Bavarian Circle

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The Bavarian Circle as at the beginning of the 16th century

The Bavarian Circle (German: Bayerischer Reichskreis) was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire.

The most significant state by far in the circle was the Duchy of Bavaria (raised to an Electorate by Emperor Ferdinand II in 1623) with the Upper Palatinate territories. Other Imperial Estates like the Prince-Archbishopric of Salzburg, the Prince-Bishoprics of Freising, Passau and Regensburg as well as the Imperial city of Regensburg, seat of the Imperial Diet from 1663, had a secondary importance.


The circle was made up of the following states:

Name Type of entity Comments
Bavaria Arms.svg Bavaria Duchy Established in 907, held by the House of Wittelsbach from 1180, Bavaria-Munich and Bavaria-Landshut reunited in 1506, annexed the Upper Palatinate from the Electoral Palatinate in 1628 along with the electoral dignity, inherited the whole Electorate of the Palatinate in 1777.
Berchtesgaden Prince-Provostry Established in 1111, Reichsfreiheit granted by Frederick I Barbarossa in 1156.
Wappen von Breitenbrunn.png Breitenegg Lordship Granted to Johann Tserclaes de Tilly by Elector Maximilian I of Bavaria in 1624, Imperial county from 1654, sold to Bavaria in 1792.
Ehrenfels Lordship Territory around Beratzhausen, Reichsfreiheit granted by Frederick III of Habsburg in 1465, acquired by Palatinate-Neuburg in 1567.
Hochstift Freising coat of arms.png Freising Prince-Bishopric Established by Saint Corbinian in 724, Prince-Bishopric from 1294
Wappen Haag OB.png Haag County Reichsfreiheit granted by Frederick II of Hohenstaufen in 1245, Imperial county from 1509, held by the Dukes of Bavaria from 1567.
Hohenwaldeck Lordship Former Freising territory, Reichsfreiheit granted by Frederick III of Habsburg in 1476, county from 1637, to Bavaria in 1734
Leuchtenberg Landgraviate Established about 1146, principality from 1433, inherited by the House of Wittelsbach in 1646, to Bavaria in 1712.
Niedermünster in Regensburg Prince-Abbacy Established about 788, Reichsfreiheit granted by Henry II in 1002.
Obermünster in Regensburg Prince-Abbacy Established before 876, Reichsfreiheit granted by Louis IV of Wittelsbach in 1315.
Grafschaft Ortenburg coat of arms.png Ortenburg County Established about 1120, Reichsfreiheit confirmed in 1479 by Frederick III of Habsburg.
Palatinate-Neuburg Duchy Wittelsbach territory established in 1505 after the Landshut War of Succession, inherited the Palatinate in 1685, line extinct in 1742, inherited by Palatinate-Sulzbach.
Palatinate-Sulzbach Duchy Subdivision of Palatinate-Neuburg from 1656, heir of Palatinate-Neuburg and Electoral Palatinate in 1742, both united with Bavaria in 1777.
Wappen von Passau.png Passau Bishopric Established in 739 by Saint Boniface, Reichsfreiheit granted by Otto III in 999.
Hochstift Regensburg coat of arms.png Regensburg Bishopric Established in 739 by Saint Boniface, Imperial immediacy from the 13th century
Wappen Regensburg.svg Regensburg Imperial City Since 1245.
Salzburg Wappen.svg Salzburg Prince-Archbishopric Bihopric established in 696 by Saint Rupert, archbishopric from 798, prince-archbishopric from 1213.
St Emmeram in Regensburg Prince-Abbacy Established in 739, held by the Bishops of Regensburg until 975, Reichsfreiheit granted by Adolph of Nassau in 1295.
Störnstein Lordship Fief of the Bohemian Crown, raised to county and granted to the House of Lobkowicz by Ferdinand I of Habsburg in 1562, gained Reichsfreiheit in 1641.
Sulzbürg-Pyrbaum Lordship Held by the House of Wolfstein, Reichsfreiheit confirmed in 1353, county from 1673, fell to Bavaria in 1740.