It is assumed that the origin of Munich´s foundation dates back to the year 1158, which has been the earliest date, the city is mentioned in a document. By that time the Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, built a bridge across the river Isar next to a settlement of Benedictine monks. The monks' presence dates back to the 8th century, which means that a settlement in the Munich area can be traced back to the New Stone Age.
Forcing and, of course charging, traders to use his bridge Duke Henry also destroyed a nearby bridge owned by bishop Otto von Freising. Therefore the bishop and Duke Henry disputed about the city before Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa at an Imperial Diet held in Augsburg in 1158. This sanctioned Henry's depredation, and awarded an annual compensation for the bishop, and also confirmed Munich's trading and currency rights.
In 1175 Munich officially became a city and received fortification. Only five years later, with the trial of Henry the Lion, Otto I of Wittelsbach became Duke of Bavaria and Munich was handed over to the bishop of Freising.
Until 1918, Otto's legal heirs, the Wittelsbach dynasty ruled Bavaria.
In 1240 Munich itself was transferred to Otto II of Wittelsbach and in 1255, when the dukedom of Bavaria was split in two, Munich became the ducal residence of Upper Bavaria.
In 1314 Duke Louis IV was elected German king and crowned as Holy Roman Emperor in 1328. He strengthened the city's position by conceding it as a salt monopoly. In 1327 most of the city got destroyed by a fire but was rebuilt, extended and protected with a new fortification only a few years later.
In 1385 a new castle was built close to the fortification, as a protection, because the citizenry revolted several times against the dukes. An uprising of the guilds in 1397 was suppressed in 1403.
In 1429 another devastating fire destroyed great parts of the city again.
In the late 15th century Munich underwent a revival of gothic arts - the old town hall was enlarged, and a new cathedral that has become a symbol for the city until today, "the Cathedral of Our Blessed Lady"- was constructed within only twenty years, starting in 1468.
In 1506 Bavaria was reunited and Munich became its capital. Arts and politics were increasingly influenced by the court around that time. During the 16th century Munich had become a center of arts. Duke Wilhelm V built the Hofbraeuhaus for brewing brown beer in 1589 and started the famous beer brewing history that even today is one of the most famous attractions in Munich.
In 1623 during the Thirty Years' War Munich became electoral residence when Maximilian I, Duke of Bavaria was invested with the electoral dignity but in 1632 the city was occupied by Gustav II Adolph of Sweden.
Between 1634 and 1635 Munich suffered from the bubonic plague and unfortunately about one third of the population died.
In 1806 when the new Kingdom of Bavaria was born, Munich became its capital with the state's parliament and also integrated a new archdiocese of Munich and Freising being located in the city.
Many of the city's most interesting buildings belong to this period and were built under the first three Bavarian kings. Later Prince Regent Luitpold ruled the kingdom and marked Munich as a city offering many tremendous artistic and cultural activities during his tenure.
World War I
In 1914, during World War I, life in Munich became very difficult, as the Allied blockade of Germany led to food and fuel shortages. In 1916 three bombs fell on Munich. After World War I, in November 1918 on the eve of revolution, Ludwig III and his family fled the city.
After the murder of Kurt Eisner, who used to be the first republican premier of Bavaria, in 1919 the Bavarian Soviet Republic was proclaimed. During the time when communists had taken power, Lenin lived in Munich, but the Soviet Republic was put down only after a short period on May 3rd 1919 by the Freikorps. While the republican government had been restored, Munich subsequently became a cradle of right-wing politics, among which Adolf Hitler and the National Socialism rose to prominence.
World War II
In 1923 Hitler and his followers, who around that time, assembled in Munich, staged the "Beer Hall Putsch", an attempt to overthrow the Weimar Republic and take over power. The revolt failed, resulting in Hitler's arrest and the temporary crippling of the Nazi Party, which was virtually unknown outside Munich.
The city once again became a Nazi point of interest, when the National Socialists took power in Germany in 1933. The National Socialist Workers Party created the first concentration camp at Dachau, 16 kilometers north-west of the city. Because of its importance to the rise of National Socialism, Munich was referred to as the "Capital of the Movement'. The NSDAP headquarters were located in Munich and many 'Leader-buildings' were built around the Koenigsplatz. Some of them even have survived until today.
It was in Munich that British Prime minister Neville Chamberlain assented to the annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland region into Greater Germany in the hopes of fulfilling the desires of Hitler's Third Reich.
On the other side, Munich was also base of the "White Rose", a group of students that created a resistance movement from in 1942 and 1943. The core members were arrested and executed following a distribution of leaflets in Munich University by Hans and Sophie Scholl.
The city itself unfortunately got destroyed heavily by allied bombing during World War II and was actually hit by 71 air raids over a period of six years.
In 1945 after America occupied parts of Germany, Munich was completely rebuilt following a meticulous and rather conservative plan which preserved its pre-war street grid. In 1957 Munich's population passed the 1 million mark again.
In 1972 Munich hosted the Olympic Summer Games. During that time Israeli athletes were assassinated by Palestinian terrorists and Munich became the site of a unbelievable massacre, done by the Palestinian 'Black September' terrorist group.
Nowadays most Munich residents live a high quality life and therefore the city counts to the top 10 cities with the highest quality of life worldwide. Munich also ranks as the world's 39th most expensive city to live in and the most expensive major city in Germany. Munich offers a good economy, driven by information technology, biotechnology, and publishing sectors. Environmental pollution is still low. The crime rate is also low compared to other large German cities, such as Hamburg or Berlin.