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A German family which formed a ruling dynasty in Bavaria between 1180 and 1918. By a marriage of 1214, the Rhenish Palatinate was added to the family holdings. Duke Louis II (c. 1283–1347) was elected Holy Roman Emperor, and divided the Wittelsbach succession between a younger branch (which received Bavaria) and a senior one (which inherited the Rhenish and Upper Palatinate and was given an electoral title in 1356). During the Reformation, the Bavarian branch remained staunchly Catholic. The Palatinate branch espoused the new Protestant faith and during the Thirty Years War forfeited both its electoral vote and the Upper Palatinate to Bavaria. By the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) a new electoral vote was created for the Rhenish Palatinate. The Elector Charles Albert of Bavaria (1697–1745) became Holy Roman Emperor (1742–45).

Subjects: Renaissance Art — History by Period.

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