Bavaria (German and Bavarian: Bayern ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (German and Bavarian: Freistaat Bayern ), is a landlocked federal state of Germany, occupying its southeastern corner. With an area of 70,550.19 square kilometres (27,200 sq mi), Bavaria is the largest German state by land area comprising roughly a fifth of the total land area of Germany. With 13 million inhabitants, it is Germany's second-most-populous state after North Rhine-Westphalia. Bavaria's main cities are Munich (its capital and largest city and also the third largest city in Germany ) and Nuremberg.
The history of Bavaria includes its earliest settlement by Iron Age Celtic tribes, followed by the conquests of the Roman Empire in the 1st century BC, when the territory was incorporated into the provinces of Raetia and Noricum. It became a stem duchy in the 6th century AD following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. It was later incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire, became an independent kingdom, joined the Prussian-led German Empire while retaining its title of kingdom, and finally became a state of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Duchy of Bavaria dates back to the year 555. In the 17th century AD, 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 after the Second World War.
Bavaria has a unique culture, largely because of the state's Catholic majority and conservative traditions. Bavarians have traditionally been proud of their culture, which includes a language, cuisine, architecture, festivals such as Oktoberfest and elements of Alpine symbolism. The state also has the second largest economy among the German states by GDP figures, giving it a status as a rather wealthy German region.
Modern Bavaria also includes parts of the historical regions of Franconia and Swabia.