History of the Upper Palatinate
The Upper Palatinate, one of the seven administrative districts in Bavaria,
represents a unit within the modern state administration organisation that,
in centuries of development, has now gradually grown into its apparent
natural closeness. At first glance, it may appear that this countryside,
bordered by the Fichtelgebirge Mountains, the Danube, the Franconian Jura and
the Bohemian Forest, and containing the large rivers Laaber, Vils, Naab and
Regen, which converge on Regensburg from the north, northwest and northeast,
would offer prime geographical conditions with which to turn out to be a unit,
even with regard to its historical development. However, this is not the case.
In fact, before the 19th century, the area north of the Danube and west of
the Bohemian Forest was split into three Wittelsbach territories and several
other domains. As such, the principality of the "Upper Palatinate" only
represented a portion of the modern administrative district. The more recent
history of the Upper Palatinate is associated with the following events:
The Kingdom of Bavaria is newly divided into districts (which at the same
time were General Commissariats) based on the pattern of the French
departements, "with regard to the natural borders" (naming them according to
Accordingly, the entire Naab district, with its seat in Amberg, belonged to
the present administrative district. It also included the monastery area of
Waldsassen and the neighbouring former district magistracy of Kemnath. The
district courts of Cham, Wetterfeld, Burglengenfeld, Parsberg, Hemau and
Stadtamhof belonged to the Regen district with its seat in Straubing, and the
district courts of Neumarkt, Beilngries and Riedenburg were part of the
Altmühl District, with its seat in Eichstätt.
The drive toward unification of the state administration led to the Kingdom
of Bavaria being divided into only eight districts. In the course of these
measures, the Naab District was dissolved, while the Regen District, on the
other hand, grew considerably to the north. Through the dissolution of the
Naab District, the district courts of Eschenbach, Kemnath, Neustadt
a.d.Waldnaab, Tirschenreuth and Waldsassen were allocated to the Obermain
District. In the eastern region, the district court of Cham became part of
the Lower Danube District, and in the west, Hilpoltstein joined the Rezat
District. The Dalberg principality of Regensburg, in existence since 1803,
which included primarily the territory of the former free imperial city, had
been dissolved as early as 1810. Regensburg has been the capital of the Upper
Palatinate since 1 November 1810.
By royal decree on 29 November 1837, King Ludwig I ordered a new territorial
division and designation of the state area. The Regen District received the
name "Upper Palatinate and Regensburg".
The area name "Upper Palatinate" was based on the previous affiliation to the
Palatinate on the Rhine, with its capital of Heidelberg. Its auxiliary land
in Bavaria had been the central and northern portion of the current
administrative district with the capital, government seat and residence town
of Amberg ever since the Wittelsbach estate distribution in the year 1329
(House Treaty of Pavia). This auxiliary land, situated in the mountainous
regions above the Rhine Palatinate was called "The Palatinate of Bavaria," or
"The Land in Bavaria belonging to the Palatinate," or "Our Palatinate at
Amberg". At the start of the 16th century, this rather cumbersome territorial
name was still common. However, from this point on, the modification to a
simplified name such as "The Upper Palatinate" ("die obere Pfalz") and the
respective "Oberpfalz" had begun.
The district courts, previously established as the lowest legal instance for
the administration of justice, and at the same time to serve as the
administration, become autonomous organs of justice. The administrative
responsibilities at the lower state administration level are transferred to
the regional offices (today, district offices).
In the east, the national and state border is identified as opposite Bohemia
in a treaty.
The regional offices receive the new designation "District Offices"
("Landratsämter"), and their area of service is renamed "District"
In the context of the money-saving measures of 1931, the government of Lower
Bavaria in Landshut is dissolved and combined with the administration of the
Upper Palatinate in Regensburg.
The government loses its function as an administrative court. The law of
administrative jurisdiction introduces autonomous administrative courts as
the first instance.
Through a law passed on 20 April 1948, the autonomous "districts" of Lower
Bavaria and the Upper Palatinate are reinstated. However, business continues
to be conducted by the administration of the Upper Palatinate in Regensburg
until the takeover by the new administration of Lower Bavaria.
Move of the government seat of Lower Bavaria from Regensburg to Landshut.
Until the community area reform of 01 July 1972 took effect, the Upper
Palatinate was divided into 19 districts, to which the five urban districts
of Amberg, Neumarkt i.d.OPf., Regensburg, Schwandorf i. Bay. and Weiden
i.d.OPf. were coordinated. Since the community area reform, the districts (district
offices) of Amberg-Sulzbach, Cham, Neumarkt i.d.OPf., Neustadt a.d.Waldnaab,
Regensburg, Schwandorf, Tirschenreuth and the urban districts of Amberg,
Regensburg and Weiden i.d.Opf belong to the Upper Palatinate.
District Presidents from 1810 to the present.