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Free State of Bavaria

Freistaat Bayern

location of Bavaria

The largest state in Germany, Bavaria has an area of 27,197 square miles. It is bordered by the State of Baden-Würtemberg on the west, the states of Hesse, Thuringia, and Saxony on the north, the Czech Republic on the east, and Austria on the east and south. With 12.5 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous state. The capital and largest city is Munich. Other major cities are Augsburg, Bamberg, Bayreuth, Erlangen, Fürth, Ingolstadt, Nürnberg (Nuremberg), Passau, Regensburg, and Würzburg.

map of Bavaria


Since World War II, Bavaria has had the highest rate of industrial growth in Germany, and the state now has one of the largest economies in Europe. Leading industries are electronics, computers, machinery, chemicals, automobiles, clothing, and foodstuffs. Adidas, Audi, BMW, Infineon, Puma, and Siemens are just some of the international corporations with both headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Bavaria. The state is also famous for its beer, toys, and musical instruments, most of which are produced by small, often family-owned, businesses. Salt, graphite, iron ore, and lignite are the chief mineral resources.


The Bavarian State Government consists of the Minister-President of Bavaria, 11 Ministers and 6 Secretaries of State. The Minister-President is elected by the State Parliament, the members of which are popularly elected, and is head of state. With the approval of the State Parliament, he appoints the members of the State Government.

Bavarian coat of arms

History in Brief

Bavaria was first inhabited by the Celts. It became a duchy after Germanic tribes invaded it in the 500's. Bavarian dukes ruled the duchy from 911 to 1180, when it came into the hands of the Wittelsbach family. Napoleon made Bavaria an independent kingdom in 1805, but it became a state of the German Empire when Germany was unified in 1871. After World War I, it was briefly a republic, and then part of Germany again. The Allies invaded Bavaria during World War II, and the region was occupied by U.S. troops after Germany surrendered.

See Also

Czech Republic
World War II
World War I

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The Robinson Library >> Germany >> Regions, States, Provinces, Etc.

This page was last updated on 01/01/2019.