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 Geschichte Bayerns > Review > Das The Duchy of Bavaria
The Duchy of Bavaria

The region occupied by Bavaria today was settled in around 600AD by three tribes: the Baiern, the Franconians and the Swabians. Today's Northern Bavaria was controlled by the Franconians, while the south was divided up between the Alamannians and the Bavarians, separated by the River Lech.

The former Duchy of Bavaria extended far to the east and south, as far as today's Carinthia, Lower Austria and Upper Italy, but the very centre of it was on the Danube. In the 10th and 12th centuries it became the duchies of Bavaria, Carinthia and Austria. The ducal seat was Regensburg.

Land division during the 14th and 15th centuries split up much of Bavaria. It was only the inheritance statute of 1506 that made it possible to transfer the undivided duchy to the first-born son of the male line. This principle of male primogeniture lasted until the 19th century.

The teachings of Martin Luther found many adherents in the towns of today's Bavaria. Augsburg, of instance, is famous for the "Augsburg Confession" - the Protestant confession submitted to the Reichstag in 1530 - as well as for the "Peace of Augsburg" of 1555 which transferred the decision about the confession of subjects to the nobility. The Bavarian rulers, especially Maximilian I (1598-1651), successfully made the state Catholic during the Counter-Reformation.