Maximilian II Emanuel

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Personalities >> Maximilian II Emanuel

Bavaria, Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of

Elector of Bavaria (1679-1726), Governor of the Spanish Netherlands (1691-1706)

born 11 July 1662, Munich, Electorate of Bavaria

died 26 February 1726, Munich, Electorate of Bavaria


Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria – Source: Wikimedia Commons

Maximilian Emanuel was born in Munich in 1662. He belonged to the House of Wittelsbach. His father was Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria and his mother Henriette Adelaide of Savoy.

In 1679, Maximilian II Emanuel succeeded to his father as Elector of Bavaria under the regency of his uncle Maximilian Philipp von Leuchtenberg.

In 1680, Maximilian II Emanuel reached his majority and assumed all function of his rank.

In 1683, Maximilian II Emanuel took part in the relief of Vienna at the head of a Bavarian contingent of 11,000 men. This contingent then participated in the capture of Gran.

On 15 July 1685, Maximilian II Emanuel married Maria Antonia, daughter of Emperor Leopold I.

In 1686, Maximilian II Emanuel took part in the storming of Ofen.

On 12 August 1687, Maximilian II Emanuel led part of the right wing in the victorious Battle of Mohács.

In 1688, Maximilian II Emanuel commanded the army who captured Belgrade from the Turks. For his victory, he was made Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

During the Nine Years’ War (1688-1697), Maximilian II Emanuel sided with the Holy Roman Empire against France.

In 1691, Maximilian II Emanuel was appointed governor of the Spanish Netherlands (roughly corresponding to present-day Belgium and Luxembourg).

In 1692, his wife Maria Antonia died while giving birth to a son, Joseph Ferdinand, who was appointed heir to the Spanish crown.

On 12 January 1694, Maximilian II Emanuel married Theresa Kunegunda Sobieska daughter of the King of Poland John III Sobieski.

In 1695, Maximilian II Emanuel took part in the recapture of Namur by the Allies.

On 6 February 1699, Maximilian’s son, Joseph Ferdinand, died suddenly (maybe from poisoning, thus reopening the debate on the succession of King Charles II of Spain.

At the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Syccession (1701-1713), Maximilian II Emanuel, as governor of the Spanish Netherlands, could count on a small army of 5,000 Spaniards and 5,000 Bavarians. He allowed French troops to occupy the major places of the Spanish Netherlands. He then raised a regiment of two battalions in the name of the King of Spain and promised to bring Bavarian troops (in Bavaria as well as in the Spanish Netherlands) to a total of 7,700 foot and 3,000 horse. On 22 March, Maximilian II Emanuel left Bruxelles to return to Bavaria where he intended to raise troops to honour his new subsidy agreement with France (15,000 men for a monthly of 40,000 écus). He transferred command of his troops in the Spanish Netherlands to M. de Bedmar. In August, Maximilian II Emanuel assembled an army of 24,350 men near Munich.

In August 1702, Maximilian II Emanuel informed Louis XIV that he planned to launch an offensive against Ulm. Louis XIV promised him assistance (up to 40 bns and 50 sqns) of a detachment of Catinat's army under the Marquis de Villars. On 8 September, Maximilian II Emanuel with 25,000 men made himself master of Ulm by surprise and declared a local war on the House of Habsburg and the Imperial "Circles" of Swabia and Franconia, officially taking side with France, hoping to supplant the House of Habsburg at the head of the Holy Roman Empire. On 14 September, the Elector of Bavaria detached a corps (14 bns, 26 sqns) under the Count d'Arco to march towards Stühlingen, some 80 km east of Huningue where he planned to rendez-vous with the French army on September 22. The elector even specified that the French army sent to his support should count 40 bns and 50 sqns. On 25 September, Villars marched from Eckbolsheim to Erstein with the corps destined to the Elector of Bavaria, arriving at Huningue on 29 September. On 30 September, the Elector of Bavaria captured the town of Memmingen instead of making a junction with the French army which he had so insistently requested. Indeed, Maximilian II Emanuel was beginning to waver in his allegiance to the French alliance. On 15 October, after his victory at Friedlingen, Villars detached M. de Biron with 3,000 picked men to locate the army of the Elector of Bavaria. Villars could not advance through the mountains without being sure to receive bread from the Bavarians. On 16 October, Biron's detachment reached Schopfheim but could not get any information concerning the location of the Bavarian Army. At the end of October, the Elector of Bavaria moved to Ehingen and Didenhausen, closer to French positions, and detached 400 foot and 500 horse to rendez-vous with Villars' army at Stühlingen. On 2 November, Villars abandoned all hope of effecting a junction with the army of the Elector of Bavaria. The conduct of the latter getting more and more suspicious. On 28 December at Châlons, Villars received a letter from the court informing him that the Elector of Bavaria had finally seized Lauingen and Burgau and that Louis XIV had decided to launch a winter offensive on the Rhine to assist the elector.

In 1703, Maximilian II Emanuel tried unsuccessfully to invade Tyrol but he managed to occupy Regensburg and Augsburg (end of August)

In 1704, a combined Franco-Bavarian army was decisively defeated by the Allies at Blenheim (13 August). Maximilian II Emanuel took refuge in the Spanish Netherlands while Austria and Palatinate partitioned Bavaria, leading to popular uprisings.

In 1706, after taking part in the Battle of Ramillies (23 May), Maximilian had to leave the Spanish Netherlands, now occupied by the Allies, and to take refuge in Versailles.

In 1708, Maximilian II Emanuel commanded troops on the Rhine without significant results. Afterwards, he never received a new command from Louis XIV.

In 1712, Maximilian II Emanuel received Luxembourg and Namur from France.

In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht restored Bavaria to the House of Wittelsbach.

In 1717, Maximilian II Emanuel contributed a Bavarian contingent to the Imperial army assembled to fight against the Turks.

In 1724, all reigning princes of the House of Wittelsbach (Bavaria, Cologne, Palatinate, Trier) resolved to unite their votes for the next imperial election.

Maximilian II Emanuel died on 26 February 1726 in Munich.



N.B.: the sections describing Maximilian II Emanuel’s service from 1701 to 1702 are mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.