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 was a cultural stronghold of the Counter-Reformation and a political point of divergence during the resulting Thirty Years' War, but remained physically untouched despite an occupation by the Protestant Swedes.
After the end of postwar American occupation in 1949, there was a great increase in population and economic power during the years of Wirtschaftswunder, or "economic miracle".
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.
(Wittelsbach's heirs, the Wittelsbach dynasty, ruled Bavaria until 1918.) In 1240, Munich was transferred to Otto II Wittelsbach and in 1255, when the Duchy of Bavaria was split in two, Munich became the ducal residence of Upper Bavaria.
The 1980s brought strong economic growth, high-tech industries and scientific institutions, and population growth.
The city is home to major corporations like BMW, Siemens, MAN, Linde, Allianz and Munich RE.
The foundation date is 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.