Bavaria, one of the southern kingdoms making up the German Empire, consists of two parts: Bavaria proper and the Palatinate of the Rhine. It extends to 29,282 English square miles. There are eight government districts; of these Upper Bavaria is largest, and Lower Bavaria next.
Boundaries and Physical Geography. Bavaria is bounded on the north by the Fichtelgeberge and the Frankenwald; on the south by the Tyrolese Alps; towards the east by the Bohmerwald; on the west by Wurtemberg, Baden, and Hesse Darmstadt. The Danube and the Main are the chief rivers. Although there are no great mountains, the general character of the country is hilly. The climate is warmer in summer and colder in winter than is the case in England. A fourth of the area is wood, and a third of that state property.
Population and Industries. The total population was 5,818,544 in 1895. This shows an annual increase of about 1/2 per cent. during the preceding five years. About one-third of the whole is urban and two-thirds rural; but the town districts are becoming slowly more populous at the expense of the country. The annual emigration from Bavaria is large. In 1896 it was 3,418. In 1883 it was as much as 17.986. Munich, the capital, is much the largest town; in 1895 it contained 407,174. Nuremberg, the next town, is less than half. There are 708 Roman Catholics and 281 Protestants in every 1,000 of the population. The chief industries are agriculture and mining. The mineral deposits are of great variety and excellence. It was not till 1868 that the mediaeval system of guilds was abolished by law. Nuremberg has for centuries been an industrial centre. Munich and Augsburg are also important. Beer is brewed everywhere, but especially at Erlangen and Munich. The average quantity is 278 millions of gallons. Twenty-seven millions are exported. Alcohol is also distilled in 6,562 distilleries, and small quantities of wine and tobacco are produced.
Government, Revenue, etc. The Magna Charta of Bavaria is a Constitutional Act passed on May 26th, 1818, since which further change in a popular direction has been made. The king has the sole executive power, which he exercises through ministers. There is an Upper and a Lower House. The first is composed of the princes of the blood royal, dignified ecclesiastics, Roman Catholic and Protestant, certain members of the nobility, and about fifteen life councillors nominated by the king. The Lower House consists of 150 deputies, chosen every six years by electors, who in turn are chosen by the people. Five hundred choose one elector. The estimates of revenue for the year 1896-7 are: Direct taxes, 31,562,000 marks; indirect, 82,056,050 marks; State railways, mines, etc, 162,165,198 marks; making with smaller items a total of 345,356,505 marks. The chief particulars of expenditure are: Public debt, 50,958,750 marks; collection of revenue, 151,807,663 marks; religion and education, 26,330,444 marks; share of imperial expenditure, 51,929,246 marks. (A mark is very nearly a shilling, English money.) Bavaria contributes 63,097 men to the imperial army. The most important bodies are: The infantry, 41,556; the cavalry, 7,469; and the artillery, 9,112. This is the peace establishment. In time of war the force is increased threefold. In dress and some other minor details the Bavarian contingent is different from the rest of the German army. Justice is administered by twenty-eight Landgerichte, or local tribunals. Also there are five Oberlandesgerichte, and over these again is the Oberstes Landgericht, a supreme Bavarian court, composed of eighteen judges. It sits in Munich, and from its decision the appeal is to the Reichgericht, or imperial tribunal of the German Empire. There are about 175,000 temporary or permanent paupers, costing the state nearly 10,000,000 marks annually. The level of educational attainment is high. From six till fourteen all children must go to one of the four classes of schools - Catholic (about 5,000), Protestant (2,000), mixed (150), Jewish (100). There is a university at Munich, with a staff of 172 professors and 3,646 students.
History. The German name of Bavaria is Baiern, a word of undoubtedly Celtic origin. Rome had some uncertain hold on the wandering tribes which during the time of her power inhabited this region. Charles the Great made Bavaria part of his kingdom, and his successors ruled here after the dismemberment of his empire as margraves. In 921 the margrave was made a duke. In 1620 the duke was made an elector in return for services rendered to the empire, and his territory increased by a slice of the Palatinate. About the middle of the eighteenth century Bavaria deserted the German for the French alliance, and after Blenheim (1704) the elector lost his kingdom for ten years. His son was constant to the French alliance, and was also driven from his dominion; but on his death the country was restored to Maximilian Joseph, the next heir, under whom began a long period of peace, that only terminated in 1793 with the wars of the French Revolution. On the whole, Bavaria supported Napoleon (who made her a kingdom) till 1813, after which she was induced to join the other German states in their combined attack on the French. In 1866 she sided with Austria against Prussia, but on the victory of the latter she veered round to her side, and was her firm ally in the contest of 1870 with France. Her history closes with the treaty of November 23rd, 1870, that made her an integral part of the new German Empire. The royal house are descended from the mediaeval Counts of Wittelsbach. King Otho, the present ruler, was born in 1848, and succeeded in 1886 on the suicide of his brother, Louis, whose eccentricity, long notorious, had developed into insanity. He is also insane, and his uncle, Prince Luitpold, is regent.