Science Daily Press Release (April 16, 2009)
"The powerful Habsburg dynasty ruled Spain and its empire from 1516 to 1700 but when King Charles II died in 1700 without any children from his two marriages, the male line died out and the French Bourbon dynasty came to power in Spain...."
Inbreeding: Good For Keeping Power in the Family; Not so Good for the FamilySounds like the Hapsburgs were in the habit of marrying cousins - and, two times, an uncle and niece - to keep political power in the family. In the short run, it worked. Just one problem: after a while, the family died out.
"Inbreeding brought down Spain's Habsburgs: study"
Reuters (April 14)
"Rare inherited genetic disorders worsened by repeated inbreeding may have brought down the powerful Spanish Habsburg dynasty, Spanish researchers said on Tuesday.
"Checks of genealogical charts and analysis of King Charles II's reported health problems suggest he may have had two rare conditions called combined pituitary hormone deficiency and distal renal tubular acidosis, the researchers speculated in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE...."
Charles II of Spain was a mess. He did learn to speak: when he was four. And, the monarch was able to walk: starting at age eight. He died when he was 39, leaving no children.
No wonder he was called El Hechizado ("The Hexed")