Electorate of Bavaria

Electorate of Bavaria

Kurfürstentum Bayern
Bavaria highlighted on a map of the Holy Roman Empire in 1648
Bavaria highlighted on a map of the Holy Roman Empire in 1648
GovernmentFeudal monarchy
Elector of Bavaria 
• 1623–1651
Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria
• 1651–1679
Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria
• 1679–1726
Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria
• 1726–1745
Karl Albrecht, Elector of Bavaria
• 1745–1777
Maximilian III Joseph, Elector of Bavaria
• 1777–1799
Karl Theodor, Elector of Bavaria
• 1799–1805
Maximilian IV Joseph, Elector of Bavaria
Historical eraEarly modern Europe
• Granted electoral dignity
• Peace of Westphalia
• Put under Imperial Ban
• Imperial Ban reversed

• Raised to kingdom
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Banner of Bavaria-Landshut.svgDuchy of Bavaria
Kingdom of Bavaria

The Electorate of Bavaria (German: Kurfürstentum Bayern) was an independent hereditary electorate of the Holy Roman Empire from 1623 to 1806, when it was succeeded by the Kingdom of Bavaria.[1]

The Wittelsbach dynasty which ruled the Duchy of Bavaria was the younger branch of the family which also ruled the Electorate of the Palatinate. The head of the elder branch was one of the seven prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire according to the Golden Bull of 1356, but Bavaria was excluded from the electoral dignity. In 1621, the Elector Palatine Frederick V was put under the imperial ban for his role in the Bohemian Revolt against Emperor Ferdinand II, and the electoral dignity and territory of the Upper Palatinate was conferred upon his loyal cousin, Duke Maximilian I of Bavaria. Although the Peace of Westphalia would create a new electoral title for Frederick V's son, with the exception of a brief period during the War of the Spanish Succession, Maximilian's descendants would continue to hold the original electoral dignity until the extinction of his line in 1777. At that point the two lines were joined in personal union until the end of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1805, after the Peace of Pressburg, the then-elector, Maximilian Joseph, raised himself to the dignity of King of Bavaria, and the Holy Roman Empire was abolished the year after.


The Electorate of Bavaria consisted of most of the modern regions of Upper Bavaria, Lower Bavaria, and the Upper Palatinate. Before 1779, it also included the Innviertel, now part of modern Austria. This was ceded to the Habsburgs by the Treaty of Teschen, which ended the War of the Bavarian Succession. There were a considerable number of independent enclaves and jurisdictions within those broad areas, however, including the principalities of Palatinate-Neuburg and Palatinate-Sulzbach in the Upper Palatinate, which were held by cadet branches of the Palatinate line of the Wittelsbachs; the ecclesiastical states of Freising, Regensburg, and Passau, and the imperial free city of Regensburg. For administration purposes Bavaria was already from 1507 divided into four stewardships ( Rentamt [de]): Munich, Burghausen, Landshut and Straubing. With the acquisition of the Upper Palatinate during the Thirty Years' War the stewardship Amberg was added. In 1802 they were abolished by the minister Maximilian von Montgelas. In 1805 shortly before the elevation Tirol and Vorarlberg were united with Bavaria, same as several of these enclaves.

Other Languages