Wittelsbach, house of

Wittelsbach, house of

German noble family that ruled in Bavaria from the 12th to the 20th century. In 1124 Otto V, count of Scheyern (d. 1155), moved the family residence to the castle of Wittelsbach and took its name. In 1180 his son Otto VI became Otto I, duke of Bavaria. In 1214 Otto II obtained the Palatinate of the Rhine. A descendant, Louis IV, as Holy Roman emperor, divided the lands and granted the Palatinate to his nephew, Rupert, who obtained the title of elector (r. 1353–90). Several divisions of ducal Bavaria were reunited under Albert IV (d. 1508). The Bavarian dukes became electors from 1623, and the last direct line died out in 1777. The Palatine branch united with Bavaria in 1799 under Duke Maximilian IV Joseph, who became king of Bavaria (1806) as Maximilian I. His descendants (including Louis I and Louis II) were kings until the abdication of Louis III in 1918.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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