William IV of Bavaria

views updated


Opponent of Lutheranism; b. Munich, Oct. 13, 1493; d. there, March 7, 1550. He was the son of Albert IV, surnamed "the Wise," and Kunigunde, the daughter of the Emperor Frederick III. When his father died in March 1508, William inherited the duchy of Bavaria. However, he was unable to prevent his brother Louis from gaining a strong voice in government in 1516. This situation was to continue throughout the greater part of William's reign until Louis died in 1545. In the best tradition of the house of Wittelsbach, William continued the antiHapsburg policies of his predecessors during the first half of his reign. Then in 1534 he settled his outstanding grievances with Ferdinand of Hapsburg, and strengthened that tie in 1546 with an alliance with the Emperor Charles V that bound him to the schmalkaldic league. William followed a domestic policy that was antiLutheran and was chiefly responsible for keeping Bavaria in union with Rome. With extensive powers given him by Pope Paul III, William was able to exercise farreaching control over the bishops and abbots of his duchy, and to take energetic measures to suppress the reform teachings that had started to take hold in Bavaria. He invited the Jesuits to his duchy in 1542, and they soon made their headquarters for Germany at the Bavarian university of Ingolstadt.

Bibliography: s. von riezler, Geschichte Bayerns, 6 v. (Gotha 18781903). j. janssen, History of the German People at the Close of the Middle Ages, tr. m. a. mitchell and a. m. christie, 17 v. (London 18961925). j. lortz, Die Reformation in Deutschland, 2 v. (Freiburg 193940). r. bauerreiss, Kirchengeschichte Bayerns (2d ed. Munich 1958-). b. hubensteiner, Bayerische Geschichte (Munich 1955). h. holborn, A History of Modern Germany: The Reformation (New York 1959). f. zoepfl, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 1 10:892.

[j. g. gallaher]

About this article

William IV of Bavaria

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article