Maria   Prince-elector of Bavaria 27 September 1651 26 May 1679 Wittelsbach Son of Maximilian I. 1651-1654 under regency of his uncle Albert VI of Bavaria.
Maximilian II Emanuel   Prince-elector of Bavaria 26 May 1679 26 February 1726 Wittelsbach Son of Ferdinand Maria and Princess Henriette Adelaide of Savoy.
Maximilian II took part in the War of the Spanish Succession on the side of France, against the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I. He was accordingly forced to flee Bavaria following the Battle of Blenheim and deprived of his Electorate on 29 April 1706. He regained his Electorate in 1714 by the Peace of Baden and ruled until 1726.
Charles Albert
Karl Albrecht
  Prince-elector of Bavaria 26 February 1726 20 January 1745 Wittelsbach Son of Maximilian II Emanuel.

Charles Albert once again took on the House of Habsburg in the War of the Austrian Succession, again in combination with France, succeeding so far as to be elected Holy Roman Emperor in 1742 (as Charles VII). However, the Austrians occupied Bavaria (1742–1744), and the Emperor died shortly after returning to Munich.

Maximilian III Joseph   Prince-elector of Bavaria 20 January 1745 30 December 1777 Wittelsbach Son of Charles Albert.
Maximilian III, who had no children, was the last of the direct Bavarian Wittelsbach line descended from Louis IV. He was succeeded by the Elector of the Palatinate, Charles Theodore, who thereby regained their old titles for the senior Wittelsbach line — descended from Louis IV's older brother Rudolf I.
Charles Theodore
Karl Theodor
  Elector of the Palatinate 30 December 1777 16 February 1799 Wittelsbach Son of John Christian, Count of Palatinate-Sulzbach and Marie Anne Henriëtte Leopoldine de La Tour d'Auvergne.
Distant cousin of Maximilian III; Elector Palatine from 1743.
Charles Theodore was also childless, and was succeeded by a distant cousin, the Count Palatine of Zweibrücken, Maximilian IV Joseph — later King Maximilian I.
Maximilian IV Joseph   Elector of the Palatinate 16 February 1799 6 August 1806 Wittelsbach Son of Count Palatine Frederick Michael of Zweibrücken.
Distant cousin of Charles Theodore; Count Palatine of Zweibrücken from 1795.

In the chaos of the wars of the French Revolution, the old order of the Holy Roman Empire collapsed. In the course of these events, Bavaria became once again the ally of France, and Maximilian IV Joseph became King Maximilian I of Bavaria — whilst remaining Prince-Elector and Arch-steward of the Holy Roman Empire until 6 August 1806, when the Holy Roman Empire was abolished.

Kingdom of BavariaEdit

In 1805 under the Peace of Pressburg between the Napoleonic France and the Holy Roman Empire several duchies were elevated to kingdoms. The Wittelsbach rulers of Bavaria held the title King of Bavaria from 1806 until 1918. The prince-elector of Bavaria, Maximilian IV Joseph formally assumed the title King Maximilian I of Bavaria on 1 January 1806. The well-known so called Märchenkönig (Fairy tale king) Ludwig II constructed Neuschwanstein Castle, Herrenchiemsee, and Linderhof Palace during his reign (1864–1886), threatening not only to go bankrupt in person, but also to bankrupt the country in the process. In 1918 Ludwig III lost his throne in the German Revolution of 1918–1919.

Name Image Title Start term End term House Note
Maximilian I   King of Bavaria 1 January 1806 13 October 1825 Wittelsbach see above
Ludwig I   King of Bavaria 13 October 1825 20 March 1848 Wittelsbach Son of Maximilian I Joseph.

Abdicated in the Revolutions of 1848

Maximilian II   King of Bavaria 20 March 1848 10 March 1864 Wittelsbach Son of Ludwig I
Ludwig II   King of Bavaria 10 March 1864 13 June 1886 Wittelsbach Son of Maximilian II

Ludwig II was called the Märchenkönig (Fairy tale king). He grudgingly acceded to Bavaria becoming a component of the German Empire in 1871, was declared insane in 1886.[2]

Otto   King of Bavaria 13 June 1886 5 November 1913 Wittelsbach Brother of Ludwig II and son of Maximilian II.

From a mathematical, calendrical point of view, his marked the longest "reign" amongst the Kings of Bavaria. However, Otto was mentally ill since teenhood and throughout all of his later life, hence the royal functions had to be carried out by the following princes regent:

Ludwig III   King of Bavaria 5 November 1913 13 November 1918 Wittelsbach Cousin of Otto, son of Prince Luitpold and grandson of Ludwig I.

Prince regent from 1912 until 1913. Declared King of Bavaria following a controversial change of the constitution, discharging his cousin Otto from "office". Lost the throne in the German Revolution of 1918–1919 at the end of World War I. Marks the end of 738 years of uninterrupted Wittelsbach rule over Bavaria.


In 1918 — at the end of the First World War in the German Revolution of 1918–1919  Bavaria became a democratic republic within the Weimar Republic; the name for the period of Germany from 1919 to 1933. Since then the rulers of Bavaria are minister presidents.


  1. ^ Paul the Deacon (1907), History of the Langobards (Historia Langobardorum) Archived 24 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine, William Dudley Foulke, trans. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania), III, x Archived 25 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine, calls him "king of the Bavarians". The mid-thirteenth-century Series Ducum Bavariæ calls him Garibaldus rex, see FMG.
  2. ^ King, Greg (1996), The Mad King: The Life and Times of Ludwig II of Bavaria., ISBN 978-1-55972-362-6

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