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BAVARIA

1308, died in 1312, leaving a son, Henry III. Lower Bavaria was governed by these three princes until 1333, when Henry III. died, followed in 1334 by his cousin Otto; and as both died without sons the whole of Lower Bavaria then passed to Henry II. Dying in 1339, Henry left an only son, John I., who died childless Re-union of the duchy. in the following year, when the emperor Louis IV., by securing Lower Bavaria for himself, united the whole of the duchy under his sway. The consolidation of Bavaria under Louis lasted for seven years, during which the emperor was able to improve the condition of the country. When he died in 1347 he left six sons to share his possessions, who agreed upon a division of Bavaria in 1349. Its history, however, was complicated by its connexion with Brandenburg, Holland and Tirol, all of which had also been left by the emperor to his sons. All the six brothers exercised some authority in Bavaria; but three alone left issue, and of these the eldest, Louis, margrave of Brandenburg, died in 1361; and two years later was followed to the grave by his only son Meinhard, who was childless. The two remaining brothers, Stephen II. and Albert I., ruled over Bavaria-Landshut and Bavaria-Straubing respectively, and when Stephen died in 1375 his portion of Bavaria was governed jointly by his three sons. In 1392, when all the lines except those of Stephen and Albert had died out, an important partition took place, by which the greater part of the duchy was divided among Stephen’s three sons, Stephen III., Frederick and John II., who founded respectively the lines of Ingolstadt, Landshut and Munich. Albert’s duchy of Bavaria-Straubing passed on his death in 1404 to his son William II., and in 1417 to his younger son John, who resigned the bishopric of Liége to take up his new position. When John died in 1425 this family became extinct, and after a contest between various claimants Bavaria-Straubing was divided between the three remaining branches of the family.

The main result of the threefold division of 1392 was a succession of civil wars which led to the temporary eclipse of Bavaria as a force in German politics. Neighbouring states encroached upon its borders, and the nobles ignored Internal condition 1392. the authority of the dukes, who, deprived of the electoral vote, were mainly occupied for fifty years with intestine strife. This condition of affairs, however, was not wholly harmful. The government of the country and the control of the finances passed mainly into the hands of an assembly called the Landtag or Landschaft, which had been organized in 1392. The towns, assuming a certain independence, became strong and wealthy as trade increased, and the citizens of Munich and Regensburg were often formidable antagonists to the dukes. Thus a period of disorder saw the growth of representative institutions and the establishment of a strong civic spirit. Stephen III., duke of Bavaria-Ingolstadt, was distinguished rather as a soldier than as a statesman; and his rule was marked by struggles with various towns, and with his Intestine troubles. brother, John of Bavaria-Munich. Dying in 1413 he was followed by his son, Louis, called the Bearded, a restless and quarrelsome prince, who before his accession had played an important part in the affairs of France, where his sister Isabella was the queen of King Charles VI. About 1417 he became involved in a violent quarrel with his cousin, Henry of Bavaria-Landshut, fell under both the papal and the imperial ban, and in 1439 was attacked by his son Louis the Lame. This prince, who had married a daughter of Frederick I. of Hohenzollern, margrave of Brandenburg, was incensed at the favour shown by his father to an illegitimate son. Aided by Albert Achilles, afterwards margrave of Brandenburg, he took the elder Louis prisoner and compelled him to abdicate in 1443. When Louis the Lame died in 1445 his father came into the power of his implacable enemy, Henry of Bavaria-Landshut, and died in prison in 1447. The duchy of Bavaria-Ingolstadt passed to Henry, who had succeeded his father Frederick as duke of Bavaria-Landshut in 1393, and whose long reign was almost entirely occupied with family feuds. He died in July 1450, and was followed by his son, Louis IX. (called the Rich), and about this time Bavaria began to recover some of its former importance. Louis IX. expelled the Jews from his duchy, did something for the security of traders, and improved both the administration of justice and the condition of the finances. In 1472 he founded the university of Ingolstadt, attempted to reform the monasteries, and was successful in a struggle with Albert Achilles of Brandenburg. On his death in January 1479 he was succeeded by his son George, also called the Rich; and when George, a faithful adherent of the German king Maximilian I., died without sons in December 1503, a war broke out for the possession of his duchy.

Bavaria-Munich passed on the death of John II. in 1397 to his sons Ernest and William III., but they only obtained possession of their lands after a struggle with Stephen of Bavaria-Ingolstadt. Both brothers were then engaged in warfare with the other branches of the family and with the citizens of Munich. William, a loyal servant of the emperor Sigismund, died in 1435, leaving an only son, Adolf, who died five years later; and Ernest, distinguished for his bodily strength, died in 1438. In 1440 the whole of Bavaria-Munich came to Ernest’s son Albert, who had been estranged from his father owing to his union with the unfortunate Agnes Bernauer (q.v.). Albert, whose attempts to reform the monasteries earned for him the surname of Pious, was almost elected king of Bohemia in 1440. He died in 1460, leaving five sons, the two elder of whom, John IV. and Sigismund, reigned in common until the death of John in 1463. The third brother, Albert, who had been educated for the church, joined his brother in 1465, and when Sigismund abdicated two years later became sole ruler in spite of the claims of his two younger brothers. Albert, who was called the Wise, added the district of Abensberg to his possessions, and in 1504 became involved in the war which War over the succession to Bavaria-Landshut. broke out for the possession of Bavaria-Landshut on the death of George the Rich. Albert’s rival was George’s son-in-law, Rupert, formerly bishop of Freising, and son of Philip, count palatine of the Rhine; and the emperor Maximilian I., interested as archduke of Austria and count of Tirol, interfered in the dispute. Rupert died in 1504, and the following year an arrangement was made at the diet of Cologne by which the emperor and Philip’s grandson, Otto Henry, obtained certain outlying districts, while Albert by securing the bulk of George’s possessions united Bavaria under his rule. In 1506 Albert decreed that the duchy should pass undivided Reigns of Albert the Wise and William IV. according to the rules of primogeniture, and endeavoured in other ways also to consolidate Bavaria. He was partially successful in improving the condition of the country; and in 1500 Bavaria formed one of the six circles into which Germany was divided for the maintenance of peace. He died in March 1508, and was succeeded by his son, William IV., whose mother, Kunigunde, was a daughter of the emperor Frederick III. In spite of the decree of 1506 William was compelled in 1516, after a violent quarrel, to grant a share in the government to his brother Louis, an arrangement which lasted until the death of Louis in 1545.

William followed the traditional Wittelsbach policy, opposition to the Habsburgs, until in 1534 he made a treaty at Linz with Ferdinand, king of Hungary and Bohemia. This was strengthened in 1546, when the emperor Charles V. obtained the help of the duke during the war of the league of Schmalkalden by promising him in certain eventualities the succession to the Bohemian throne, and the electoral dignity enjoyed by the count palatine of the Rhine. William also did much at a critical period to secure Roman Catholicism in Bavaria. Bavaria for Catholicism. The reformed doctrines had made considerable progress in the duchy when the duke from the pope extensive rights over the bishoprics and monasteries, and took measures to repress the reformers, many of whom were banished; while the Jesuits, whom he invited into the duchy in 1541, made the university of Ingolstadt their headquarters for Germany. William, whose death occurred in March 1550, was succeeded by his son Albert IV., who had married a daughter of Ferdinand of Habsburg, afterwards the emperor Ferdinand I. Early in his reign Albert made some concessions to the reformers, who were still strong in Bavaria; but about 1563 he changed his attitude, favoured the decrees of the council of Trent, and pressed forward the work of