Bavarian Circle

Last updated
Bavarian Circle
Bayerischer Reichskreis
Locator Bavarian Circle.svg
The Bavarian Circle as at the beginning of the 16th century within the Holy Roman Empire
Capital Regensburg
Historical eraEarly modern period
Today part of Flag of Slovenia.svg Slovenia

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:

NameType of entityEstablishedComments
Duchy of Bavaria small.svg Bavaria Duchy 907Established 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 as a whole by the Electorate of the Palatinate in 1777.
Wappen Furstpropstei Berchtesgaden.svg Berchtesgaden Prince-Provostry 1111Established in 1111, Reichsfreiheit granted by Frederick I Barbarossa in 1156.
Wappen von Breitenbrunn.png Breitenegg Lordship 1624Granted to Johann Tserclaes de Tilly by Elector Maximilian I of Bavaria in 1624, Imperial county from 1654, sold to Bavaria in 1792.
Wappen von Beratzhausen.svg Ehrenfels Lordship1465Territory 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 724Established by Saint Corbinian in 724, Prince-Bishopric from 1294
Wappen Haag OB.png Haag County 1245Reichsfreiheit granted by Frederick II of Hohenstaufen in 1245, Imperial county from 1509, held by the Dukes of Bavaria from 1567.
DEU Miesbach COA.svg Hohenwaldeck Lordship1476Former Freising territory, Reichsfreiheit granted by Frederick III of Habsburg in 1476, county from 1637, to Bavaria in 1734
DEU Leuchtenberg COA.svg Leuchtenberg Landgraviate 1146Established about 1146, principality from 1433, inherited by the House of Wittelsbach in 1646, to Bavaria in 1712.
DEU Stift Niedermuenster COA.svg Niedermünster in Regensburg Prince-Abbacy 788Established about 788, Reichsfreiheit granted by Henry II in 1002.
Reichsstift Obermuenster coat of arms.svg Obermünster in Regensburg Prince-Abbacy876Established before 876, Reichsfreiheit granted by Louis IV of Wittelsbach in 1315.
Grafschaft Ortenburg coat of arms.svg Ortenburg County 1120Established about 1120, Reichsfreiheit confirmed in 1479 by Frederick III of Habsburg.
Coat of Arms of Philip William, Johann Wilhelm and Charles III Philip, Electors Palatine (Order of the Golden Fleece).svg Palatinate-Neuburg Duchy1505Wittelsbach territory established in 1505 after the Landshut War of Succession, inherited the Palatinate in 1685, line extinct in 1742, inherited by Palatinate-Sulzbach.
Arms of Pfalz-Neuburg (1609-1685).svg Palatinate-Sulzbach Duchy1656Subdivision of Palatinate-Neuburg from 1656, heir of Palatinate-Neuburg and Electoral Palatinate in 1742, both united with Bavaria in 1777.
Wappen Bistum Passau.svg Passau Prince-Bishopric739Established in 739 by Saint Boniface, Reichsfreiheit granted by Otto III in 999.
Wappen Bistum Regensburg.png Regensburg Prince-Bishopric739Established in 739 by Saint Boniface, Imperial immediacy from the 13th century
Wappen Regensburg.svg Regensburg Imperial City 1245Since 1245.
Wappen Erzbistum Salzburg.png Salzburg Prince-Archbishopric696Bishopric established in 696 by Saint Rupert, archbishopric from 798, prince-archbishopric from 1213.

Secularised (as the Electorate of Salzburg) and transferred to the Austrian Circle in 1803

DEU Reichsabtei Sankt Emmeram COA.svg St Emmeram in Regensburg Prince-Abbacy739Established in 739, held by the Bishops of Regensburg until 975, Reichsfreiheit granted by Adolph of Nassau in 1295.
Wappen Stornstein.png Störnstein Lordship1562Fief 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.
DEU Muhlhausen (Oberpfalz) COA.svg Sulzbürg-Pyrbaum Lordship1353Held by the House of Wolfstein, Reichsfreiheit confirmed in 1353, county from 1673, fell to Bavaria in 1740.

Related Research Articles

Holy Roman Empire multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe (800–1806)

The Holy Roman Empire, later referred to as the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also included the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia and Kingdom of Italy, plus numerous other territories, and soon after the Kingdom of Burgundy was added. However, while by the 15th century the Empire was still in theory composed of three major blocks – Italy, Germany, and Burgundy – in practice only the Kingdom of Germany remained, with the Burgundian territories lost to France and the Italian territories, ignored in the Imperial Reform, mostly either ruled directly by the Habsburg emperors or subject to competing foreign influence. The external borders of the Empire did not change noticeably from the Peace of Westphalia – which acknowledged the exclusion of Switzerland and the Northern Netherlands, and the French protectorate over Alsace – to the dissolution of the Empire. By then, it largely contained only German-speaking territories, plus the Kingdom of Bohemia. At the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, most of the Holy Roman Empire was included in the German Confederation.


The prince-electors, or electors for short, were the members of the electoral college that elected the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

Regensburg Place in Bavaria, Germany

Regensburg is a city in south-east Germany, at the confluence of the Danube, Naab and Regen rivers. With more than 150,000 inhabitants, Regensburg is the fourth-largest city in the State of Bavaria after Munich, Nuremberg and Augsburg. The city is the political, economic and cultural centre and capital of the Upper Palatinate. During portions of the Holy Roman Empire rule it housed the Perpetual Diet of Regensburg.

Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor 17th century Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor

Ferdinand III was from 1621 Archduke of Austria, King of Hungary from 1625, King of Croatia and Bohemia from 1627 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1637 until his death in 1657.

Free imperial city Self-ruling city that enjoyed Imperial immediacy

In the Holy Roman Empire, the collective term free and imperial cities, briefly worded free imperial city, was used from the fifteenth century to denote a self-ruling city that had a certain amount of autonomy and was represented in the Imperial Diet. An imperial city held the status of Imperial immediacy, and as such, was subordinate only to the Holy Roman Emperor, as opposed to a territorial city or town which was subordinate to a territorial prince – be it an ecclesiastical lord or a secular prince.

Imperial Estate

An Imperial State or Imperial Estate was a part of the Holy Roman Empire with representation and the right to vote in the Imperial Diet. Rulers of these Estates were able to exercise significant rights and privileges and were "immediate", meaning that the only authority above them was the Holy Roman Emperor. They were thus able to rule their territories with a considerable degree of autonomy.

Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg

Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg was Prince-Archbishop of Regensburg, Arch-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire, Bishop of Constance and Worms, prince-primate of the Confederation of the Rhine and Grand Duke of Frankfurt.

Principality of Regensburg

The Principality of Regensburg was a principality of the Holy Roman Empire created in 1803; following the dissolution of the Empire in 1806, it was part of the Confederation of the Rhine until 1810. Its capital was Regensburg.

German mediatisation 19th-century event

German mediatisation was the major territorial restructuring that took place between 1802 and 1814 in Germany and the surrounding region by means of the mass mediatisation and secularisation of a large number of Imperial Estates. Most ecclesiastical principalities, free imperial cities, secular principalities, and other minor self-ruling entities of the Holy Roman Empire lost their independent status and were absorbed into the remaining states. By the end of the mediatisation process, the number of German states had been reduced from almost 300 to just 39.

<i lang="de" title="German language text">Reichsdeputationshauptschluss</i>

The Reichsdeputationshauptschluss, sometimes referred to in English as the Final Recess or the Imperial Recess of 1803, was a resolution passed by the Reichstag of the Holy Roman Empire on 24 March 1803. It was ratified by the Emperor Francis II and became law on 27 April. It proved to be the last significant law enacted by the Empire before its dissolution in 1806.

Lower Saxon Circle

The Lower Saxon Circle was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire. It covered much of the territory of the medieval Duchy of Saxony, and was originally called the Saxon Circle before later being better differentiated from the Upper Saxon Circle by the more specific name.

Saint Emmerams Abbey

St. Emmeram's Abbey, now known as Schloss Thurn und Taxis, Schloss St. Emmeram, and St. Emmeram's Basilica, was a Benedictine monastery founded in about 739 in Regensburg in Bavaria at the grave of the itinerant Frankish bishop Saint Emmeram.

The Prince-Bishopric of Regensburg was a small ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire located near the Free Imperial City of Regensburg in Bavaria. It was elevated to the Archbishopric of Regensburg in 1803 after the dissolution of the Archbishopric of Mainz. The Prince-Bishopric of Regensburg must not be confused with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Regensburg, which was considerably larger.

Electorate of Bavaria

The Electorate of Bavaria was an independent hereditary electorate of the Holy Roman Empire from 1623 to 1806, when it was succeeded by the Kingdom of Bavaria.

Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg An ecclesiastical State of the Holy Roman Empire

The Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg was an ecclesiastical State of the Holy Roman Empire. It goes back to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bamberg established at the 1007 synod in Frankfurt, at the behest of King Henry II to further expand the spread of Christianity in the Franconian lands. The bishops obtained the status of Imperial immediacy about 1245 and ruled their estates as Prince-bishops until they were subsumed to the Electorate of Bavaria in the course of the German Mediatisation in 1802.


Prince-provost is a rare title for a monastic superior with the ecclesiastical style of provost who is a Prince of the Church in the sense that he also ranks as a secular 'prince', notably a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire (Reichsfürst), holding a direct vote in the Imperial Diet assembly coequal to an actual Prince-abbot, as in each case treated below.

Diet of Regensburg may refer any of the sessions of the Imperial Diet, Imperial States, or the prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire which took place in the Imperial City of Regensburg (Ratisbon), now in Germany.

Alexander Ferdinand, 3rd Prince of Thurn and Taxis Prince of Thurn and Taxis

Alexander Ferdinand, 3rd Prince of Thurn and Taxis, full German name: Alexander Ferdinand Fürst von Thurn und Taxis was the third Prince of Thurn and Taxis, Postmaster General of the Imperial Reichspost, and Head of the Princely House of Thurn and Taxis from 8 November 1739 until his death on 17 March 1773. Alexander Ferdinand served as Principal Commissioner at the Perpetual Imperial Diet in Frankfurt am Main and Regensburg for Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor, Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor, and Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor from 1 February 1743 to 1745 and again from 1748 until 1773.

Imperial Diet (Holy Roman Empire) General assembly of the Holy Roman Empire

The Imperial Diet was the deliberative body of the Holy Roman Empire. It was not a legislative body in the contemporary sense; its members envisioned it more like a central forum where it was more important to negotiate than to decide.

The Diet of Regensburg was a meeting of the Prince-Electors of the Holy Roman Empire which occurred at Regensburg from July to November 1630. It resulted in a major loss of power for the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II.