Bavarians, also Baiouarii, Baiovarii, Baiuwarii or Baivarii, (German: Baiern, Bajuwaren), Germanic people that arose from various tribes during the 5th and 6th centuries A.D. and settled in the area between the River Danube and the Alps: During the 4th and 5th centuries Germanic peoples who were Roman mercenaries were made to settle on the River Danube. Large groups of Marcomanni and German settlers from the Elbe Valley moved in from Bohemia. Parts of Eastern Germanic tribes who either passed through the area or disintegrated (Heruli and others) mixed with the peoples already settled there. The B. lived mainly in hamlets or small villages, and after the disintegration of Roman rule in the late 5th century they expanded further south into Alpine valleys and all along the River Danube. They mixed with Romans and the remaining Langobardi and settled in what are now the provinces of Upper Austria, Salzburg and Tirol as far as Säben and the Pustertal Valley (Val Pusteria). Around 550 A.D. these various people were for the first time recorded as a single tribe. At this time the Bavarians were under Frankish dominion. Their land was composed of provinces with six families forming a noble upper class mentioned in the lex Baiuvariorum. Of these, the Burgundian House of Agilolfing became the leading dynasty from the middle of the 6th century until 788. Conversion to Christianity started around 600 mainly due to the missionary work of Emmeram, Rupert and Corbinian and continued under Frankish dominion.
The Bavarians were the main agents of colonisation in eastern Austria and Karantania before and during Carolingian times. Within the federate duchy of Bavaria, a march (border province) was instituted and settled after the year 955. From the 10th century on there developed territories independent from the Bavarian duchy: the duchy of Carinthia in 976, Austria (Ostarichi) in 1156, Styria in 1180, followed by the Archdiocese Salzburg and the county of Tirol.
Literature: K. Reindel, Die Bajuwaren, 1981; H. Wolfram, Die Geburt Mitteleuropas, 1987; Die Bajuwaren, exhibition catalogue, Mattsee and Rosenheim 1988.