April 16, 2009
The Hapsburgs ruled Spain from 1516 to 1700, presiding over the first global empire, but died out after generations of intermarriage, according to the first genetic analysis of the family.
[efoods]The royal fashion of marrying relatives to preserve the dynastic heritage culminated in a monarch who was so genetically inbred that he was unable to provide an heir and power passed to the French Bourbons.
The dynasty was one of the most important and influential royal families in Europe – branches of the family ruled Austria, Hungary, Belgium, the Netherlands, the German empire and Spain.
Scientists have examined the family tree of the last of the Spanish Habsburgs, King Charles II, who died in 1700 at the age of 39, and discovered that, as a result of repeated marriages between close relatives, he was almost as inbred as the offspring of an incestuous relationship between a brother and sister or father and daughter.
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