Friday, August 27, 2010

The Half-Step, or How to Be Your Own Grandpa (Siblings)

Two weeks ago I began the complex and complicated discussion of cousins and close relatives. However, anyone who knows anything about royalty knows that the most common relationships in dynasties are not pure ones, but rather half- and step- ones. Case in point: the children of Henry VIII were all of different mothers and were therefore half-siblings rather than full siblings.

Some terms:
  • Half — A half relative is someone who shares half of their normal relatedness with you due to a remarriage or birth out of wedlock. Thus, where a brother could hypothetically share 100% of your genes, a half brother couldn't share more than 50% because you have a different parent (it could be a father or mother, doesn't matter). Usually, only siblings are designated as halfs, although aunts and uncles can also be half (they are your father or mother's half-sibling). Cousins can only be half if your aunt or uncle is a half relative (in fact, the entire descent of that half-uncle or half-aunt are half-cousins). You can never have a half-parent or a half-child.
  • The Brady Bunch
  • Step — A step-relative is either someone who shares none of their normal relatedness with you due to being the offspring of an ancestor's previous pairing or a person who is not biologically related to you but has married your ancestor. For all intent and purposes, a step-relative is not a relative at all and people throughout history have often married and/or bred with their half siblings. A great example of this is the ever-famous Brady Bunch. The family was composed of a father who had three boys from a previous marriage and a mother who had three girls from a previous marriage, who then got married and everyone had to live together. Part of the tension in a few select episodes was due to the fact that the children could hypothetically hook up. This same vein has been used in hundreds, if not thousands, of film plots where children hook up then hook their parents up, or vice versa. Virtually anyone can be a step-relative. All you need is to have at some point an ancestor remarrying with someone who already has kids. Step relationships have played an important and sometimes dangerous part in royal politics through the centuries.
With those terms thus defined, it is finally possible to answer the age-old question: Can you really be your own grandfather? The simple answer is "no". (Note: this section is addressed from a male point of view.) It is currently impossible for you to go back in time to impregnate your grandmother. However, it is much easier (albeit rather crude) to marry your grandmother. If you marry you grandmother, you instantly become your own step-grandfather. Viólà! If you ever read the lyrics to the song (made famous in the film The Stupids), you'll notice that it gets to the same conclusion eventually.

Now to return to a more serious note, why are these relationships so important to dynastology? It's because many succession disputes began between children of multiple marriages. We'll start with my example above. Mary Tudor was the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, and was raised a proper Catholic. Elizabeth Tudor was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and was raised a Protestant. Jane was the eldest daughter of Francis, the eldest daughter of Mary Tudor, the sister of Henry VIII and was also raised a Protestant. Now that we have our three major players, let's see what happened when Edward VI died in 1553:

Mary I, Queen of England 1553 – 1558
Elizabeth I, Queen of England 1558 – 1603
Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England 1553
When Edward died, the will of Henry VIII was overturned to bar both his sisters from the throne.
 Mary, since she was Catholic, was declared unfit to succeed while Elizabeth, who had previously been declared illegitimate since divorce was sort of frowned upon back then, was skipped because of her possible illegitimacy. Jane, therefore, was the next in line to succeed since the will of Henry VIII had clearly set the line of his younger sister Mary Tudor first since his elder sister Margaret was married to the King of Scotland. The problem was that Mary Tudor wasn't illegitimate and there were in fact no laws barring Catholics from the throne at the time. Furthermore, according to the Church of England, which Edward and Jane supported, divorce was perfectly legal and therefore Elizabeth wasn't barred either. So Mary Tudor tromped into London and took over from Jane who was executed a short year later. Elizabeth succeeded Mary a few years after that. Thus half-siblings managed to work things out in the fact of worse alternatives.

Emperor Romanus IV and Empress Eudokia of Byzantium
Step relationships rarely affected succession policy in Western Europe since ancient laws were fairly clear on the matter. However, in Eastern Europe, things were a bit different. There, the amount of betrayal and back-stabbing often made step-parents both powerful and dangerous. The case of Byzantine Emperor Romanus IV is such an example. Some years earlier, Constantine X married Eudokia and over the course of the next few years they produced three sons. In 1067, Constantine died and Eudokia was named regent for her underage son Michael VII. The next year she married the ambitious Romanus who immediately proclaimed himself emperor "by right of his step-son". A rather odd claim to power, don't you think? Romanus proved to be a crappy partner and when he was taken prisoner, Michael VII stepped in and took the reins of government finally. This "by right of step-child' was not a new phenomena in Byzantine politics and continued to a small degree in the Russian royal family. Indeed, where succession conflicts in the west often occured due to different interpretations of the law, in the east succession conflicts were often due to regents claiming the succession from their wards.
Emperor Tiberius
To end this dynastology on a happier note, let's go back further into the Ancient Roman Empire. The Julio-Claudian Dynasty to be exact. No dynasty seems more crazy and convuluted than that first century chaos. But there is a strange order to the madness. Julius Caesar, in his will, named his grand nephew Octavian as his successor. Octavian became Augustus, the first Roman Emperor. As his heir, he chose his step-son and son-in-law, Tiberius. Tiberius, in turn, allowed his step-grandson Caligula to succeed him. Caligula, changing things up a bit, was succeeded by his brother-in-law and uncle Claudius. But then Claudius returned to the norm and chose his step-son and grand-nephew Nero. Thus ended the Julio-Claudian Dynasty (Check out for a very detailed family tree). In other words, the early Roman Empire really didn't care directly about father-son successions and was perfectly content allowing relatives and step-relatives to inherit. This tradition continued for centuries, as was exemplified with Romanus IV.

Step and half relationships have shown themselves across royal family trees to be both dangerous and advantageous. Sometimes, a step-child may be the only thing that holds a dynasty together. Other times, though, the proximity to power may be too close for comfort.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Vote Orange for Stadholder in 1572! (Nassau)

Does anyone know what the capital of the Bahamas is? It's Nassau. The oddest thing is, while the Bahamas was ruled by both the Spanish and the English, it was never ruled by Germany. So why is it named after a territory in the Rhineland of Germany? Because of a Dutchman. Let me elaborate:
Coat of Arms of the House of Nassau (since the 13th century)
At the dawn of the 12th century, a man named Dudo-Henry ruled a county called Lauenburg in the Rhineland. In 1159, the seat of government moved to the nearby Nassau Castle and the House of Nassau was born. The first two counts of Nassau never had their titles confirmed by the Holy Roman Emperor. Indeed, it was in 1159 that the title became official and hereditary. As went all great hereditary dynasties in Central Europe, in 1255 Count Henry II died and his lands underwent their first Salic Law-mandated division. These lines never reconverged but remained closely related, exchanging spouses between them and eventually signing a mutual protection pact known as the Nassau Family Pact in 1783. Nevertheless, while one line fell into relative obscurity in Germany, the other became prominent through fortunes abroad.

The Walram line, those descendents of Count Walram II, inherited Wiesbaden, Idstein and Weilburg. It was the senior line but the one that never expanded beyond the Holy Roman Emperor. Nassau-Weilburg was the largest county in the Walram line. It added to its territory the county of Saarbrücken and Merenberg via marriage in the 14th century and retained those borders throughout the Medieval and Early Modern Eras. Nassau-Weilburg eventually was elevated to a "princely" county in 1688 and in 1816 was reformed into the Duchy of Nassau following its occupation during the Napoleonic Wars. The Duchy of Nassau was annexed to Prussia without a fight in 1866 as a punishment since Duke Adolf had sided with Austria during the Second Prusso-Austrian War. All other branches of the Walram line had already gone extinct by that point and thus the hereditary lands of the Walram line were no more.
Map of Nassau-Weilburg and Walram Line lands

Charlotte, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg and last of the House of Nassau
But the story doesn't end there! The last duke, Adolf, through fortunate negotiations by his ancestors, inherited the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg due to Salic Law barring the succession of his distant cousin Wilhelmina, who became Queen of the Netherlands. Thus, after 24 years of being deposed from the Nassau throne, Adolf became Grand Duke of Luxembourg in 1890. His son, William IV, succeeded him in 1905 and ruled a scant 7 years before dying. His eldest daughter, Marie-Adélaïde, succeeded him in 1912 and his second daughter, Charlotte, until 1964. Charlotte's descandants still rule today, albeit through the House of Bourbon-Parma rather than the House of Orange. In recognition to his Nassau ancestry, Grand Duke Jean chose to retain the house name of Nassau-Weilburg rather than take his hereditary family name. The monarchs of the Netherlands did likewise.

The junior branch of the House of Nassau was the Ottonian line, although it is rarely known as that today. Its first count was Otto I who ruled the Nassau territories of Siegen, Dillenburg, Beilstein, and Ginsberg. In 1303 the lines divided due to Salic Law and the branches of Nassau-Dillenburg and Nassau-Hadamar were born. Hadamar arose twice from Dillenburg, but was eventually reincorporated into the main line. Other minor branches of the family came and went but none was as important as the Dillenburg branch.

In 1504, a scion of the Dillenburg branch, Count Henry III, inherited territories in the Low Countries including the Barony of Breda in Brabant. Henry became a companion of King Charles I of Spain, who later became Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Henry was chosen as Stadholder of Holland and Zeeland in 1515 and maintained the role for six years. His son, René of Châlon, succeeded him and brought the French Principality of Orange into the family. When he inherited Breda, he was required to adopt the name of his mother's house, Orange, rather than the traditional Nassau-Breda title. When he died, his cousin, William, inherited all his lands and titles, thereby founding the House of Orange-Nassau.
William I the Silent, Stadholder of Holland, Zeeland & Utrecht, Prince of Orange, Baron of Breda, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg
William the Silent became Baron of Breda and Prince of Orange in 1544. He was chosen by the Spanish king as Stadholder of Holland and Zeeland in 1559 and kept the title until 1567. However, by 1567 William had decided to side with the Calvinists in the quickly-developing Eighty Years War against Spain and was declared an outlaw of the state. In 1572, the States General of the Netherlands reinstated William as stadholder and encouraged him to defend the rights of the Protestants with an army. By 1581, things had become so bad in the Netherlands that they declared their independence from Spain and began the Dutch Republic, an entity which would survive until the Napoleonic Wars. William was assassinated by a Catholic loyalist in 1584 and was succeeded in his titles by his son Philip William. Philip was captured by the Spanish early on in the war and raised a proper Catholic loyalist to Spain. Luckily for the Dutch Republic, Philip died in 1618 without issue leaving all his titles to his brother, Maurice.

Meanwhile in the Netherlands, Maurice had been elected stadholder and was rabble-rousing against the Spanish king. Maurice was an organizer and successfully turned William's rebellion into a stately affair. Maurice led the Dutch Revolt until 1625 when he died besieging his own hereditary city of Breda. His brother, Frederick Henry, was immediately elected stadholder and captain-general after Maurice's death. The Dutch Republic reached its height under Frederick by expanding overseas to Indonesia and Japan, even while waging a long war against Spain. Frederick sacrificed safety for success by allying with France and it paid off for many years by allowing him to reclaim Breda and numerous other Dutch possessions from Spain. Frederick died in 1647 during negotiations that resulted the next year in peace between Spain and the Dutch Republic via the Treaty of Münster. The Dutch Republic as an independent nation faired far worse in subsequent years than it had during its rebellion from Spain.
Multi-generational portrait of William I, Maurice, Frederick Henry, William II, and William III – Stadholders of Holland, Zeeland, & Utrecht, Princes of Orange, Barons of Breda, Counts of Nassau-Dillenburg

Just because the Dutch Republic faired poorly doesn't mean the House of Orange-Nassau failed. Actually, it did, but in very odd ways. First, it became a truly royal house. William II, son of Frederick Henry, married the daughter of Charles I of England. Second, William II's son William III invaded and conquered England in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. That expanded the Orange domains immensely, even if the English were about as skeptical of William III as the Dutch were of England's political system. Sort of luckily, it was at precisely this point that the House of Orange-Nassau failed utterly to produce an heir. Not only did the family not have a male heir to continue in the Netherlands, but it even failed to produce a female heir to continue in England. Mary II of England, William III's wife, died in 1694 and William never remarried. The senior Orange-Nassau line was dead and Holland and Zeeland decided they'd prefer no stadholder rather than have another royal-wannabe. Fortunately, the other four provinces of the Dutch Republic wised up and elected an Orange cousin to the position.

John William Friso, Stadholder of Friesland
 By this point in time, the actual Principality of Orange was in French hands permanently so the House of Nassau-Dietz is the most appropriate term for the next Nassau house. That being said, we're just going to call it Orange-Nassau round 2 because that's what everyone else calls it. A collateral line of the Orange-Nassau house, Orange-Nassau 2.0 held the stadholderate of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe from the 1620s until basically the end of the Dutch Republic. They became princes (rather than counts) of Nassau-Dietz in 1650 and maintained a power-base in Friesland even after Holland rejected the concept of stadholders. In 1702, upon William III's death, John William Friso inherited the claim to Orange as well as Breda. His son, William IV, got lucky and inherited Nassau-Dillenburg (the senior Ottonian line) and Nassau-Siegen, thereby uniting all Ottonian branches again. In 1747, facing invasion by France, the States General of the Dutch Republic elected William hereditary and general stadholder of the Dutch Republic. For the first time in Dutch history, the Netherlands was united under one hereditary ruler. His son, William V, succeeded in 1766 but was forced to flee to London in 1795 when the French Revolution spread to the Netherlands, abolishing the Dutch Republic.
William I, King of the United Netherlands
Beatrix, Queen of the Netherlands
William V's son returned to the Netherlands in 1813 where he was proclaimed King of the United Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg. At the time, the Netherlands included modern-day Belgium as well, which would provide a great source of conflict until 1830 when the Kingdom of Belgium formed from the former Austrian Netherlands. Two more Williams ruled the Netherlands and Luxembourg before Queen Wilhelmina divided the realm, with Luxembourg going to the senior Walram line (above). With Wilhelmina's death in 1962, the House of Orange-Nassau technically died, and with Charlotte's death in Luxembourg (above) the House of Nassau went completely extinct in all legitimate lines. The current ruler of the Netherlands today, Beatrix, is Wilhelmina's granddaughter, a member of the House of Lippe-Biesterfeld, although just like in Luxembourg, the royal family continued to name their family the House of Orange-Nassau.

Thus ends the tale of the House of Nassau. Now, back to the beginning. Why is the capital of the Bahamas named Nassau? It's because it is named after the royal house that William III belonged to. But you probably figured that out already. Cheers!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How to Remove a Cousin in 7 Easy Steps (Cousins)

First, I apologize for not hosting a poll this week but I remembered that I had one more topic to cover before returning to the dynasties. For such a simple topic, it's one that confuses and confounds people across the world but especially in the United States, where televised and cinematic media have distorted the reality and taught an incorrect lesson. That lesson, of course, is the true meaning of the term (and its like) "third cousin-twice removed".

Cousins are an integral part of dynastology since succession is quite often through the lines of a collateral (cadet) branch of a family and that cadet branch is made up of cousins. Indeed, everyone in a family is a cousin to someone else except for parents and children. The whole concept of cousins that we know now basically developed from royalty and prescriptions by the Roman Catholic Church through the previous 1500 years. Prior to that time, it was not unusual for a man to marry his sister or niece or aunt. In fact, the only situation that seems to have been forbidden in ancient and classical times was the marriage of children to parents. The Torah does mention certain restrictions within Jewish marriages, and it is assumed that this is where Christian marriage practices derived. One by one, levels of marriage became forbidden outside of Papal Decrees. Parents-children, siblings, uncle/aunt-niece/nephew, first cousins. The relative standard is now generally in at least the second degree of kinship, although some states in the United States require no closer than three degrees of kinship. None of this is to say that marriages of closer relatives have not occurred throughout the past 1500 years, because they certainly have. It's just some governmental or religious authority had to permit them, or they were done secretly. Now some of that previous paragraphs probably went straight over your heads. So let me explain some concepts:
  • Parents, Grandparents, etc. – The core component of a family and the only truly required element is that of ancestry. Every individual has parents, who had parents, who had parents, etc. Procreating with your parents pollutes the bloodline pretty badly because half your genes are the same as that parent's. It is the worst kind of incestuous procreation and this was realized to some degree from very early on in history. Parents are once removed from the source individual. Grandparents are twice removed.
  • Children, Grandchildren – The next most common element of a family is the child. It is optional but generally standard throughout history. Procreating with a child is the same as procreating with a parent. Children are once removed from the source, while grandchildren are twice removed.
  • Siblings – Siblings are brothers and sisters of the source person. They have a statistical probability of sharing between 0% and 100% of the source person's genes, although the odds are around 50%. Ancient and classical societies often allowed and even encouraged sibling marriage to centralize a family; however, the practice went out of style in Europe by the 300s when Christianity took over the Roman Empire and labeled such practice a sin. Sibling marriages only usually happen late in life when both siblings are no longer fertile. Siblings are the equivalent of a 0th cousin-zero times removed.
  • Nephews/Nieces – Nephews and nieces are the children of a source person's sibling. Thus, they are 0th cousins-once removed. Procreation between aunts/uncles and their nephews/nieces is not entirely uncommon and was certainly more common in classical times; but in modern times, it is generally frowned upon and has required governmental or Papal authorization.
  • Aunts/Uncles – Aunts and uncles, simply stated, are the siblings of a source person's parents. Therefore, they are 0th cousins-once removed (see nephews/nieces).
  • Charles II, king of Spain
    Genealogy of Charles II of Spain
  • Charles II, king of Spain 1st Cousins – The children of aunts/uncles are a source person's 1st cousins. This first degree of kinship remains the general starting point for royal and noble marriages. Traditionally, royalty and nobility would marry 1st cousins to solidify family power while not marrying too close. Of course, multiple generations of 1st cousins procreating could create situations where recessive genes overpower dominant ones, resulting in genetic mutations, deformities, or mental illness. The genealogy of Charles II of Spain clearly shows this problem.
  • 2nd Cousins, etc. – Finally, we have all extra cousins, from 2nd cousin until 800th cousin. It really doesn't matter. A cousin is a descendant from a common ancestor. If a cousin does not have a "remove", then they are in your same generation genealogically. That means that it takes just as many generations to reach them as it does to reach you from your common ancestor. For example, your 2nd cousin's great-grandfather is the same as your great-grandfather. Cousins are often removed, which is described in more detail below.
How to Remove A Cousin in 7 Easy Steps:
1. Start with the Source Person. This is probably you.
2. Pick a random relative distantly related to you. Say, a deceased movie star from the 1950s.
3. Find the last common ancestor (the person you both had as an ancestor)
4. What is your relationship to that ancestor? Let's assume you are a great-great-grandson (or daughter).
5. What is their relationship to that ancestor? Let's asume they are a granddaughter.
6. Look back at your shared family tree to see who was the last unremoved cousin of the famous person. In this example, it would be your grandmother, who was the famous person's 1st cousin (they shared grandparents).
7. Now how many generations are you from the person you determined in Step 6? In this example, you are two generations away (your father, and then yourself), or in genealogical terms, you are twice removed.

Now removes are interesting things because they work both ways, ascending up a family tree and descending down one, which means things are always more complicated when looking up. In a large family tree, you will be on the same line with your unremoved cousins. It will be you, siblings (0th cousins), 1st cousins, 2nd cousins, etc. The horizontal can go for a relatively infinite distance but it will always be composed of unremoved cousins because you are all in the same generation (regardless of age). Below that line, the children of unremoved cousins are always once removed, while the parents of unremoved cousins are also once removed. It's logical, because they are above and below your generation by one. Descending downward, a 2nd cousin's child will be your 2nd cousin-once removed. Their child will be your 2nd cousin-twice removed. And so on.

This creates a problem, though, in the ascending portion of the tree. Your 2nd cousin's parent is your 1st cousin-once removed. Your 3rd cousin's parent is your 2nd cousin-once removed, and their parent is your 1st cousin-twice removed. Confused? I sure am! To remember it, it's actually fairly simple: when going up a family tree, always subtract one from the type of cousin and add one to the times removed. To understand it, you have to look at it from the perspective of the other person. Your 2nd cousin's parent is your 1st cousin-once removed because that 1st cousin-once removed is your parent's 1st cousin and you are your parent's child, hence once removed from them. I know, it's very complex. Here is a chart to make things a little more clear:
Family Relational Chart

I intended to discuss some more royal aspects of cousins and family but I have too many more terms to discuss. Next week I promised a Monarch Poll so the rest of this post will have to wait a fortnight. Just rest assured that cousin relationships are extremely important in the spectrum of European royal politics and some of those ramifications will be discussed at a later date. For now, adieu.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Story of Moctezuma of the Aztecs (Moctezuma)

Moving from such a vast dynasty like the Capetians to something so small and seemingly irrelevant like the family of Moctezuma is rather funny. However, even small formerly royal families can still leave fairly interesting stories. Moctezuma's story is no different. Unlike many royal families in Europe, Moctezuma spread his seed wide and strong across both the Americas and the Iberian Peninsula. While in Mexico the line is extremely hard to follow, in Spain it developed a life of its own. And at least a few branches even rose to prominence and still remain prominent today. But I am getting ahead of myself...

The Aztec Empire was new when Cortés brazenly conquered it from its native rulers. Its origins don't go back much farther than the early 1300s and its fall in 1521 was due to local politics as much as Cortés' conquest of Tenochtitlan. In reality, there was no "Aztec Empire" at all. Rather, it was a loose alliance of three geographically adjacent city-states that had focused their strength, by 1520, at Tenochtitlan, a location sitting roughly on present-day Mexico City. Likewise, there was no "Emperor" of the Aztec Alliance, but rulers of the individual city-states that deferred to the rule of the Tlatoani (king) of Tenochtitlan. And so begins our journey into the Tenochtitlan Royal Family.
Acamapichtli, first Tlatoani of the Aztecs
Prior to the Spanish Conquest, there were eight tlatoani who ruled the Aztecs. The first, Acamapichtli, was the product of a union between a Mexica leader with the daughter of a Culhua tlatoani. The Mexica were a rejected peoples but the city-state of Tenochtitlan wanted to strengthen their regional ties and so chose this person as a unifier. He married the daughter of the current ruler of Culhuacán as well as one daughter from each noble family in Tenochtitlan. Throughout the course of his reign, he brought in allies from the surrounding region, strengthening the might of the Aztecs, even while avoiding wars which could destroy his burgeoning alliance. During this time, the Aztecs remained a tributary state of the Tepanecs, although the two enjoyed relatively good relations.
Itzcoatl, Tlatoani of the Aztecs
The subsequent six tlatoani empowered and strengthened the empire. All the tlatoani married the daughters of local leaders to increase the power of the Aztec alliance and give the ruler of that alliance more credibility. War broke out between Tenochtitlan and Texcoco in 1416 and it lasted for many years until the two sides reconciled and Texcoco joined the Aztec Alliance as an equal partner with Tenochtitlan. It was the fourth Aztec tlatoani that established the Triple Alliance between Texcoco, Tenochtitlan and Tlacopan when Itzcoatl overthrew the dominating power of the Tepanecs. Itzcoatl then led numerous campaigns in the Valley of Mexico to take possession of valuable agricultural lands necessary for his new empire to thrive. By the time of Itzcoatl's death, the Aztec Empire ruled much of central Mexico and Tenochtitlan was unrivaled in magnificence in America. The seventh tlatoani, Ahuitzotl, doubled the size of the Aztec Alliance and completed the famous Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in 1487.
The Aztec Empire, c. 1515
Moctezuma II, Tlatoani of the Aztecs
Thus we return to the person of Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, better known as Moctezuma II. Reigning from 1502 until 1520, he made all the right decisions at the exact wrong time. He expanded the Aztec Alliance to its largest expanse, produced eight daughters and eleven sons, and handed it all to the god-like personage of Fernando Cortés. The transfer of power was quick but unclear. Apparently Moctezuma invited Cortés and his army into Tenochtitlan and they lived together for seven months before Moctezuma decided to send the Spaniards away. During their absence, the small occupation force that remained turned against the Aztecs during a human sacrifice ceremony and the majority of the Aztec nobility was murdered. Cortés returned and placed Moctezuma under house arrest. The tlatoani was later killed by his own people, apparently stoned to death. The government of the empire fell apart. Cortés fled and allied with an enemy of Tenochtitlan while Moctezuma's successor died of smallpox. The last tlatoani, a young nephew of Moctezuma, was captured and tortured by the Spaniards even while Moctezuma's sons were unceremoniously murdered by the Aztecs. The Aztec Alliance was over, conquered by gold-hungry conquistadors.
The Aztec Royal Family Tree

Moctezuma's daughter, Techichpotzin, renamed Isabel, was deemed the heiress of the Aztec Empire in the eyes of the Spanish. All surviving lines of descent from Moctezuma descend from her, her two sisters, and her brother, Pedro Moctezuma. Pedro's son, Diego Luis, was brought to Spain by King Philip II where he married into the Spanish aristocracy. His son, Pedro Tesifón, became the 1st Count of Moctezuma de Tultengo in 1627. In 1766, the title was elevated to the status of Grandee of Spain, giving it a place in the Spanish House of Lords. In 1865 the county became the Duchy of Moctezuma by Isabella II of Spain. Today, the title holder still sits in the Spanish House of Lords and is considered one of the grandest noble families in Spain.

The three daughters of Moctezuma all passed on the royal blood as well. Isabel became something of a trader in husbands. She was betrothed to first her uncle and then her cousin before they both died. She then married a member of Cortés' expedition and was granted an encomienda (large property) after his death. She then married two other Spanish blokes in succession and produced children with both of them. And finally, she had one daughter out of wedlock with Cortés himself. At her death, her lands were divided up and her descendants quickly dispersed themselves among the new and old inhabitants of New Spain (Mexico).

While it is unlikely that any current European royal descends from Moctezuma, it is entirely possible that such a descent may occur in the future. The Spanish royal family has a long history of marrying younger children off to nobility and those younger children do sometimes inherit the throne. Unlike many recent royal families, the house of Moctezuma flows freely in America and in Spain and it is entirely likely that people born in the Valley of Mexico may have just a touch of Moctezuma's blood running through them as well.


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