1777-1799 1815-1848

Bavaria, 1799-1815

Duke Charles Theodor died in 1799, without children. He was inherited by Max IV. Joseph, since 1795 Duke of Pfalz-Zweibrücken, a hollow title as that country was occupied by the French. In earlier years he had served in the French army. As Duke of Bavaria, he pursued a policy of leaning both toward France and Prussia, to counterbalance Austria's influence; Austria (which as late as 1798 had occupied Bavarian territory) recognized his succession and made no attempt to annex Bavarian territory. In 1799 Bavaria joined the Second Coalition (Second War of the Coalition); in 1800 it signed a treaty with England which resulted in subsidies for Bavaria. In 1799-1800 Bavaria partially was occupied by the French, partially by the Austrians; in fall 1800, Bavaria opened negotiations with France and withdrew her troops from the Imperial army. The Treaty of Luneville 1801 left Bavaria's borders unchanged. In 1800 the French razed the fortress of Ingolstadt.
The Wittelsbach Dynasty had lost significant territory to France, on the left bank of the Rhine (Jülich, most of Kurpfalz, Pfalz-Zweibrücken); France had promised compensation. This compensation came with the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss of 1803 : the princebishoprics and the statelets belonging to abbeys were secularized. Bavaria gained the Princebishoprics of Augsburg, Bamberg, Eichstätt, Freising and Würzburg; the Stifts of Ebrach, Elchingen, Kaisheim, Kempten, Ottobeuren, Roggenburg, St. Ulrich and Afra, Ursberg, Waldsassen, Wengen near Ulm and Wettenhausen; the hitherto immediate cities of Dinkelsbühl, Kempten, Kaufbeuren, Leutkirch, Memmingen, Nördlingen, Ravensburg, Rothenburg, Schweinfurt, Ulm, Wangen, Weissenburg and Windsheim. In fact, this event terminated the Holy Roman Empire, although it formally ended in 1806 with Emperor Francis I. assuming the title Emperor of Austria.
Bavaria pursued a policy of neutrality. Napoleon pushed for an alliance, as he prepared for war with Austria (Third War of the Coalition); on August 25th 1805 Bavaria signed the alliance. Napoleon quickly defeated Austria; in the Treaty of Pressburg 1805, Austria ceded Tyrol with the former Princebishoprics of Brixen and Trent, further Vorarlberg and smaller territories west of the Iller; on the other hand, Bavaria ceded the former Princebishopric of Würzburg to the former Grand Duke of Tuscany. Bavaria further acquired the Margraviates of Ansbach, Burgau and parts of the former Princebishopric of Passau; the Wittelsbach Dynasty in return formally ceded Jülich and Berg.
In 1806 Bavaria joined the Confederation of the Rhine (Bavaria the largest member, both by size and population). In 1809 Austria prepared for a new war against Napoleon and called upon Bavaria to join; the Bavarian government refused to do so, only Tyrolean peasants lead by Andreas Hofer did. Napoleon quickly defeated the Austrians; the Tyrolean Rebellion lasted on until 1810. As it took Italian troops to defeat the rebels, the southern stretches of Tyrol, south of the Brenner Pass, were ceded to the Kingdom of Italy. On the other hand, Bavaria gained Salzburg, Berchtesgaden, the Inn- and Hausruckviertel, Bayreuth and Regensburg (Treaty of Paris, February 28th 1810).
As Napoleon demanded, Bavaria recruited soldiers for the Invasion of Russia 1812; but the bulk of the forces was ordered back to Bavaria before the invasion was launched. In 1813 Bavaria sought an understanding with Austria, and in October 1813 switched from a French to an Austrian alliance, after Austria had guaranteed Bavarian sovereignty. Bavaria ceded Vorarlberg, Tyrol, Salzburg, the Inn- and Hausruckviertel back to Austria; she regained Würzburg, Aschaffenburg, and later the Rheinpfalz.

Upon his ascent to the throne, Max IV. Joseph apponted Montgelas his main advisor, later minister of foreign affairs, of the interior and of finances. On January 1st 1806, Duke Max IV. Joseph assumed the title King Max I. of Bavaria.
Montgelas is one of the most influential persons in Bavarian history. In an era of frequently changing borders, he formed Bavaria into a unified state. He implemented many political reforms (reform from above) modernising administration, legislation. Montgelas abolished the privileges of the nobility, the clergy and the communities; he confiscated church property, he centralized and standardized state administration. In 1808 Bavaria adopted a constitution, strongly influenced by French legislation. An attempt to free at least the peasants living on state domains (70 %) failed. While works on a Bavarian civil and trade law remained uncompleted, a Bavarian Penal Code was introduced in 1813. An administrative reform created circles as administrative districts (1808). Montgelas stayed in office until 1817.
The Bavaria from 1799 was very different from the Bavaria of 1815; the latter was considerably larger in size, home to a significant protestant minority, included a number of important cities (Augsburg, Nürnberg, Regensburg, Würzburg). In 1808, Bavaria had a population of 3.2 million.
In 1801 an edict of religious tolerance was published. In 1803, protestant areas were annexed; the 1805 Edict of Religion formally terminated the status of the Catholic Church as state church in Bavaria. In 1813 the Bavarian Jews were granted the right to freely exercise their religion, as well as civic rights.
In 1802 an edict repeated the introduction of mandatory elementary education; from now on the administration enforced the edict. A teachers' seminar was established at München, soon to be followed by others in Amberg, Nürnberg, Augsburg. Between 1803 and 1809, the universities in Bamberg, Dillingen and Altdorf were closed. The university of Ingolstadt was transferred to Landshut (1800).

Bavarian History, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1914 edition
Article Maximilian Joseph von Montgelas, from BBKL, in German; from EB 1911, from Geheime Gesellschaften, illustrated, in German
Das K&ounl;nigreich Bayern (1806-1918) (The Kingdom of Bavaria), from Politische Geschichte Bayerns (Political History of Bavaria) posted by HDBG, in German, illustrated
DOCUMENTS Reichsdeputationshauptschluss, 1803, from Documentarchiv, in German
Friedenstraktat zwischen Sr. Majestät dem Kaiser der Franzosen, König von Italien und Sr. Majestät dem Kaiser von Österreich (16.12.1805), from Documentarchiv (Treaty of Pressburg, 1805), in German
Gränzvertrag zwischen dem Königreich Baiern und dem Königreich Würtemberg; 1810, from Documentarchiv, in German
Treaty of Luneville 1801, from Napoleon Series
Treaty of Pressburg 1805, from Napoleon Series
Documents on the Confederation of the Rhine, 1806, from Napoleon Series, 4 Docs
Treaty of Vienna 1809, from Napoleon Series
Medal - Visit of the Bavarian Royal couple in the French mint, 1810, from Napoleonic Medals
Bavarian coins 1802-1814, from Napoleonic Medals, click countries A-D, Bavaria
REFERENCE Territorien-Ploetz : Geschichte der Deutschen Länder (History of the German Territories), Vol.1, Würzburg 1964, in German
Andreas Kraus, Geschichte Bayerns von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart (History of Bavaria, from the origins to the present day), München : Beck (1983) 2nd edition 1988, in German

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First posted on November 8th 2003, last revised on November 11th 2004

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