Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate)

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Regional Research > Germany, after 1989 > Bavaria > Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate)

Location of Administrative District (Regierungsbezirk) Oberpfalz within the Federal State (Bundesland) Bavaria



Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate) is one of the 7 administrative districts (Regierungsbezirk) of Bavaria (Bayern).

Coat of Arms

Oberpfalz - Coat of arms

The Upper Palatinate coat of arms consists of three symbols: of the Palatinate lion (Pfälzer Löwe), the crossed keys of St. Petrus (gekreuzte Schlüssel des hl.Petrus) and the Bavarian white (silver) and blue lozenges (bayerische Rauten). The Pfälzer Löwe is a century-old symbol of the region, the crossed keys represent the former Imperial Free City Regensburg and the Bayerischen Rauten is the common symbol of Bavaria.

General Information

Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate) is located in the east of Bavaria. It borders on the Bavarian administrative districts Upper Franconia, Middle Franconia, Lower Bavaria and Upper Bavaria. In the east it borders on the Czech Republic.

Data: 2003 Area in qkm Population Inhabitants /qkm
Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate) 9,691 1,089,826 112
Bavaria total 70,549 12,423,386 176

(Source: Bayerisches Landesamt für Statistik und Datenverarbeitung, Genesis online)

Political Structure

Upper Palatinate administrative Capital is the city of Regensburg.

Counties and Municipalities of Oberpfalz


Independent Cities

Structure before 1972/78

In 1972/78 Bavaria had a major re-organization of the administrative system - a county-reform (Landkreisreform) and the municipality-reform (Gemeindereform). Aim was to downsize the number of existing administrative counties (Landkreise), independent cities (Kreisfreie Städte) and municipalities (Gemeinden). After these reforms a lot of formerly independent places and communities became part of another municipality (sometimes with this even became part of another county). Also some formerly existing counties were combined and the old county names ceased to exists. In some areas of Bavaria places even changed the administrative district (Regierungsbezirk) they belonged too.

Upper Palatinates past administrative structure:

Upper Palatinate since 1972 before 1972
Counties 7 19
Independent Cities   3 5
Municipalities 226  ?

Counties (before county/municipality reforms in 1972 / 78):

*Beilngries (today: Administrative District: Upper Bavaria; county Eichstätt)
*Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz
*Neunburg vorm Wald
*Neustadt an der Waldnaab
*Riedenburg (today: Administrative District: Lower Bavaria; county Kelheim)

Independent Cities (before county/municipality reforms in 1972 / 78):

  • Amberg
  • Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz
  • Regensburg
  • Schwandorf (i.Bay.)
  • Weiden in der Oberpfalz

Church Structure

Due to historical reasons Upper Palatinates population is dominantly catholic, there are 86 % Roman-Catholics (römisch-katholisch) and 12 % Protestants (evangelisch-lutherisch), according to data from 1987. This is due to the fact that Upper Palatinate was for centuries part of the old-Bavarian Wittelsbachischen territory (Altbayern) , ruled by the House of Wittelsbach that was catholic. In the past the people of this area either stayed catholic or reverted back to Catholicism after the so-called Gegenreformation (rigorous reinforcing of Catholicism, Counter-Reformation).



Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche (Evangelical-Reformed Church, Homepage)
Territories and history


Religion of Population (1987)

Religion of population (1987) Population    Roman
Jewish   other
total % % % % %
Bavaria (total) 10,902,643 67 24 0.05 4 5
Upper Palatinate 969,868 86 12 0.02 1.3 2

(**) incl. Freikirchen

(Source: Data: 1987, Bayerisches Landesamt für Statistik und Datenverarbeitung, Genesis online)


History of Oberpfalz (Pfalzgrafschaft)

1180 Emporer Friedrich Barbarossa gives the Duchy of Bavaria to Otto I. , a member of the House of Wittelsbach.
1214 The Rheinpfalz (a province left of river Rhine and for off from Bavaria) becomes part of Bavaria
1245 Regensburg , one of the most important German trade cities, gets the status of Free Imperial City (an independent city) of the Reich.
1255 As a result of the first partitioning of Bavaria, Oberbayern (Upper Bavaria), which nowadays extends with a considerable part of it into the territory of Oberpfalz and the Rheinpfalz goes to Ludwig der Strenge (Ludwig the Severe), while Niederbayern (Lower Bavaria) goes to his brother, Heinrich VIII. ( Heinrich the 8th ).
1268 Oberpfalz, initially part of the territory of the so-called Bayerische Nordmark (Bavarian Nordmarch) and later on part of the Bavarian Margravate of Nordgau, is handed over as a pawn to the Dukes of Bavaria.
1322 As a sign of gratitude for helping to obtain the Emperors throne, Emperor Ludwig der Bayer pawns the Egerland to the Bohemian King, John of Luxemburg.
1329 Due to the house-contract of Pavia , Emperor Ludwig of Bavaria hands over a large part of the territory of Oberpfalz (Nordgau ) and the Rheinpfalz (also called Kurpfalz), with its capital Heidelberg, to the sons of his brother Rudolf . To differentiate the Pfalz on the Rhein, from the Bavarian part of the territory with its capital Amberg, where the seat of the electors´ governors was located, this part was called the Land of the Pfalz in Bavaria or our Pfalz of Amberg. In 1513 the name Obere Pfalz (Upper-Pfalz) was finally mentioned for the first time in recorded documents.
1355 Karl V., who had succeeded Ludwig the Bavarian (Ludwig der Bayer) as King of the Germans and western Emperor, acquires parts of Nordgau and turns Sulzbach into the capital of Neuböhmen (New Bohemia)
1410 Somewhat reduced in size, the territory nowadays called Pfalz goes to the son of King Ruprecht von der Pfalz.
1448 The territorry becomes part of Pfalz-Mosbach and partially, for a short time, it is incorporated into Pfalz-Simmern.
1499 The territory comes into possession of the main line of the House Pfalz
1618-1648 During the 30-Years-War the Oberpfalz territory is turned into the main battlefield and is severely being affected by the war. Many cities and villages are burnt to the ground, some of them even repeatedly. Out of more than a hundred smith-hammers only about 40 are still operating. The population was severely decimated.
1621 The territory nowadays called Oberpfalz, which became Lutheran very early, became occupied by Bavaria and the re-catholization starts in 1625.
1628 The Sovereign of Bavaria , Prince Elector Max of Bavaria, puts an end to the 300-year-long ruling of the House of Kurpfalz over Bavaria. The Oberpfalz becomes Bavarian territory again.
1631 Bavaria receives some Bohemian territory. Being part of the Bavarian Reich-district, the Oberpfalz consists of two divided main parts amidst which the principality of Sulzbach, Amt Vilseck of Bamberg, the Earldoms of Sternstein and Leuchtenberg are located. The Law-Courts of Amberg, Pfaffenhofen, Haimburg, Rieden, Freudenberg, Hirschau, Nabburg, Neuburg vor dem Wald, Wetterfeld, Bruck, Retz, Waldmünchen, Murach and Treswitz-Tenesberg are part of the southern main territory, while the Law Courts of Bernau, Eschenbach, Grafenwöhr, Holnberg, Kirchentumbach, Auerbach and Hartenstein, the cast office of Kemnat and the county Law Courts of Waldeck and the regency of Rothenberg belong to the northern territory. Some smaller regions are part of the territory of Nürnberg.
1663 Regensburg becomes the official residence of the Reichstag of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation) and keeps it until 1806.
1677 Sulzbach which had been cut off in 1614 is now again being included into the territory of the Oberpfalz.
1705 During the Spanish war of Succession (1701-1714) the peasants of the Oberpfalz rise unsuccessfully against being drafted into the army of their Austrian occupants.
1740-1748 During the Austrian war of Succession, the Oberpfalz is severely destroyed by Empress Maria Theresia´s (Austria) hordes of Pandures, who are lead in battle by Franz von der Trenck.
1748 The Sovereigns of the House of Thurn und Taxis become principal commissaries at the Reichstag, i.e. viceroys of the Kaiser.
1803 In the course of secularization the Bavarian State takes possession of all monasteries and cloisters of Regensburg. Regensburg is the last ecclesiastical principality to be taken over and it goes to the principality primate Carl Theodor von Dalberg.
1803 Amt Vilseck in the district of Bamberg and Waldsassen Monastery become parts of Bavaria. 1n 1806 Sternstein and in 1816 Amt Marktredwitz become part of Bavaria.
1806 These different territories are now all united in the so-called New Bavaria. Bavaria becomes a Kingdom.
1808 Bavaria is the first European State to abolish serfdom. The first constitutional law (constitution) is being passed.
1810 After being dissolved, the ecclesiastical principality of Regensburg joins Bavaria and the city of Regensburg succceeds Amberg as Capital of the newly established so-called Regenkreis (Administrative Region of Regen). See here also: Bavaria Administrative Organization
1837 The Oberpfalz more or less reached her current day territorial shape and is now called Oberpfalz and Regensburg.
1859 The first railroad line is opened in the Oberpfalz.
1870/71 During the war between Germany and France , Bavaria joins the German Empire.
1934 Bavaria lost all her sovereign rights in favour of the German Reich.
1945 Bavaria becomes part of the US military zone of occupation. The territory of the Pfalz, on the left banks of the river Rhine, is separated from Bavaria. Many expellees from Bohemia (Sudetenland), find a new homeland in the Oberpfalz.
1946 By democratic vote, the Bavarian population consents to the new Bavarian constitution.
1972 In the course of the Bavarian territorial reform, the Oberpfalz is subjected to some major changes. The number of the existing 19 counties, is reduced to 7 new, enlarged counties. Former parts of counties from Niederbayern (Lower Bavaria), e.g. Kötzting and Lam, now become part of counties in the Oberpfalz (Upper Pfalz). The lower part of Altmühltal, e.g. Riedenburg, is incorporated into the Lower Bavarian County Kehlheim. Beilngries is handed over to Oberbayern (Upper Bavaria) and is today part of County Eichstätt.

Historical Political Structure

NOTE: English version of - Upper Palatinate historical political structure - is currently NOT available. Meanwhile see summary overview:

Historical predecessor entities on Upper Palatinate territory:
English version of - Upper Palatinate historical predecessor entities - is currently NOT available

See here:

Development of the past administrative structure of Upper Palatinate after 1806:
In 1808 within the Kingdom of Bavaria a new organizational structure was set up and regarding current day Upper Palatinate the following structure evolved, in:

  • 1808: the new Kreise called Regenkreis (administrative capital: Straubing) and Naabkreis (administrative capital: Amberg) were formed
  • 1810: the second Regenkreis (now with administrative capital: Regensburg), enlarged with territory from the dissolved Naabkreis (LG ä.O.: Amberg, Nabburg, Neunburg vorm Wald, Kastl, Sulzbach, Vohenstrauß, Waldmünchen and city Amberg), from the Altmühlkreis (LG ä.O.: Riedenburg) and with incorporated former Principality Regensburg (Fürstentum Regensburgs). The Regenkreis handed over to Unterdonaukreis (LG ä.O.: Mitterfels, Straubing, Viechtach).
  • 1817: Regenkreis was enlarged with territory from: the Oberdonaukreis (LG ä.O.: Beilngries, Kipfenberg, Ingolstadt, Neumarkt and city of Ingolstadt) and handed over to Unterdonaukreis (LG ä.O.: Cham, Kötzting)

After a major re-organization of the royal administration, this administrative region was renamed in:

  • 1837: to Kreis Oberpfalz und Regensburg (administrative capital: Regensburg) and handed over to Kreis Mittelfranken (LG ä.O.: Beilngries, Eichstätt, Kipfenberg and city of Eichstätt); to Kreis Niederbayern (LG ä.O.: Abensberg, Kelheim, Pfaffenberg, Zaitzkofen), to Kreis Oberbayern (LG ä.O.: Ingolstadt and city of Ingolstadt) and got from Kreis Oberfranken (LG ä.O.: Eschenbach, Kemnath, Neustadt a.d. Waldnaab, Tirschenreuth, Waldsassen), from Kreis Niederbayern (LG ä.O.: Cham) and from Kreis Mittelfranken (LG ä.O.: Hilpoltstein).

The main area of this administrative region called Kreis Oberpfalz is more or less identical to the Upper Palatinate, as we know it today. In the following centuries there were these changes: e.g. in 1880: it got from Kreis Mittelfranken (Bezirksamt Beilngries), in 1932: administrative regions Kreis Oberpfalz and Kreis Niederbayern were combined to Kreis Niederbayern und Oberpfalz (with capital in Regensburg), from 1939-1945: the former Bohemian counties Bergreichenstein, Markt Eisenstein and Prachatitz belonged to this administrative region; in 1948: the unification of Niederbayern/Oberpfalz was reversed and lastly the now called Regierungsbezirk Oberpfalz (administrative district: Upper Palatinate) was re-established; in 1972: Upper Palatinate handed over to Upper Bavaria (county: Beilngries), to Lower Bavaria (county: Riedenburg) and got from Lower Bavaria (county: Kötzting).

see here also:

LG ä.O. = Landgericht älterer Ordnung / Landgericht ä.O. (Regional court area of the old Order)

Genealogical and Historical Societies

Genealogical Societies

Historical Societies

Genealogical and Historical Documents


Historical Literature

  • Verhandlungen des Historischen Vereins für den Regenkreis (1831/32-1837/39)
  • Verhandlungen des Historischen Vereins für Oberpfalz und Regensburg (VHVO) (1837/39-)

Other Literature


Gazetteers and Maps



  • Bavaria Maps Overview of helpful Links to maps for genealogist.

Maps showing the territory development of Upper Palatinate from 1789-1819:

Maps showing the past administrative organization of Upper Palatinate, 1808 until today:

see also:

Archives and Libraries


Church Book Archives:



Internet Links

Official Websites

Genealogical Websites

Miscellaneous Websites

Data from the Genealogical Place Database (GOV)

GOV-Id adm_369093
  • Regenkreis (1808-10-01 - 1837-12-31) Source 1808 Spalte 1484 (deu)
  • Oberpfalz und Regensburg (1838-01-01 - 1932-03-31) Source 1837 Spalte 796 (deu)
  • Upper Palatinate (1946 -) (eng)
  • Oberpfalz (1946-12-08 -) (deu)
  • Kreis (1808-10-01 - 1932-03-31) Source 1808 Spalte 1484
  • administrative district (1946-12-08 -)
external id
  • opengeodb:168
  • BLO:8
web page

TK25: 6638

Superordinate objects

Bavaria, Baiern, Churpfalz-Baiern, Kurpfalz-Bayern, Pfalz-Baiern, Bayern (1808-10-01 - 1932-03-31) ( duchy kingdom free state ) Source 1808 Spalte 1484

Bavaria, Bayern, Bavière, Beieren, Бавария (1946-12-08 -) ( federal state )

Subordinate objects
name type GOV-Id Timespan
Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz rural county adm_139373
Waldmünchen district office rural county object_1049816
Roding Oberamt rural county object_283988
Amberg-Sulzbach rural county adm_139371
Tirschenreuth rural county adm_139377
Neustadt an der Waldnaab rural county adm_139374
Burglengenfeld district office rural county object_386997 (- 1972-06-30)
Ingolstadt Landgericht Magistrates' Court object_285535 (1817-04-01 - 1837-12-31)
Grafenwöhr Truppenübungsplatz Amtsbezirk object_268097
Cham district office rural county adm_139372
Schwandorf rural county adm_139376
Beilngries district office rural county object_386984 (- 1972-06-30)
Regensburg rural county adm_139375
Regensburg Stadt adm_139362 (1810 -)
Kemnath district office rural county object_1049800 (1939 - 1972)
Weiden in der Oberpfalz Stadt adm_139363
Parsberg rural county object_398908 (- 1972-06-30)
Riedenburg rural county object_397589 (- 1972-06-30)
Amberg Stadt adm_139361
Amberg district office rural county object_386982 (1862-07-01 - 1972-06-30)
Amberg Landgericht Magistrates' Court object_286464 (1810-11-01 - 1862-06-30)
Vilseck Landgericht Magistrates' Court object_286399 (1838-08-14 - 1862-06-30)
Eschenbach in der Oberpfalz district office rural county object_1049781

Umleitung fehlt

Administrative Districts in the Federal State Bavaria

Mittelfranken (Middle Franconia) | Niederbayern (Lower Bavaria) | Oberbayern (Upper Bavaria) | Oberfranken (Upper Franconia) |
Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate) | Schwaben (Swabia) | Unterfranken (Lower Franconia) |

Counties and Independent Cities in Administrative District Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate)

Amberg (City) | Regensburg (City) | Weiden in der Oberpfalz (City)
Counties: Amberg-Sulzbach | Cham | Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz | Neustadt an der Waldnaab | Regensburg | Schwandorf | Tirschenreuth |

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