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William V, Duke of Bavaria

William V, Duke of Bavaria (29 September 1548 - 7 February 1626), called the Pious, (German: Wilhelm V., der Fromme, Herzog von Bayern) was a Duke of Bavaria from 1579 to 1597. Son of Albert V , member of the Wittelsbach family. Born in Landshut, died in Schleissheim .

William had received a Jesuit education and showed keen attachment to Jesuit tenets. His title 'the Pious' was given to him because he was one of the most Catholic rulers of Bavaria. He had devoted his daily routine to masses (when possible, several times a day), prayer, contemplation, and devotional reading. He had taken part in public devotions, processions, and pilgrimages.

William was a strong supporter of the counter-reformation. He secured the archbishopric of Cologne for his brother Ernest in 1583, and this dignity remained in the possession of the family for nearly 200 years. Two of his sons also chosen the religius career: Philipp Wilhelm became the Bishop of Regensburg and Cardinal, and Ferdinand became Archbishop of Cologne. During his reign Bavaria has become a semi-religious state, almost a theocracy. Non-Catholics were forced to leave and the Geistlicher Rat , an ecclesiastical council has been formed alongside the traditional privy council and the treasury, which administered the normal secular affairs. Geistlicher Rat supervised and disciplined the duchy’s Catholic clergy through regular visitations; it controlled the Catholicism of all the state’s officials by issuing certificates documenting annual confession and communion; it funded new Catholic schools, new Catholic colleges, new houses of religious orders, especially the missionary and educational ones, such as the Jesuits and Capuchins for men and the Ursulines for women.

William spending on Church related projects, including funding missionaries outside Bavaria - as far away as Asia and America - put tremendous strain on Bavarian treasury, and was one of the reasons William in 1597 abdicated in favour of his son Maximilian I I. Then William retired into a monastery, where he died in 1626.

Married Renata v.Lothringen (1544-1602) in Munich on 22 February 1568. They had 10 children:

  • Christoph v.Bayern, born in 1570, died the same year
  • Christoph v.Bayern, born in 1572, died in 1580
  • Maximilian I (1573-1651), future Duke and Elector of Bavaria
  • Maria Anna of Bavaria (Maria Anna v.Bayern), 1574-1616, married Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor in 1600
  • Philipp Wilhelm (22 September 1576 - 18 May 1598), Bishop of Regensburg from 1595, Cardinal from 1597
  • Ferdinand, (6 October 1577 - 13 September 1650), Archbishop and prince-elector of Cologne (1612-1650)
  • Eleonore Magdalena v.Bayern, born in 1579, died in 1580
  • Karl v. Bayern (30 May 1580 - 27 October 1587)
  • Albert VI (1584-1666), in 1612 married Mechthilde v. Leuchtenberg (1588-1634)
  • Magdalene v.Bayern (4 July 1587 - 25 September 1628), Grabstätte: Hofkirche Neuburg a.d.Donau), in 1613 married Wolfgang Wilhelm, Pfalzgraf v.Neuburg (1578-1663)
Preceded by:
Albert V
Duke of Bavaria Succeeded by:
Maximilian I

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Last updated: 05-30-2005 21:28:13
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