Parents: Albert V, duke of Bavaria, and Anna of Austria
Date of Birth: 29 September 1548
Royal House: Wittelsbach
Spouse: Renata of Lorraine
Reign: 1579 – 1597
Predecessor: Albert V
Summary: William was born in Catholic Bavaria during a trying time in Holy Roman Imperial history. He was raised by Jesuits and was a proponent of the Counter Reformation. He was devout (hence his name, "The Pious"). He lived at Trausnitz Castle and upgraded it from a Gothic fortress to a renaissance palace.
As duke, William V fought hard against the Protestants. He secured the archbishopric of Cologne for his brother, Ernest, in 1583. He then fought a war with the help of another brother, Ferdinand, to retain Cologne. William won the war with Spanish support and the archbishopric stayed in the Wittelsbach family for 200 years. His son, Ferdinand, eventually became the next archbishop. William, in his fervor, exiled all non-Catholics from Bavaria and William founded the Geistlicher Rat, a council to made ecclesiastical decisions for Bavaria. The new council regulated Catholicism in Bavaria, administered devotion tests to public officials, founded and funded schools and religious houses, and controlled Bavarian missionary activity. Meanwhile, William presided over multiple witch hunts in Bavaria during this time. These church reforms cost Bavaria much and eventually William decided to abdicate in favor of his son, Maximilian. William retired to Schleissheim Palace where he spent the remainder of his life in prayer and contemplation.
Date of Death: 7 February 1626
Successor: Maximilian I
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