The history of Bavaria stretches from its earliest settlement and formation as a duchy in the 6th century through the Holy Roman Empire to becoming an independent kingdom and finally a state of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Duchy of Bavaria dates back to the year 555. In the 17th century, the Duke of Bavaria became a Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire. The Kingdom of Bavaria existed from 1806 to 1918, when Bavaria became a republic. In 1946, the Free State of Bavaria re-organised itself on democratic lines.