Upper Palatinate
Historical Data

History of the Upper Palatinate

Bild: Geschichte der Oberpfalz 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 the rivers).
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" ("Landkreis").

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.