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The name of the city is derived from the Old/Middle High German term Munichen, meaning "by the monks".
It derives from the monks of the Benedictine order, who ran a monastery at the place that was later to become the Old Town of Munich; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat of arms. Catholic Munich strongly resisted the Reformation and was a political point of divergence during the resulting Thirty Years' War, but remained physically untouched despite an occupation by the Protestant Swedes.
Many of the city's finest buildings belong to this period and were built under the first three Bavarian kings.
Especially Ludwig I rendered outstanding services to Munich's status as a centre of the arts, attracting numerous artists and enhancing the city's architectural substance with grand boulevards and buildings.
The foundation date is not considered the year 1158, the date the city was first mentioned in a document. By then, the Guelph Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, had built a toll bridge over the river Isar next to the monk settlement and on the salt route.
In 1180 with the trial of Henry the Lion, Otto I Wittelsbach became Duke of Bavaria, and Munich was handed to the Bishop of Freising.
Munich is home to many universities, museums and theatres.
Its numerous architectural attractions, sports events, exhibitions and its annual Oktoberfest attract considerable tourism.
When the bubonic plague broke out in 16, about one third of the population died.
Under the regency of the Bavarian electors, Munich was an important centre of baroque life, but also had to suffer under Habsburg occupations in 17.