Munich Historical Timeline
Munich Historical Timeline

Historical Timeline of Munich:

Munich’s rich history has helped to define Europe.  Here is a very easy to follow the historical timeline to guide you through it all.


Settlement of Munich 100 BC-1155 AD:

Celts and Germanic groups began settling in the area around present-day Munich in the 100s BC, but it took until 548 AD until the lands of Bavaria were united under one flag.

  • 548 AD: The King of the Franks established the lands of Bavaria under one flag.
  • 555 AD: The first Duke of Bavaria was officially established when Garibald I was appointed.
  • 700s AD: Group of Monks stopped along the river in present-day Munich to have some water.  They thought the water tasted so good that they decided to build a church here.  Munich remained little more than a group of Monks and a toll bridge on the Old Salt Road from Salzburg, Berchtesgaden & Hallstatt to the rest of Europe.
  • 788 AD: Charlemagne (King of the Franks and the 1st Holy Roman Emperor) assumed direct power over Bavaria without an official Duke.
  • 815-17 AD: Louis the Pious (2nd Holy Roman Emperor & Charlemagne son) put created a Duke of Bavaria position for his sons in 815.  His son Louis II (nicknamed The German) was given the title in King of Bavaria in 817 which he held for 26 years cementing early Bavaria under the control of the Franks.
  • 911 AD: With Frankish influence falling, Arnulf Luitpold (nicknamed The Bad, from a powerful Bavarian family) became Duke, declared the region independent from France, and was recognized by the King of German as the new Duke of Bavaria.
  • 947-62 AD: Before becoming the first Holy Roman Emperor from Germany, Otto I (nicknamed The Great) put Bavaria officially under his control setting it up to be passed to future Kings of Germany.  When Otto I was crowned Holy Roman Emperor it in 962 it became what is considered the real start to the Empire which lasted through the time of Napoleon.
  • 900s AD: Area of present-day Munich becomes known as Monch which means Monk which later transformed into Munich (München) meaning the Monk Settlement.







Founding Of Munich 1156 AD-1179 AD:

Political conflicts between two powerful families (Welfs and Hohenstaufen) and who they support at Holy Roman Emperor create a revolving door of leadership of Bavaria.

  • 1070 AD: The Welf family becomes the Dukes of Bavaria but because of arranged marries and support toward the Pope they had a rocky time ruling.  It started with the family supporting the notion of the Catholic church being able to appoint local church officials to positions directly such as bishops of cities & abbots of monasteries which undercut Imperial power.
  • 1138 AD: The feud between House Hohenstaufen (Duke of Swabia) and House Welf  (Dukes of Bavaria & Saxony) started.  Henry X (Welf family) lost out on being elected King of Germany and refused to support Conrad III (Hohenstaufen family) who beat him.  Although Henry X had controlled land from Denmark to Sicily as Duke of Saxony & Bavaria (got Tuscany from Pope Innocent II) the Duchy of Bavaria was briefly given over to the Babenberg family who were allies of Conrad III (House Hohenstaufen).
  • 1155 AD: Shortly after becoming the King of Germany, Frederick I becomes the Holy Roman Emperor.  His dad was the Duke of Swabia (House Hohenstaufen) and mom was the Duchess of Bavaria (House Welf).
  • 1156 AD:  To try to make peace with both sides of his family, the Holy Roman Emperor takes Bavaria away from Heinrich II (House Babenberg) but upgrades their territory in Austria to a Duchy.  Heinrich II leaves the Bavarian capital of Regensburg to develop the city of Vienna as his Austrian capital over the ancient Roman camp Vindobona.  Henry the Lion (House Welf) regains Bavaria in the process.
  • 1158 AD: The city of Munich is formally founded by Henry the Lion when he grants the Monks a rights to hold an official market.  Henry also destroyed the Bishop of Freising’s toll bridge near Oberföhring, and built a new toll bridge after near Munich.  Henry’s efforts rerouted the Salt Road from Bad Reichenhall and Hallein on its way to Augsburg through Munich.
  • 1070 AD: German King Henry IV puts Bavaria under the control of an Italian family a couple years after becoming the Holy Roman Emperor.  This temporarily makes Munich the most Northern town in Medieval Italy.
  • 1075 AD: First city wall is finished and Munich has a population of roughly 2000 people.

Early Wittelsbach Dynasty 1180 AD-1805 AD:

The powerful Wittelsbach family (Counts of Schyren) are given Duke titles over the lands of Bavaria in 1180 which they go on to rule for almost 1000 years.  The family produced a Holy Roman Emperor twice in both 1314 & 1742.  They also controlled the other chunks of  Europe including the Kingdom of Sweden from the 1400-1700s.

  • 1180 AD: After Henry the Lion (House Welf) refused to fight for his own cousin Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I, the Wittelsbachs (House Hohenstaufen) are given control of Bavaria.
  • 1180s AD: Wittelsbachs build a small Royal Castle residence in Munich in the middle of today’s Alter Hof Square although the capital was still in Regensburg.  The 1st St. Peter’s Church is also built in the center of Munich at this time.
  • 1239 AD: The Münchener Kindl (Child Monk) becomes the symbol of the city although the Lion is also well-liked.
  • 1255 A.D. Bavaria gets split into two halves, Upper and Lower.  Duke Ludwig II takes over Upper Bavaria re-builds and expands the family’s Royal Castle in Alter Hof Square as a royal court.  This is considered the  point when the capital of Bavaria officially moved from Regensburg to Munich.
  • 1285 A.D. Medieval wall is completed over the original fortifications, but the city quickly outgrew it and needs to expand the wall toward the River in 1377.
  • 1300s A.D. Munich’s Old Town Hall is completed in the city center.
  • 1328 A.D. Duke Ludwig IV becomes the Holy Roman Emperor.
  • 1330’s A.D.  City wall is expanded outward with a new moat surrounding it.
  • 1385 A.D. The moated Neuveste Castle is built on the North edge of Munich after a failed citizen.
  • 1474 A.D.  The Royal family starts splitting more time between Alter Hof and Neuveste Castles.
  • 1505 A.D. Upper & Lower Bavaria are reunited and Munich becomes its official capital.
  • 1508 A.D. Neuveste Castle takes over for Alter Hof as the Wittelsbachs’ official Royal Court and the castle is added onto for hundreds of years morphing into a palace known as today’s Munich Residenz.
  • 1588 A.D. Saint Michael’s Church is built as the largest Renaissance church North of the Alps.
  • 1592 A.D. Our favorite beer hall the  Hofbräuhaus is opened by Duke Wilhelm V as the Royal Beer Hall.
  • 1600’s A.D. Work on the Royal summer house Nymphenburg Palace begins and it is great expanded in the 1700’s.
  • 1613-17 A.D. Hofgarten Park laid out for the Royal Court.
  • 1616 A.D. The Schleißheim Royal summer house from 1597 is expanded then super-sized in 1680.
  • 1618 A.D. With the 30 Years War underway, a double wall fortification is built around the city wall complete with star turrets and a second moat.
  • 1735 A.D. Our favorite Church in Munich St. Johann Nepomuk Church is built by the Asam Brothers with an amazing Baroque interior.
  • 1750 A.D.  A fire ruins that last parts of the Nueveste Castle section of the Munich Residenz.
  • 1780 A.D. Hofgarten becomes Munich’s 1st public park.



Kingdom Of Bavaria 1806 AD-1918 AD:

After the fall of the Holy Roman Empire, the Wittelsbach Family was upgraded from Dukes to rulers of the new Kingdom of Bavaria.

  • 1806 AD: Holy Roman Empire is abolished under Napoleon and Maximilian I of the Wittelsbach family becomes the 1st King of the new Kingdom of Bavaria.
  • 1806-1860’s AD: The population of Munich booms from 40,000 to over 120,000.
  • 1810 AD: Marriage reception for Maximilian I’s son King Ludwig I becomes such a huge hit it is repeated and becomes the 1st Oktoberfest.
  • 1832 AD: King Ludwig I’s son Otto becomes the King of Greece.
  • 1833 AD: Ludwig I’s other son Maximilian II starts building Hohenschwangau Castle over a previous castle from the 1200s.
  • 1836 AD: King Ludwig I builds the 1st of the  Pinakothek Museums to house the family’s huge collection of art and it becomes the largest museum in the World when it opens.
  • 1848 AD: Maximilian II takes over as King of Bavaria and raises his son Ludwig II at Hohenschwangau Castle.
  • 1864 AD: King Ludwig II, known as Mad King Ludwig becomes King of Bavaria and works on huge building projects including his fairytale castles.  Is declared insane in 1886 mainly because of his spending and power given to his brother.
  • 1871 AD: German Empire is formed after the end of the German-Franco War with Bavaria as its 2nd most powerful land behind Prussia.
  • 1889 AD: Mad King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein is finally completed after 22 years of building.
  • 1908 AD: The New Town Hall finally opens after 41 years of construction.
  • 1918 AD:  Ludwig III lost his throne in the German Revolution of 1918–1919 at the end of WW1.

Post Monarchy 1918 AD-Today:

A struggling post-WW1 Munich struggled to get back on its feet, became the springboard for the Nazi party center, was heavily bombed in WW2, and was forced rebuild yet again after another World War.

  • 1918 AD: Post WW1 German lands including Munch & Bavaria struggle to make a comeback.
  • 1923 AD:  Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch was the 1st event which led to Munich and Bavaria becoming a stronghold for the Nazi Party.
  • 1928 AD: The first Jewish Museum opened in Munich and remained slightly tucked away.
  • 1933 AD:  The Nazis officially took power over all of Germany in 1933 and close to Munich they open their first concentration camp in Dachau.  Members of the Wittelsbachs family (anti-Nazi) are arrested and put into camps.
  • 1945 AD:  The Allies lead by the American Army freed Munich from the Nazis grip and the city began to rebuild after being 70% destroyed.
  • 1965 AD: Dachau Concentration Camp was turned into a memorial site.
  • 1972 AD: Munich re-emerged on the World stage by hosting the Summer Olympic Games.
  • 2008 AD: While not as historically significant, our crew from BigBoyTravel.com made their 1st of many visits to Munich.