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Maximilian I

Maximilian I, 1756–1825, king (1806–25) and elector (1799–1806) of Bavaria as Maximilian IV Joseph. His alliance with French Emperor Napoleon I earned him the royal title and vast territorial increases at the Treaty of Pressburg (1805) and made him one of the chief members of the Confederation of the Rhine. His daughter was married to Napoleon's stepson, Eugène de Beauharnais. In 1813, after Napoleon's retreat from Russia, he joined the coalition against Napoleon a few days before the battle of Leipzig. At the Congress of Vienna (1814–15) Maximilian lost some of his territorial gains. Devoted to Bavarian independence, he opposed all moves to unite Germany. With his minister, Maximilian von Montgelas, he carried out important social reforms and abolished most of the relics of feudalism in Bavaria. In 1818 he granted a liberal constitution, and, unlike the neighboring reactionary rulers, he continued to rule as an "enlightened monarch." He was succeeded by his son, Louis I.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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