William IV, Duke of Bavaria

William IV of the Steadfast (* November 13, 1493 in Munich, † March 7, 1550 ibid ) was Duke of Bavaria from 1508 to 1550.


His parents were Duke Albrecht IV of Austria and Cunegonde. Wilhelm reigned only under the guardianship of his uncle Wolfgang, from 1511 independently by Leonhard von Eck as his leading advisers.

His attempt to break the power of the estates, failed initially because his brother Louis X was opposed against him. On October 14, 1514, the brothers agreed in rats mountain. Ludwig could henceforth command in Landshut about one-third of the duchy. Also the co-regency of stands up to the age of 24 recognized Wilhelm.

On April 23, 1516, he adopted with his brother Ludwig, a new Bavarian order. In this, among other things, the price and the ingredients in beer were regulated (→ Reinheitsgebot ). April 23 is therefore celebrated since 1994 by the beverage industry as a day of German beer. In 1518 he published a country regulatory reform and in 1520 he led the first unified court order in Bavaria.

The excommunication against Martin Luther, he did not let well as his brother initially execute. However, on 25 May 1521, the brothers proclaimed the Edict of Worms in Munich and Landshut. From now on, Luther's followers were arrested and expelled from the country. William settled in 1524 win by the Pope Clement VII by the cession of the sovereignty of the Bavarian bishops and the income of ecclesiastical institutions for the cause of Catholicism and was one of the most ardent opponents of the Reformation, which he did not let rise in his country. In 1526, he pushed through a tax items, in which it was determined that she was not allowed to be passed down.

As the first Wittelsbach, he moved from the old farm in the Neuveste, the original building of the Munich Residenz. His new home he had embellish, among others in 1528 by Albrecht Altdorfer with his painting The Battle of Alexander.

He participated on the side of Charles V 1546-47 at Smalcald war, but not succeeded to bring the Palatine Electorate itself. After he had made the University of Ingolstadt by the appointment of the Jesuits to the stronghold of Catholic reform, he died, 1550. Was succeeded by his son, Albrecht V.

Marriage and issue

Duke William IV married on October 5, 1522 in Munich, the Princess Maria Jakobäa of Baden ( 1507-1580 ), daughter of Margrave Philip I of Baden and his wife Princess Elisabeth of the Palatinate. The marriage produced four children:

  • Theodor (1526-1534)
  • Albrecht V of Bavaria (1528-1579) ∞ 1546 Archduchess Anna of Austria ( 1528-1590 ), daughter of Emperor Ferdinand I.
  • Wilhelm (1529-1530)
  • Mechthild of Bavaria (1532-1565) ∞ 1557 Margrave Philibert of Baden ( 1536-1569 )

From an extramarital relationship with Margarete Hausner of Stettberg, comes from a son:

  • Knight Georg Hegnenberg (1509-1590)