peashooter85

peashooter85:

Chins, incest, and the fall of the Habsburg Dynasty

In the early 16th century the House of Habsburg was the most powerful family in Europe, ruling over a dominion collectively known as the Holy Roman Empire which included Germany, Austria, Hungary, Spain, the Netherlands, parts of Italy, and parts of the Balkans and Eastern Europe.  In 1521 the empire was divided between Spain and Austria, creating Spanish and Austrian branches of the family. The Spanish Habsburgs ruled over Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Italy while the Austrian Habsburgs ruled over Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Eastern Europe. 

Unfortunately the Spanish Habsburg’s had a particularly nasty habit that would eventually cause the downfall of their line within 200 years; incest, yes that’s right, incest.  At that time there was no concept of the nation-state as we know it today.  Kingdoms were the property of a monarch, and just like property it could be left as an inheritance or become a wedding gift when people of royal blood married.  Marriages were often political alliances and it was not uncommon for one country to become a part of another empire simply because one princess married someone else’s prince.

The Habsburg’s however, would have none of that, and strove towards maintaining a perpetual and unified Spanish Habsburg Empire.  How did they manage to accomplish this? By limiting or even forbidding marriage with nobles outside of the family.  Cousins married cousins, uncles married nieces, and over 16 generations of Spanish Habsburgs intermarried and interbred with each other.  One of the features of the Habsburg line was a strongly pronounced chin.  Over succeeding generations this strong chin morphed into a serious deformity.  Towards the end of the Habsburg line it had grown such in size that often the Habsburgs had difficulty eating, drinking, and speaking.  Other problems developed as well, such as mental retardation, physical disfigurements, and a myriad of genetic diseases and disorders. Infant mortality within the family reached 40%.  After two hundred years of incest and interbreeding, the gene pool of the family became so constricted that the House of Habsburg would ultimately collapse.  The last Spanish Habsburg was Charles II, born in 1661 he was the son of Philip IV who was wedded to his niece, Mariana of Austria.  Charles’ grandmother on his father’s side was Maria Anna of Spain, who was simultaneously his aunt, and his grandmother on his mother’s side was Margaret of Austria, who was also his great grandmother.

The results of Charles’ inbreeding were readily apparent.  He did not speak until age 4, and did not walk until age 8. His oversized jaw and tongue made it difficult for him to chew food, drink, or speak, and he often drooled as a result.  He was short and weak, suffering from various ailments including impotence, digestive problems, hematuria (blood in the urine), and later in life, dementia.  Often his ailments were blamed as a result of witchcraft, and an era of torture and repression revived the Spanish Inquisition as scapegoats were rounded up and persecuted.  Under Charles’ weak rule and deteriorating health Spain fell into a period of intense economic and political turmoil.  Charles would die in 1700 at the age of 39 without an heir, kicking off the War of Spanish Succession, which would last 13 years and end with the French Bourbon family taking over the Spanish throne.  The Austrian Habsburgs too would suffer similar problems from interbreeding, and the Austrian line would collapse in 1740.



It’s National Best Friends Day! I think these people are pretty cool. Especially: Narcy Patel, Makayyyla, Poolhisse, Calitos, T, Sammany, Dwalin, Baby Man, Kimber Wimber, and there is way too many people that make me happy in my life.

It’s National Best Friends Day! I think these people are pretty cool. Especially: Narcy Patel, Makayyyla, Poolhisse, Calitos, T, Sammany, Dwalin, Baby Man, Kimber Wimber, and there is way too many people that make me happy in my life.

historical-nonfiction
historical-nonfiction:

W.H. Coltharp had a problem. He’d been asked to build a bank in Vernal, Utah, but the bricks he needed were in Salt Lake City, 127 miles away. Wagon freight would have been too expensive, so in 1916 he sent 50,000 bricks by parcel post, essentially mailing the bank to Vernal.

The post office was not delighted with Coltharp’s ingenuity. Postmaster General Albert Sidney Burleson wrote that “it is not the intent of the United States Postal Service that buildings be shipped through the mail” — and he set a new limit of 200 pounds per day per receiver.

historical-nonfiction:

W.H. Coltharp had a problem. He’d been asked to build a bank in Vernal, Utah, but the bricks he needed were in Salt Lake City, 127 miles away. Wagon freight would have been too expensive, so in 1916 he sent 50,000 bricks by parcel post, essentially mailing the bank to Vernal.

The post office was not delighted with Coltharp’s ingenuity. Postmaster General Albert Sidney Burleson wrote that “it is not the intent of the United States Postal Service that buildings be shipped through the mail” — and he set a new limit of 200 pounds per day per receiver.

historical-nonfiction
historical-nonfiction:

Warwick Castle, originally built 1068 by William the Conqueror. It was a motte-and-bailey castle — a central tower, or bailey, on a raised earthwork, or motte — before being rebuilt in the 1100s in stone. Easy and cheap to build, motte-and-bailey castles were built across Europe from the 900s to the late 1200s. William brought the design with him to England and Wales, from which it slowly spread to Scotland and Ireland.

historical-nonfiction:

Warwick Castle, originally built 1068 by William the Conqueror. It was a motte-and-bailey castle — a central tower, or bailey, on a raised earthwork, or motte — before being rebuilt in the 1100s in stone. Easy and cheap to build, motte-and-bailey castles were built across Europe from the 900s to the late 1200s. William brought the design with him to England and Wales, from which it slowly spread to Scotland and Ireland.

astronomicalwonders
astronomicalwonders:

The Shredded Remains of an Old Supernova
"Glowing gaseous streamers of red, white, and blue — as well as green and pink — illuminate the heavens like Fourth of July fireworks. The colorful streamers that float across the sky in this photo taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope were created by one of the biggest firecrackers seen to go off in our galaxy in recorded history, the titanic supernova explosion of a massive star. The light from the exploding star reached Earth 320 years ago, nearly a century before our United States celebrated its birth with a bang.
The dead star’s shredded remains are called Cassiopeia A, or “Cas A” for short. Cas A is the youngest known supernova remnant in our Milky Way Galaxy and resides 10,000 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia, so the star actually blew up 10,000 years before the light reached Earth in the late 1600s.
This stunning Hubble image of Cas A is allowing astronomers to study the supernova’s remains with great clarity, showing for the first time that the debris is arranged into thousands of small, cooling knots of gas. This material eventually will be recycled into building new generations of stars and planets. Our own Sun and planets are constructed from the debris of supernovae that exploded billions of years ago.
This photo shows the upper rim of the supernova remnant’s expanding shell. Near the top of the image are dozens of tiny clumps of matter. Each small clump, originally just a small fragment of the star, is tens of times larger than the diameter of our solar system.”
Image Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Acknowledgment: R. Fesen (Dartmouth) and J. Morse (Univ. of Colorado)

astronomicalwonders:

The Shredded Remains of an Old Supernova

"Glowing gaseous streamers of red, white, and blue — as well as green and pink — illuminate the heavens like Fourth of July fireworks. The colorful streamers that float across the sky in this photo taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope were created by one of the biggest firecrackers seen to go off in our galaxy in recorded history, the titanic supernova explosion of a massive star. The light from the exploding star reached Earth 320 years ago, nearly a century before our United States celebrated its birth with a bang.

The dead star’s shredded remains are called Cassiopeia A, or “Cas A” for short. Cas A is the youngest known supernova remnant in our Milky Way Galaxy and resides 10,000 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia, so the star actually blew up 10,000 years before the light reached Earth in the late 1600s.

This stunning Hubble image of Cas A is allowing astronomers to study the supernova’s remains with great clarity, showing for the first time that the debris is arranged into thousands of small, cooling knots of gas. This material eventually will be recycled into building new generations of stars and planets. Our own Sun and planets are constructed from the debris of supernovae that exploded billions of years ago.

This photo shows the upper rim of the supernova remnant’s expanding shell. Near the top of the image are dozens of tiny clumps of matter. Each small clump, originally just a small fragment of the star, is tens of times larger than the diameter of our solar system.”

Image Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Acknowledgment: R. Fesen (Dartmouth) and J. Morse (Univ. of Colorado)