Bavaria, officially the Free State of Bavaria, is a landlocked federal state in the south-east of Germany. It is the largest German state by land area, comprising of 70,550.19 square kilometres. Bavaria is home to 13 million inhabitants and is Germany’s second most populous state after North Rhine-Westphalia. Bavaria hosts Germany’s capital city, Munich, amongst other big cities such as Augsburg and Nuremberg. Bavaria has two official flags of equal status. The first is of white and blue stripes and the second is of white and blue lozenges. Bavaria shares international borders with Switzerland and Austria, with the Bavarian Alps defining the border with Austria. Its neighboring German states are Saxony, Hesse, Thuringia, and Baden-Württemberg. Three German dialects are spoken in Bavaria: Austro-Bavarian, Swabian German and East Franconian German.
Its earliest settlement is attributed to the Iron Age Celtic tribes, and later the conquests of the Roman Empire in the 1st century BC. Bavaria was later incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire and in 1806 became an independent kingdom after Napoleon abolished the Holy Roman Empire. Bavaria allied itself with Austria during the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, and when Austria and its allies were defeated it was not incorporated into the North German Confederation. In 1871, after the Franco-Prussian War, Bavaria joined the Prussian-led German Empire (Deutches Reich) while remaining an independent kingdom. In the aftermath of World War One, the monarchy was abolished. On April 9, 1919, a Bavarian Soviet Republic was proclaimed and fell the next month after suppression from the German Army. The Bamberg Constitution was enacted in August 1919 and came into force on September 15, 1919 which created the Free State of Bavaria within the Weimar Republic. In 1923, the Beer Hall Putsch was led by the National Socialists and Munich and Nurembeg became seen as Nazi strongholds. In the German federal election in 1933, the Nazi party received less that 50% of the votes cast in Bavaria. During World War II, Munich became a target for allied bombing as it was a leading manufacturing centre. In 1949, Bavaria became a state of the Federal Republic of Germany. During the Cold War, Bavaria was a part of West Germany.