Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria

Last updated

Maximilian I Joseph
King Max I Joseph in Coronation Robe.jpg
Portrait by Joseph Stieler, 1822
King of Bavaria
Reign1 January 1806 – 13 October 1825
Successor Ludwig I
Elector of Bavaria
Reign16 February 1799 – 1 January 1806
Predecessor Charles I
Born27 May 1756
Schwetzingen, Palatine Zweibrücken
Died13 October 1825 (aged 69)
Munich, Bavaria
Issue Ludwig I
Augusta, Duchess of Leuchtenberg
Caroline, Empress of Austria
Prince Karl Theodor
Elisabeth Ludovika, Queen of Prussia
Amalia, Queen of Saxony
Archduchess Sophie of Austria
Maria Anna, Queen of Saxony
Ludovika, Duchess in Bavaria
Princess Maximiliana
Full name
German: Maximilian Maria Michael Johann Baptist Franz de Paula Joseph Kaspar Ignatius
English: Maximilian Maria Michael John Baptist Francis de Paula Joseph Casper Ignatius
House Palatinate-Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld
Father Frederick Michael, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken
Mother Countess Palatine Maria Franziska of Sulzbach
Religion Roman Catholicism

Maximilian I Joseph (German : Maximilian I. Joseph; 27 May 1756 – 13 October 1825) was Duke of Zweibrücken from 1795 to 1799, prince-elector of Bavaria (as Maximilian IV Joseph) from 1799 to 1806, then King of Bavaria (as Maximilian I Joseph) from 1806 to 1825. He was a member of the House of Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Zweibrücken, a branch of the House of Wittelsbach.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium and Liechtenstein. It is one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages that are most similar to the German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch, including Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Palatine Zweibrücken, or the County Palatine of Zweibrücken, is a former state of the Holy Roman Empire. Its capital was Zweibrücken. Its reigning house, a branch of the Wittelsbach dynasty, was also the Royal House of Sweden from 1654 to 1720.

Prince-elector members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire

The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire, or Electors for short, were the members of the electoral college that elected the Holy Roman Emperor.



Early life

Maximilian, the son of the Count Palatine Frederick Michael of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld and Maria Francisca of Sulzbach, was born on 27 May 1756 at Schwetzingen, between Heidelberg and Mannheim.[ citation needed ]

Countess Palatine Maria Franziska of Sulzbach German countess

Countess Palatine Maria Francisca of Sulzbach, was a Countess Palatine of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld by marriage to Frederick Michael, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld.

Schwetzingen Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Schwetzingen is a German town situated in the northwest of Baden-Württemberg, around 10 km (6.2 mi) southwest of Heidelberg and 15 km (9.3 mi) southeast of Mannheim. Schwetzingen is one of the five biggest cities of the Rhein-Neckar-Kreis district and a medium-sized centre near the higher ranked city of Mannheim.

Heidelberg Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Heidelberg ( HY-dəl-burg, German: [ˈhaɪdl̩bɛʁk] is a university town in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, situated on the river Neckar in south-west Germany. In the 2016 census, its population was 159,914, of which roughly a quarter consisted of students.

After the death of his father in 1767, he was left at first without parental supervision, since his mother had been banished from her husband's court after giving birth to a son fathered by an actor. Maximilian was carefully educated under the supervision of his uncle, Duke Christian IV of Zweibrücken, [1] who settled him in the Hôtel des Deux-Ponts. He became Count of Rappoltstein in 1776[ citation needed ] and took service in 1777 as a colonel in the French army. He rose rapidly to the rank of major-general. [1] From 1782 to 1789, he was stationed at Strasbourg. [1] During his time at the University of Strasbourg, Klemens von Metternich, the future Austrian chancellor, was for some time accommodated by Prince Maximilian. [2] By the outbreak of the French Revolution, Maximilian exchanged the French for the Austrian service and took part in the opening campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars. [1]

Christian IV, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken German noble

Christian IV, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld was Duke of Zweibrücken from 1735 to 1775.

Zweibrücken Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Zweibrücken is a town in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on the Schwarzbach river.

Hôtel des Deux-Ponts

The Hôtel des Deux-Ponts, formerly known as the Hôtel Gayot and currently as the Hôtel du gouverneur militaire, is a historic building located on Place Broglie on the Grande Île in the city center of Strasbourg, in the French department of the Bas-Rhin. It has been classified as a Monument historique since 1921.

Duke of Zweibrücken and Elector of Bavaria and the Palatinate

Maximilian Joseph Portrait of King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria.jpg
Maximilian Joseph

On 1 April 1795, Maximilian succeeded his brother Charles II as Duke of Zweibrücken, however his duchy was entirely occupied by revolutionary France at the time. [1]

Charles II August, Duke of Zweibrücken Duke of Zweibrücken, Count Palatine of Birkenfeld-Bischweiler

Charles II August Christian was Duke of Zweibrücken from 1775 to 1795. A member of the Palatine House of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld, a branch of the House of Wittelsbach, he was the elder brother of the first King of Bavaria, Maximilian I, and of Queen Amalia of Saxony.

On 16 February 1799, he became Elector of Bavaria [1] and Count Palatine of the Rhine, Arch-Steward of the Empire, and Duke of Berg upon the extinction of the Palatinate-Sulzbach line at the death of Elector Charles Theodore of Bavaria. [1] The new elector Maximilian IV Joseph found the Bavarian army in abject condition on his accession to the throne: Hardly any of the units were at full strength, the Rumford uniforms were unpopular and impractical, and the troops were badly-trained. The young Prince-Elector, who had served under the Ancien Régime in France as a colonel in the Royal Deux-Ponts regiment, made the reconstruction of the army a priority.

Palatinate-Sulzbach was the name of two separate states of the Holy Roman Empire located in modern Amberg-Sulzbach, Bavaria, Germany, ruled by a branch of the House of Wittelsbach.

Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria German nobleman and elector

Charles Theodore reigned as Prince-elector and Count Palatine from 1742, as Duke of Jülich and Berg from 1742 and also as prince-elector and Duke of Bavaria from 1777 to his death. He was a member of the House of Palatinate-Sulzbach, a branch of the House of Wittelsbach.

Ancien Régime Monarchic, aristocratic, social and political system established in the Kingdom of France from approximately the 15th century until the later 18th century

The Ancien Régime was the political and social system of the Kingdom of France from the Late Middle Ages until 1789, when hereditary monarchy and the feudal system of French nobility were abolished by the French Revolution. The Ancien Régime was ruled by the late Valois and Bourbon dynasties. The term is occasionally used to refer to the similar feudal systems of the time elsewhere in Europe. The administrative and social structures of the Ancien Régime were the result of years of state-building, legislative acts, internal conflicts, and civil wars, but they remained and the Valois Dynasty's attempts at re-establishing control over the scattered political centres of the country were hindered by the Huguenot Wars. Much of the reigns of Henry IV and Louis XIII and the early years of Louis XIV were focused on administrative centralization. Despite, however, the notion of "absolute monarchy" and the efforts by the kings to create a centralized state, the Kingdom of France retained its irregularities: authority regularly overlapped and nobles struggled to retain autonomy.

Maximilian's sympathy with France and the ideas of enlightenment at once manifested itself when he acceded to the throne of Bavaria. In the newly organized ministry, Count Max Josef von Montgelas, who, after falling into disfavour with Charles Theodore, had acted for a time as Maximilian Joseph's private secretary, was the most potent influence, wholly "enlightened" and French. [1] Agriculture and commerce were fostered, the laws were ameliorated, a new criminal code drawn up, taxes and imposts equalized without regard to traditional privileges, while a number of religious houses were suppressed and their revenues used for educational and other useful purposes. [1] He closed the University of Ingolstadt in May 1800 and moved it to Landshut.[ citation needed ]

Maximilian von Montgelas German politician

Maximilian Karl Joseph Franz de Paula Hieronymus de Garnerin de la Thuille, Count von Montgelas was a Bavarian statesman, a member of a noble family from the Duchy of Savoy. His father John Sigmund Garnerin, Baron Montgelas, entered the military service of Maximilian III, Elector of Bavaria, and married the Countess Ursula von Trauner. Maximilian Josef, their eldest son, was born in the Bavarian capital Munich on September 10, 1759.

University of Ingolstadt former university in Ingolstadt, Bavaria (1472–1800)

The University of Ingolstadt was founded in 1472 by Louis the Rich, the Duke of Bavaria at the time, and its first Chancellor was the Bishop of Eichstätt. It consisted of five faculties: humanities, sciences, theology, law, and medicine, all of which were contained in the Hoheschule. The university was modeled after the University of Vienna. Its chief goal was the propagation of the Christian faith. The university closed in May 1800, by order of the Prince-elector Maximilian IV.

Landshut Place in Bavaria, Germany

Landshut is a town in Bavaria in the south-east of Germany. Situated on the banks of the River Isar, Landshut is the capital of Lower Bavaria, one of the seven administrative regions of the Free State of Bavaria. It is also the seat of the surrounding district, and has a population of more than 70,000. Landshut is the largest city in Lower Bavaria, followed by Passau and Straubing, and Eastern Bavaria's second biggest city.

In foreign affairs, Maximilian Joseph's attitude was, from the German point of view, less commendable. He never had any sympathy with the growing sentiment of German nationality, and his attitude was dictated by wholly dynastic, or at least Bavarian, considerations. Until 1813, he was the most faithful of Napoleon's German allies, the relationship cemented by the marriage of his eldest daughter to Eugène de Beauharnais. His reward came with the Treaty of Pressburg (26 December 1805), by the terms of which he was to receive the royal title and important territorial acquisitions in Swabia and Franconia to round off his kingdom. He assumed the title of king on 1 January 1806. [1] On 15 March, he ceded the Duchy of Berg to Napoleon's brother-in-law Joachim Murat.[ citation needed ]

King of Bavaria

Max I Joseph, Bust by Ernst von Bandel (1826) Ernst von Bandel Koenig Max I. Joseph 1826-1.jpg
Max I Joseph, Bust by Ernst von Bandel (1826)

The new King of Bavaria was the most important of the princes belonging to the Confederation of the Rhine, and remained Napoleon's ally until the eve of the Battle of Leipzig, when by the Treaty of Ried (8 October 1813) he made the guarantee of the integrity of his kingdom the price of his joining the Allies. [1] On 14 October, Bavaria made a formal declaration of war against Napoleonic France. The treaty was passionately backed by Crown Prince Ludwig and by Marshal von Wrede.[ citation needed ]

By the first Treaty of Paris (3 June 1814), however, he ceded Tyrol to Austria in exchange for the former Grand Duchy of Würzburg. At the Congress of Vienna, which he attended in person, Maximilian had to make further concessions to Austria, ceding Salzburg and the regions of Innviertel and Hausruckviertel [ citation needed ] in return for the western part of the old Palatinate. The king fought hard to maintain the contiguity of the Bavarian territories as guaranteed at Ried but the most he could obtain was an assurance from Metternich in the matter of the Baden succession, in which he was also doomed to be disappointed. [3]

Presentation medal of the Bavarian Parliament (Bayerische Standeversammlung) 1819 to their King Maximilian I Joseph, on the first anniversary of the constitution of 1818, obverse. Medal Bavarian Constitution 1819, obv.jpg
Presentation medal of the Bavarian Parliament (Bayerische Ständeversammlung) 1819 to their King Maximilian I Joseph, on the first anniversary of the constitution of 1818, obverse.
Presentation medal of the Bavarian Parliament (Bayerische Standeversammlung) 1819 to their King Maximilian I Joseph, on the first anniversary of the constitution of 1818, reverse. Medal Bavarian Constitution 1819, rev.jpg
Presentation medal of the Bavarian Parliament (Bayerische Ständeversammlung) 1819 to their King Maximilian I Joseph, on the first anniversary of the constitution of 1818, reverse.

At Vienna and afterwards Maximilian sturdily opposed any reconstitution of Germany which should endanger the independence of Bavaria, and it was his insistence on the principle of full sovereignty being left to the German reigning princes that largely contributed to the loose and weak organization of the new German Confederation. The Federative Constitution of Germany (8 June 1815) of the Congress of Vienna was proclaimed in Bavaria, not as a law but as an international treaty. It was partly to secure popular support in his resistance to any interference of the federal diet in the internal affairs of Bavaria, partly to give unity to his somewhat heterogeneous territories, that Maximilian on 26 May 1818 granted a liberal constitution to his people. Montgelas, who had opposed this concession, had fallen in the previous year, and Maximilian had also reversed his ecclesiastical policy, signing on 24 October 1817 a concordat with Rome by which the powers of the clergy, largely curtailed under Montgelas's administration, were restored. [1]

The new parliament proved to be more independent than he had anticipated and in 1819 Maximilian resorted to appealing to the powers against his own creation; but his Bavarian "particularism" and his genuine popular sympathies prevented him from allowing the Carlsbad Decrees to be strictly enforced within his dominions. The suspects arrested by order of the Mainz Commission he was accustomed to examine himself, with the result that in many cases the whole proceedings were quashed, and in not a few the accused dismissed with a present of money. [1]

Maximilian died at Nymphenburg Palace, in Munich,[ citation needed ] on 13 October 1825 and was succeeded by his son Ludwig I. [1] Maximilian is buried in the crypt of the Theatinerkirche in Munich.[ citation needed ]

Cultural legacy

Monument of Max I Joseph in front of the National Theatre, Munich 2374 - Munchen - Max-Joseph-Platz.JPG
Monument of Max I Joseph in front of the National Theatre, Munich

Under the reign of Maximilian Joseph the Bavarian Secularization (1802–1803) led to the nationalisation of cultural assets of the Church. The Protestants were emancipated. In 1808 he founded the Academy of Fine Arts Munich.[ citation needed ]

The city of Munich was extended by the first systematic expansion with the new Brienner Strasse as core. In 1810 Max Joseph ordered construction of the National Theatre Munich in French neo-classic style. The monument Max-Joseph Denkmal before the National Theatre was created in the middle of the square Max-Joseph-Platz as a memorial for King Maximilian Joseph by Christian Daniel Rauch and carried out by Johann Baptist Stiglmaier. It was only revealed in 1835 since the king had rejected to be eternalized in sitting position.[ citation needed ]

In 1801 he led the rescue operation when a glassmaker's workshop collapsed, saving the life of Joseph von Fraunhofer, a 14-year-old orphan apprentice. Max Joseph donated books and directed the glassmaker to give Fraunhofer time to study. Fraunhofer went on to become one of the most famous optical scientists and artisans in history, inventing the spectroscope and spectroscopy, making Bavaria noted for fine optics, and joining the nobility before his death at age 39.[ citation needed ]

He was elected a Royal Fellow of the Royal Society in 1802. [4]

Private life and family

As a monarch, Max Joseph was very close to the citizens, walked freely along the streets of Munich without great accompaniment, and conversed with his people in a casual manner. Regardless, he was somewhat eccentric, like some of his descendants and successors.

Maximilian married twice [1] and had children by both marriages:

The king's youngest daughters (Marie Anne, Sophie and Ludovika) by Stieler Ludovica marie sophie.jpg
The king's youngest daughters (Marie Anne, Sophie and Ludovika) by Stieler

His first wife was Princess Augusta Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt, [1] daughter of Prince George William of Hesse-Darmstadt (14 April 1765 – 30 March 1796). They were married on 30 September 1785 in Darmstadt. They had five children:

Maximilian's second wife was Karoline of Baden, [1] daughter of Margrave Karl Ludwig of Baden (13 July 1776 – 13 November 1841). They were married on 9 March 1797 in Karlsruhe.[ citation needed ] They had eight children.[ citation needed ] King Maximilian was also the father of two sets of twin girls, Elisabeth and Amalie born in 1801, as well as Sophie and Marie Anne born in 1805.



See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Chisholm 1911, p. 291.
  2. Palmer 1972 , pp. 10
  3. Chisholm 1911 , p. 291 cites Baden History, iii, 506.
  4. Royal Society 1802.
  5. Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 94.

Related Research Articles

House of Wittelsbach German noble family

The House of Wittelsbach is a European royal family and a German dynasty from Bavaria.

The history of Bavaria stretches from its earliest settlement and its formation as a stem duchy in the 6th century through its inclusion in the Holy Roman Empire to its status as an independent kingdom and finally as a large Bundesland (state) of the Federal Republic of Germany. Originally settled by Celtic peoples such as the Boii, by the 1st century BC it was eventually conquered and incorporated into the Roman Empire as the provinces of Raetia and Noricum.

Ludwig I of Bavaria King of Bavaria

Ludwig I or Louis I was king of Bavaria from 1825 until the 1848 revolutions in the German states.

Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria Wittelsbach ruler of Bavaria and a prince-elector (Kurfürst) of the Holy Roman Empire

Maximilian I, occasionally called "the Great", a member of the House of Wittelsbach, ruled as Duke of Bavaria from 1597. His reign was marked by the Thirty Years' War during which he obtained the title of a Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire at the 1623 Diet of Regensburg.

John of Saxony King of Saxony

John was a King of Saxony and a member of the House of Wettin.

Charles Louis, Hereditary Prince of Baden Heir apparent in the Margraviate of Baden

Charles Louis, Hereditary Prince of Baden was heir apparent of the Margraviate of Baden.

Duke in Bavaria was a title used among others since 1506, when primogeniture was established, by all members of the House of Wittelsbach, with the exception of the Duke of Bavaria which began to be a unique position. So reads for instance the full title of Karl I, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld and patriarch of the House of Palatinate-Birkenfeld: "Count Palatine by Rhine, Duke in Bavaria, Count to Veldenz and Sponheim". The title grew in importance as Wilhelm, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld-Gelnhausen began to use it as his primary title. This choice has also had effect for his descendants.

Kingdom of Bavaria kingdom in Central Europe between 1806–1918, from January 1871 part of the German Empire

The Kingdom of Bavaria was a German state that succeeded the former Electorate of Bavaria in 1805 and continued to exist until 1918. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph of the House of Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1805 as Maximilian I Joseph. The crown would go on being held by the Wittelsbachs until the kingdom came to an end in 1918. Most of Bavaria's present-day borders were established after 1814 with the Treaty of Paris, in which Bavaria ceded Tyrol and Vorarlberg to the Austrian Empire while receiving Aschaffenburg and Würzburg. With the unification of Germany into the German Empire in 1871, the kingdom became a federal state of the new Empire and was second in size, power, and wealth only to the leading state, the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1918, Bavaria became a republic, and the kingdom was thus succeeded by the current Free State of Bavaria.

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.

Duke Maximilian Joseph in Bavaria Bavarian politician

Duke Maximilian Joseph in Bavaria, known informally as Max in Bayern, was a member of a junior branch of the House of Wittelsbach and a promoter of Bavarian folk-music. He is most famous today as the father of Empress Elisabeth of Austria ("Sisi") and great-grandfather of King Leopold III of Belgium.

Maria Anna Sophia of Saxony Polish princess

Maria Anna Sophia of Saxony was a daughter of King Augustus III of Poland and his wife Maria Josepha of Austria who became Electress of Bavaria.

Caroline of Baden Queen consort of Bavaria

Caroline of Baden was by marriage an Electress of Bavaria and later the first Queen consort of Bavaria by marriage to Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria.

Princess Augusta of Bavaria German princess

Princess Augusta of Bavaria, Duchess of Leuchtenberg was the second child and eldest daughter of Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria and Princess Augusta Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt. By marriage, she was a French Princess.

Archduchess Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Este Archduchess of Austria

Archduchess Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Este, was an Electress of Bavaria as the second spouse of Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria.

Princess Augusta Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt German princess

Princess Augusta Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt was Duchess consort of Zweibrücken by marriage to Maximilian, Duke of Zweibrücken, and the mother of King Ludwig I of Bavaria.

Duke Maximilian Emanuel in Bavaria German duke

Duke Maximilian Emanuel in Bavaria, full German name: Maximilian Emanuel, Herzog in Bayern was a Duke in Bavaria and member of the House of Wittelsbach. Maximilian Emanuel was the tenth and youngest child of Duke Maximilian Joseph in Bavaria and his wife Princess Ludovika of Bavaria. Maximilian Emanuel was the brother of Elisabeth of Bavaria, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary.

Duke Wilhelm in Bavaria Great-grandfather of Empress Elisabeth of Austria

Duke Wilhelm in Bavaria, full German name: Wilhelm, Herzog in Bayern was Count Palatine of Birkenfeld-Gelnhausen between 1789 and 1799 and first Duke in Bavaria from 16 February 1799 until his death in 1837. From 17 December 1803 to 20 March 1806, Wilhelm was titled Duke of Berg. Wilhelm was a great-grandfather of Empress Elisabeth of Austria through his son Duke Pius August in Bavaria.



Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria
Cadet branch of the House of Wittelsbach
Born: 27 May 1756 Died: 13 October 1825
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Charles II August
Duke of Zweibrücken
Preceded by
Charles Theodore
Elector of Bavaria
Elector Palatine

Duke of Berg
Succeeded by
Joachim Murat
New creation King of Bavaria
Succeeded by
Ludwig I
Preceded by
Duke of Salzburg
Succeeded by